How to Preserve a Wasp Nest

Written by christien aguinaldo
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How to Preserve a Wasp Nest
Preserving a wasp nest can make it last nearly indefinitely. (Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Some people love to hang wasp nests in their living rooms as decorations. The unique structure of the nests can attract attention of guests and get them talking about it. A wasp's nest is a fine example of nature's engineering. The nest is made from chewed wood fibres stuck together with wasp spit forming a multi-chambered structure with open-celled combs. The nest has one opening at the bottom through which the wasps enter and leave the nest. Each nest lasts for just a year and disintegrates by late fall due to winds and rain. However, if you preserve the nest, it can last almost indefinitely.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Stepladder
  • Knife
  • Freezer
  • Plastic bag (optional)
  • Clear polyurethane spray (optional)

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Collect the wasp nest in late November after the wasps abandon it. Take the nest before the weather and wildlife destroy it.

  2. 2

    Use a stepladder to reach the nest and cut it down with a sharp knife. Handle the nest carefully, as it is quite fragile.

  3. 3

    Place the nest overnight in the freezer to kill wasps that may still be present. Old and infirm wasps may not leave the nest when the rest of the colony abandons it.

  4. 4

    Leave the nest in the garage where it is protected from the elements. This will help get rid of the smell of decaying wasps and larvae. The nest will not exude an odour once the dead wasps and larvae dry up.

  5. 5

    Hang the wasp nest in a dry location where it will not get damaged due to moisture, vibrations and handling.

Tips and warnings

  • You can collect the nest in summer, but make sure that the weather is a little cool. Try collecting the nest in the night when wasps are less active by carefully placing a plastic bag over the nest. Tie the mouth of the bag around the overhanging branch of the tree. Wasp nests need no special methods of preservation as long as the display area is dry. Use a clear polyurethane spray sealant if you have a moisture problem or vibrations at home or if children will handle the nest.
  • People allergic to wasp stings should not attempt to collect and preserve the nests. Wasps do not sting unless they feel threatened or get provoked. If any eggs hatch in the nest, the larvae will die as no workers will be there to feed and care for them.

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