One nest was reported to have more than 250,000 wasps.

By Cailey Rizzo
July 02, 2019
Wasp super nest
Credit: AP Images

“Super wasp nests” the size of small cars are appearing in the American south, according to state agencies.

A report from Alabama’s Auburn University last month said that this summer, perennial yellow jacket nests could appear at a record-breaking scale.

In 2006, entomologists in Alabama reported more than 90 super wasp nests. They’re approximately the size of a Volkswagen Beetle and filled with 15,000 wasps. Some researchers believe that this summer’s wasp nests could mirror, if not surpass that exceptional year.

“The most workers I have counted in a perennial nest is about 15,000 or about 3 to 4 times more than a normal nest,” Charles Ray, an entomologist working with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, told the company. “However, one nest in South Carolina was documented with more 250,000 workers.”

So far, four super nests have already been reported, according to The New York Times, which “puts us several weeks earlier than in 2006, when we identified the first giant nest on June 13,” Ray said.

A typical wasp nest has about 5,000 insects. A super nest is basically a nest that doesn’t die in the winter and lives on to grow into a second year. Entomologists believe that warm winters and abundant food supplies could produce the conditions necessary for these super nests.

Those who spot the giant nests should not attempt to remove them themselves. Homeowners should contact a licensed commercial pest control operator.

“We wanted to warn the public not to disturb them themselves, but get a professional,” Ray told The New York Times. “We had three people who were seriously injured in 2006.”

But even if you have to deal with super wasp nests, at least they’re probably sober. Last year, wasps in the UK were apparently getting drunk at beer gardens and going on “stinging rampages.”