Wasps are commonly associated with painful stings and terrifying swarms, but most people do not expect to find these fierce insects indoors, at least not in large numbers.

Noticing giant wasps emerging from areas like wall-voids, an attic space, or light fixtures is certainly not an everyday experience, and such a situation is the last thing that a person would expect to see within his/her newly-built house. However, some wasp species have evolved to carve out nests within trees, and sometimes, these wasps can remain nesting within a tree long after the tree has been cut down and processed into lumber. As you may already be able to guess, it is not unheard of for these wood-boring wasps to emerge from the structural lumber existing within fully constructed houses. These wood-boring wasp species have been given the not-so-imaginative nickname of “wood wasps”, and although they do not bore new nesting holes into treated pieces structural lumber, they can infest and severely weaken trees within residential and urban areas.

Wood wasps emerge from structural lumber within three years of a home or building’s completion. In most cases, no more than a dozen wood wasps emerge from newly constructed homes, and neither males nor females are capable of stinging or biting humans. However, wood wasps can be a nuisance around homes due to the loud buzzing sounds that they produce, and it is not uncommon for wood wasps to infest firewood. If wood wasps nest within firewood, then it is only a matter of time before the insects make a surprise indoor appearance. Wood wasps do not establish infestations within homes, but if they emerge from the lumber within a recently built home, they will damage just about any material in an effort to find their way back outdoors, including sheet rock, plaster and insulation. In some cases, studs must be replaced in order to correct damage inflicted by wood wasps. The U. gigas wood wasp species, more commonly known as the giant wood wasp, has established an invasive habitat in Massachusetts where they commonly infest pine, Douglas fir, spruce and larch tree species. The destructive Sirex wood wasp is native to Asia, but specimens have recently been found in several northeastern states.

Have you ever spotted a swarm of wasps hovering around one or more trees within a residential area?