I've read several website articles, including yours, on paper wasps
and the construction of their nests. I am writing structural
condition reports for a historic museum village in upstate New York.
We know ,for example, that powder post beetles do real structural
damage to the timbers of these buildings. I understand that the wasps
make their nest of leaves, man-made paper, wood and spit. One of our
staff is worried that the wasp may be nibbling at the rafters of our
meticulously restored 19th century buildings, which are generally the
nearest source of polistes' nest building materials. I've never
heard of the wasps as being a problem in this way, like the beetles
ARE a problem. Need we worry and/or take measures against these
benificial insects ( the wasps-not my co-worker )? Thank-you for any
help you can provide.
I am not an entomologist but I have read quite a bit about wasps and bees,
and have never heard of them chewing up solid wood - rotten wood maybe, but
you have noted their usual sources of material. I don't think you have to
worry about paper wasps doing structural damage. Carpenter ants, however,
are another insect to watch out for.
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Update: June 2012