Do Wasps Eat Wood?

Although wasps are often seen landing on scraps of food, plant matter and flowers, they can also chew their way through a range of materials. So, what about wooden items? Do wasps eat wood or is this a simple myth?

Yes, wasps do eat wood. This is not the case for all wasps but there are a number of wasp species that do including dark paper wasps and European hornets.

Some wasps like to eat wood. These wasps do so because they need to produce cellulose for their nests. You may find that wasps have been eating wood or chewing through it in your garden. 

Do Wasps Chew on Wood?

Wasps undertake a process called girdling, which is when they chew on food to make their nests. These wasps which chew on the wood are known as wood wasps. 

Wasps have their queen, which decides the rules. When the queen wasp indicates that a nest should be made, the workers will begin to chew any wood they can find. If you disturb these wasps during this process, they might sting you. 

Larvae of wasps will also chew on wood for food. During the early stages, wasp larvae prefer to have softer foods. As time progresses and the wasps mature, they consume harder woods.

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Wood wasps are pretty versatile and can eat anything. They will attack garden furniture, decking, fences and even wooden floors. 

What Type of Wasps Eat Wood?

There are different species of wasps all around the world that chew wood. The process of eating or chewing wood is also called girdling. If you have a wasp infestation chewing away at wood, you can clearly hear the scratches.

Here are some wasps which feed on wood: 

Dark Paper Wasp

The dark paper wasp can be found near homes, particularly in woodlands. These wasps require an abundance of exposed wood to make their nests.

These wasps are dark brown or red and have yellow bands, segmenting their bodies. The female wasps have stings.

European Hornet

European hornets are carnivorous and consume insects and other wasps. In addition, these wasps will also feed on any rotten or fallen fruit.

These wasps have red wings and brown bodies. European hornets chew on wood in order to make their nests which are like paper. In addition to wood, they also make nests using plant material.

Eastern Yellow Jacket

These wasps are small and have yellow and black lines on their bodies. Like other wasps, the eastern yellow jackets use wood for their nests.

These wasps produce their nests from decaying wood which they chew and mix with saliva to create pulp.

Bald-Faced Hornet

As their name suggests, the bald-faced hornets have plain faces and are black and white in colour. These wasps have three white stripes, and the queen wasp (as is often the case) is larger than the workers.

These wasps make nests that are egg-shaped. The bald-faced hornet chews on wood and mixes it with its saliva to form a pulp.

They can be quite aggressive, stinging anyone who comes close to their nest.

Ichneumon Wasps

This species of wasps are present in different parts of the world. The wasps feed on wood a little differently. Ichneumon wasps will lay their eggs inside the wood. The wasps are invasive, and larvae feed on the digested wood.

Do Wasps Eat Garden Furniture?

Unfortunately, wasps that feed on wood can also damage your garden furniture.

You can tell that wasps have been eating your garden furniture if there are some grey lines on it. However, wasps will never eat away your entire furniture, but they will remove a few layers of it.

You will notice that your furniture will have some scarring which is not a great sight. However, it will not be rotting through. The furniture will remain solid.

How to Stop Wasps from Eating Garden Furniture 

No one likes to see their new garden furniture getting scarred at the hands of wasps. There are a few natural options you can opt for to avoid wasps from damaging your furniture. 

One of the best ways you can deter wasps from your garden is to use your trusted bar of soap. You can take the soap and rub it under the wooden furniture. This will keep the wasps from eating your garden furniture. Soap is known to deter not only wasps but also other insects. 

Usually, the best way you can keep wasps away is to use scents on your garden furniture, which they do not like.

For instance, wasps do not like the scent of eucalyptus, peppermint oil or wormwood. You can take some eucalyptus oil and rub it on the chairs and table.

You can also create a wasp repellant spray for your garden furniture. You can do so by mixing some peppermint oil in water. You can also make the spray with some liquid soap.

Summary 

Many people are unaware that wasps can eat through different materials. One of the things which wasps chew through is wood. Wasps eat wood to form pulp which they use to make their nests.

The process of chewing wood is called girdling. In addition, the larvae of wasps will chew on softwood for food. As they mature, wasps will eat hardwood. 

There are different species of wasps that feed on wood. Some of these species will consume wood to make a nest, while some inject their eggs inside the wood.

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