Skip to Content

Do Wasps Eat Wood? (All You Need to Know)

Various bugs and insects wander around us every day and often our homes and their habitats share a common location.

Generally, these bugs and insects do us no harm, however, sometimes the human intervention in their habitats could throw off their natural instincts and might end up affecting our lives.

You can learn more about these insects and their behavioral patterns right below.

Do wasps eat wood?

Many species of wasps do eat wood by chewing on them to create cellulose to build paper-like nests. You may discover some species of wasps on your wooden structures or furniture as they are chipping away chunks of wood off the surface, however, not all species of wasps feed on wood.

The species of the wasp dictates its diet but in general, they tend to feed on nectar, fruit, honey, small insects, and plants. This may come as a surprise that wood is not on the list because not all species of wasps feed on wood.

Certain species depend on wood both as a source of food as well as a building material for their nests. However, their presence in households and around wooden furniture can be increasingly seen around specific seasons when they are out to find wood for nest construction.

A wasp larva prefers to feed on softer woods during its early days. However, their preference changes to harder woods as they grow older.

A wasp feeds on wood by choosing a spot and boring on the wood surface in a stationary position – digging several ugly-looking holes in wooden structures at your homes.

Why do wasps eat wood?

During the early summer, the queen wasp initially builds her nest to lay eggs in them. After the worker wasps have hatched, the queen orders them to collect more wood for the reconstruction of her nest.

These worker wasps fly about aggressively looking for wood throughout their habitats and often find their way into our homes.

What type of wasp eats wood? Do these wasps eat wood?

Some wasps prepare the raw material for their nests by chewing wood into cellulose that is an excellent material for building wasp nests. You will learn about the species that do and don’t eat the wood in the list below:

Mason wasps:

Mason wasps’ diet does not consist of woods, rather they feed on other herbivore insects such as caterpillars like cutworms and corn earworms. Mason wasps build tiny mud pot nests in cracks or crevices where they lay their eggs and store insect larvae or caterpillars.

Red wasps:

Red wasps’ diet does not consist of wood, however, they rely on wood for the construction of their nest. Red wasps’ feed on nectar from flowers, especially goldenrods.

During summer, they collect materials such as wood and chewed plant material to construct the queen wasps’ nest.

Mud wasps:

Mud wasps’ diet does not consist of wood and neither do they build their nests using wood. Their diet consists of nectar, honeydew that they collect from flowers and plants as well as spiders that they catch.

Mud wasps live a solitary life and do not join the colony of the queen wasp, therefore no collection of wood.

Black wasps:

Black wasps, similar to Mud wasps, do not feed on wood or build homes using them. Their diet consists of nectar from flowers or insects like large grasshoppers or katydids. They are solitary as well and do not belong to a colony with a queen wasp.

Paper wasps:

Paper wasps feed on nectar, honeydew as well as caterpillars and flies. However, they are a part of the colony and their females become queen wasps.

They chew on plant stems and exposed wood to build their nests – which becomes aggressive during summer.

Do wasps eat into painted wood or stained wood?

Wasps eat into the wood by scraping out exposed wood and roughening out the wood surface. Wood structures and furniture that have not been stained, painted, or have been painted long ago and worn out – are the ones vulnerable to wasps’ strike.

Painted wood or stained wood can also be under strike by wasps if they are very old and the paint or stain layer has worn off.

To discourage wasps from eating into your wooden structures, you can smoothen the wooden surface by staining it or you might choose to bring a new look by coloring them as well. Since the wood is no longer exposed, that will keep those wasps away from your furniture.

Do wasps eat through cedarwood and rotten wood?

Cedar is known for being a natural bug repellent except for ants and termites, however, wasps are neither attracted nor repelled by cedar. Wasps, which rely on wood for nesting, would sometimes harvest wood from cedar but it’s not part of a wasps’ diet.

They also build nests on cedar trees, so be watchful of that.

Wasps do not eat or nest in rotten wood, but they use it to raise their offspring. Female wasps can be seen injecting their eggs directly into rotten or decaying wood from which the larvae hatchlings will eat the softened wood inside out.

Besides, wasps scavenge rotten wood in search of insects and their larvae which are sources of high protein for wasps.

How to stop wasps from eating wood garden furniture, deck, or wood fence?

Protecting your wooden furniture, decks and fences become challenging with wasps flying about. But there are several ways to tackle them and keep your wooden structures safe. Learn about the procedures in the list below:

Addition of trees and plants that wasps dislike:

One of the natural and prettier ways of keeping your homes and garden free from wasps is by the addition of trees and plants that wasps dislike. Wasps are sensitive to scent, and there are scents of certain plants that wasps cannot stand.

Keeping such trees and plants will force the wasps to relocate to another place.

Spearmint, Peppermint, and Eucalyptus plants work excellently as natural wasp repellent. Place a few of them around your furniture to keep wasps away as well as bring a natural touch to your interior.

If you do not wish to keep plants indoors, you may try other alternatives using these plants too.

Remove nearby nests:

Another approach you can take is to remove nearby nests, however, you should note that there is a chance of getting stung if not careful. To reduce the chances of getting stung, you should ideally wait till winter to commence your operation.

Wasps are very inactive when the temperature is low and much easier to deal with.

Wear protective clothing, gloves, and goggles before removing the nest, and make sure people are not around that might get stung.

The best time to remove the nests is at nighttime when they are the least active but make sure you dispose of them in a proper place away from the populace.

Take advantage of the wasps’ territorial nature:

You can try to take advantage of the wasps’ territorial nature to keep them away from your house. If they see a nest in a location, they will not make their nest there relocate somewhere else.

Creating a fake wasp nest somewhere around your house will fool them into thinking that there is already a colony here.

You can create a fake nest yourself pretty easily. First, create a solution with glue and water and blow a balloon. Next, stick the paper strips to the balloon body in a spiraling layer and leave it to dry. Finally, stick it somewhere around your home to trick the incoming wasps.

Try to relocate the location of their nests:

If you already spot a wasps’ nest around your house, then repelling wasps would be difficult. Instead, you should try to relocate the location of their nests – this can be done by carefully following a wasp as it returns to its nest.

You should not deal with the nest yourself especially if it is summer but if it’s winter, then you can follow Way 2. It is advisable to leave the removal to the professionals, so contact your local pest control to deal with the wasp nest.

Coating your wooden structures:

Another natural way of keeping wasps away is by coating your wooden structures with scented oils. Wasps dislike scented plants such as Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Spearmint and stay away from them.

You can create solutions or use the oils of the mentioned plants on the wooden surface but make sure it doesn’t affect the color of the wood. Use a paintbrush or spray nozzle to coat the surface of the wooden structures thick enough to make their scent last longer.

Final Thoughts

Several species of wasps chew on wood to create cellulose that is the raw material for their nests. Certain wasps can be seen on the surface of wooden structures or furniture scraping wood off the surface. Not all species of wasps feed on wood and some only eat off wood to build nests.