A colony of wasps recently made a nest in my compost bin.  The structure looks like cotton batting.  What species might these be?

The structure looks like cotton batting, 2"-3" thick, forming a layer about 18" diameter, the full size of the bin.  I was stung maybe 10-12 times when I lifted the lid of the compost bin to add more kitchen scraps to the bin.  This was the first time in a week or 10 days that I opened the bin to add more material.  I believe these insects are wasps, not bees, since I did not find any residual stingers in my skin after being stung.  These critters were very fast and aggressive so I did not get a good look at them, but they did appear to have yellow and black stripes.  I live in Carroll County, Maryland, just west of Baltimore County.

What species might these be?

P.S.  A commercial wasp/hornet spray knocked them back enough so that I was able to open up the compost bin and remove the nest.  Even so, I took another sting while doing that.  I wore a heavy winter coat with a hood and was wearing heavy work gloves, but one insect still found an opening to get me in the neck.  No particular damage to my health other than I had to apply baking soda to the sting to neutralize the effect of the formic acid.  I'm not allergic to insect stings so I did not have to visit the local Urgent Care facility.

2 Answers

  • 3 weeks ago

    yellow stripes... probably yellow jackets. They are rather small wasps. And  very aggressive.

  • 3 weeks ago

    Sounds like paper wasps (their nests are sort of circular and look like they are made out of grey paper)

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