How High Do Wasps Fly?

February 14, 2024

In general, wasps fly on average just a few miles per hour. However, when wind factors are in their favour they can go much faster than that.

When a new queen wasp awakens from hibernation and starts looking for a suitable site to build her nest, she is generally focused on finding warmth as well as protection from the elements. That’s why she often builds her nests in the eaves of buildings, in trees and on roof areas. She also sometimes chooses to build her nests in walls, sheds, carports and backyard decks. If you see a nest that looks like it could be made from paper, it’s likely the work of yellowjackets or hornets. If it has large open combs that are attached to what is essentially a stalk and shaped like an umbrella, it’s probably the work of pottery wasps (also known as umbrella wasps).

It isn’t always easy for wasps to fly at such high altitudes. Oxygen levels are reduced at these heights, making it harder to generate enough lift with their flapping wings. The thinner air also makes it more difficult to keep a steady trajectory.

However, researchers have found that fig wasps are able to overcome these challenges by using a technique called “mean-field diffusion”. This method of navigation allows wasps to memorize scene markers, including their nest’s entrance. By flying in wide arcs while keeping the entrance in their visual field, they are able to find their way back to their home no matter where their foraging takes them. To reduce the number of wasps around your house, make sure to dispose of rotting food scraps regularly and keep any garbage cans closed until they are empty. Also, avoid leaving out sugary foods and drinks around the yard or picnic table to attract bees and wasps.


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