Monday, October 13, 2014

Wasp Nests In City Trees? Who You Gonna Call?

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Wasp nest on Second Street at Smith Street, next to F train station
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Another wasp nest hanging from a tree on Henry Street at 4th Place, across from MS 142
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Photo of wasp nest that hung on a city tree on Court Street next to Carroll Park this summer

This past summer, a huge wasp nest hung on a city tree next to Carroll Park.  Since it was close to the ball field, there was concern that a stray ball could possibly hit the nest, agitating the wasps, which could cause them to sting.  When the New York Parks Department was alerted and removed the nest.

The residents of Second Street between Smith Street and Hoyt Street have been less successful in getting a huge nest removed from a tree right next to the corner entrance to the F train.  Out of concern, the residents have made several calls to 311 as well as directly to the Police Department and the Parks Department. So far, they have gotten nowhere and it is unclear what department is responsible, or event if the City has a mechanism to remove hives.

Another nest has been hanging from a tree on Henry Street at 4th Place right across from MS142 all summer long.

Perhaps wasps do not represent any immediate danger.  While I took the photos, I could not detect any visible activity in the nests, so it could be that the colder weather have already displaced their inhabitants.  And of course, wasps play important role in the ecosystem by controlling the insect population.
However, the possibility of a swarm of angry wasps attaching someone is understandably a concern.

Does anyone know what agency the Second Street residents should direct their calls to?  Are these nests common or is it unusual to find three in such close proximity to each other? Any information would be welcomed.



11 comments:

Matthew said...

These are Bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) nests of paper the insects make by chewing wood pulp. They seem to be doing very well in the city, probably because humans produce so much waste that attracts their insect prey. They are harmless to humans unless the nest is disturbed, so perhaps removing the one in the play ground was legit, but otherwise they should be left alone. In winter, the nests are abandoned (mated queens are stashed away elsewhere to over-winter and will start new nests in the spring).

Katia said...

Matthew, Thank you so much for the information. The nests are actually very intricate and interesting. Could it be that the two nests photographed have already been abandoned for the winter? I saw no activity.

Katia said...

Matthew, Thank you so much for the information. The nests are actually very intricate and interesting. Could it be that the two nests photographed have already been abandoned for the winter? I saw no activity.

Darrin said...

Is that Second St. btwn Smith & Hoyt rather than First St?

Katia said...

oops, so right. Will correct immediately. Thanks for pointing out the mistake.

Anonymous said...

That first one looks really cool.

Matthew said...

They've probably cut back activity a lot as it's gotten cooler, but there still may be some live ones around. Last year on 10/10 I found an individual on my building door. I've a number of photos on my blog, but these close-up are some of my best http://matthewwills.com/2014/07/29/gnawy/

Katia said...

Very cool photos , Matthew. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

There is a similar next on a pitiful, dying tree on Douglass between Hoyt and Bond - right next to the brick wall that encloses the parking lot from the large apartment complex on Degraw.

Tiffany Strong said...

You mean "Wasp's Nests" aren't actually code for "Transplant's Homes"?!?

Katia said...

That's very funny. Thanks for the chuckle, Tiffany.