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Long story, but briefly I am debating knocking down a paper wasp nest. I don't want to kill the wasps, because (1) they're beneficial wasps, and (2) I would not have even known they were there, except I came face-to-face with the nest (~1 foot) and they didn't act remotely aggressive at all (karma).

My concern is that I've been out of town for a couple weeks, and I don't know if the nest has been under my deck all year and they were actually relatively sedate, or if the nest has developed recently. I mow regularly, and my big concern is that the noise of the mower and weed eater is going to agitate the wasps into stinging.

The wasp nest is under my deck, and my dog crosses the deck to get to the back yard frequently. I also have a toddler, but we generally play with him in the front yard, which is separated from the back yard by a fence.

So, tl;dr - A wasp nest is a little smaller than a baseball and covered in about 15 wasps. Has this nest been under my deck all year (and I can mow without worry as I have in the past), or has this nest sprung up since I stopped mowing (about 2 weeks) and I should remove it before I mow again?

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    $\begingroup$ It sounds like a small nest that can very well have developed recently. However, the size of the nest is also species dependant. $\endgroup$ – RHA Sep 19 '16 at 15:56
  • $\begingroup$ What season and climate is it where you are living? Most (or all?) colonies of social wasps in temperate climate only last one season. So it will go away in the autumn. (Also, nice to see someone caring about wasps!) $\endgroup$ – picapica Sep 19 '16 at 17:56
  • $\begingroup$ @picapica - I'm in Southwest Virginia. Being mid-September now I figured they were probably on their way out, but I mow every Saturday morning, except I've been out of country for two weeks. The nest is in an obscure location that I found on sheer coincidence after I got back (scouting for a DIY project). I thought I had read that they generally form the nests in Spring or early Summer, and if that's the case then I'd leave it, but I'm worried my mowing kept them away and when I stopped they built that nest, and if I mow again I'll get swarmed. I don't want to kill them if I don't have to. $\endgroup$ – Chuck Sep 19 '16 at 19:06

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