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Can Wasps Eat Through Drywall?

Collage of wasps outside the house.

While not common, it is possible for wasps to burrow into drywall. These wasps are not eating the drywall material, but rather tearing it apart in order to repurpose it into the materials needed to make their nests.

If your home or business has recently been damaged by wasps, odds are you don’t really care how the damage was done. If you want to repair the damage and ensure that it never happens again, however, you’ll need to understand how the damage was done in the first place.

How Wasps Damage Drywall

A pair of wasp getting out of a hole in the wood.

Drywall isn’t the most natural material for wasps to make their home out of, but they will do it if they have the chance. In the wild, wasps look for soft places in trees or logs (usually spots that have been damaged by disease) to make their homes.  

Drywall, especially if it has been damaged by moisture, has the same consistency as damaged wood, causing many wasps to be able to use it as a nest building material.

Drywall that is attached to a structure can be even more inviting. A home, office building, or shed that is air-conditioned will also feel cool to a wasp. The gap between drywall and the studs of these buildings provides a cool, dark, and protected space; a wasp will have to worry about very few predators inside the walls of a building.  

How to Repair Damage From Wasps

A professional wasp control worker.

The first thing you will need to do in order to start repairing the damage from wasps is remove any nests or bugs from the property. Even a single wasp can restart a nest and damage everything that you just repaired. Removing wasps can be dangerous, and it can be hard to determine if you have removed all of them, especially if they are living inside of your walls.  

If you’re going to try to do it on your own, spray every area that you have seen wasp activity, and be sure to remove any hives or nests. Be aware that spraying will anger the wasps, and they will try to attack the source of the spray.  

For this reason, most sprays are designed to be used from at least 15 feet away, giving the sprayer ample opportunity to get out of the way. If they are in a difficult to access part of your wall, however, it may be time to call a professional.

Once the wasps are completely removed, it will be necessary to remove all of the damaged drywall. Cut away large pieces of the drywall in order to remove anything that has been shredded by the wasps.  This usually means exposing the studs of the home or office.  

Once the damaged material is removed, look to see if any insulation is damaged. Insulation is another material that wasps love to use to hide a nest, and it may be necessary to remove dead bugs and drywall debris from it. In most cases, a property owner will want to remove any damaged insulation and replace it rather than try to repair or clean it.

Once everything damaged is removed, it will need to be replaced, As it is being replaced, however, make sure to consider how to repair or upgrade items to avoid this problem in the future.

Preventing Wasp Damage in the Future

A large wasp nest on the house ceiling.

In order for wasps to make a nest inside a wall, they have to have an access point. When the wasps are still active, take the time to watch them and determine how they are getting access to the interior walls. Often you can find small holes in soffits, cracks along window frames and doors, and sometimes even areas with termite damage where the wasps were able to access the property.  

One of the first steps you should take is sealing these areas. Depending on the size of the hole, you may need to replace plywood, but in many cases you can get away with wood filler. Spray foam insulation or filler is a popular choice because it can fill in very small holes that are difficult to see otherwise.  

There are products that act like spray foam that contain a repellent for bees and wasps (usually marketed as carpenter bee foam). These may have some temporary success, but they are not meant to be a permanent part of the structure of a building. If you use them to repel wasps, go over the areas again with a spray foam insulation after the pests have been eradicated.

A person holding a red spray and an indoor plant.

Once you have sealed off the areas that the wasps were using to gain access, replace everything that was damaged and removed. After this, check the area again for places where wasps can gain access.  

Wasps that are in the area who have learned about a good hiding spot will try to return to it. Continue to spray for wasps over the next several months and use other repellents on a regular basis to keep wasps away from your property.