Video: This Massive Wasp Nest Will Make You Cringe, But Watch This Man Exterminate It

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An Asian hornet at the Research Institute of Biology of the Insect in Tours, central France. Getty

A viral YouTube video with nearly 1 million views on Monday reveals just how massive yellow jackets' nests can become—by adding up to thousands of yellow jackets overhauling the insides of a backyard shed. In Patterson, Louisiana, the yellow jacket wasps built up a nest larger than a human being, nearly swallowing storage boxes, garden tools, screen windows and other belongings inside.

In the video, Jude Verret, a professional beekeeper and exterminator, is shown slamming the nest with a shovel, breaking it up to dismantle it.

"I do see them almost that big from time to time," Verret told The Times-Picayune on November 24. "But that one was really huge."

Verret's GoPro video footage reveals a swarm of thousands of wasps surrounding him as he breaks up the wasp's nests. Verret, who works at Stinger Creations in Morgan City, Louisiana, has specialized in bee extermination for over a decade. He was dressed in a protective white beekeeper suit and face mask for the job. As he worked, the wasps hit the lens of the GoPro camera like pellets, sounding like a hailstorm.

Verret didn't get stung, which, he said, was lucky. Over his 20-year career in Patterson, including 12 years as a licensed exterminator, he usually gets stung. "But this time, no, I lucked out," he told The Times-Picayune.

In the video, he places a basketball beside the massive nest to show how big the nest is by comparison. Verret said in a second video description that it took 45 minutes to remove the nest entirely.

"There's the queen, right there," he said in the video. The complete nest was so long that it stretched twice the length of his body.

In the video, Verret called it the "granddaddy of a hornet's nest." This species of yellow jackets, called Vespula squamosa, is around half an inch long with clear wings, according to Texas A&M University's AgriLife Extension Service. The venomous insect does not produce honey.

The massive nest that Verret dismantled is made from wood fibers that come from materials such as fences, logs or even cardboard, which the wasps chew up and break down into soft pulp, according to ThoughtCo.

Typically, nests are formed underground, but they can be found in hollow walls as well. The worker wasps forage near picnic tables, garbage cans and other locations for insects and animal carcasses. Unlike the honey bee, which dies after inflicting one sting, the wasp can sting repeatedly.

Though this insect is often a nuisance and issues a painful sting, it also kills other insects that attack cultivated and ornamental plants, according to the University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.