All through summer, uninvited and unseen, the visitors congregated in the roof space at Ray and Daphne Jacobs's house.
It wasn't until Mr Jacobs opened the loft hatch to service his heating boiler that the extent of the invasion emerged.
The wasp factory: Daphne Jacobs with the gigantic nestball where 5,000 wasps lived
"The wasps came out like snow," the 75-year-old retired carpenter, from Woodbridge, Suffolk, said yesterday.
"We couldn't believe it."
The nest he discovered attached to two rafters weighed more than 4lbs.
"We're country folk and used to nests but never have we seen anything this big."
The council expert they called in to help remove it estimated there had probably been 5,000 of the insects colonising the attic.
"It filled me with horror," said Mrs Jacobs, 74 (pictured), who is keeping the nest as a souvenir.