WHEN WASPS ATTACK
Wasps can be very bothersome, and even such a pain to have when they get into our own private space, flying and buzzing around as they look for food. It would even be much more dangerous if they make their nest inside your property. After all, wasps can sting; while some species sting when they feel threatened, there are some species that sting even without provocation. This is why many people are frightened when even just a single wasp is around.
Wasps are bothersome indeed, but they are also beneficial insects; they help in controlling the population of several garden and agricultural pests. Aside from that, they also are very good pollinators for plants and flowers. Due to this, it is important to find the perfect balance between getting rid of them and making them do what they have to do for the benefit of the ecosystem.
Overview of wasps
Many people would agree if we say that with wasps, size does not matter; because they can sting, many fear them. Their stings are painful. Just with their presence alone, they can immediately ruin one’s outdoor picnic or outdoor barbecue party.
There are more or less 30,000 species of wasps, and some of them are very familiar to humans because they live near us. They come in different colors: yellow, brown, blue, or rere are around 30,000 species of wasps, and the largest can go as long as 2 inches in length. The smallest is only .0055 inches in length and is actually the smallest insect in the world – the chalcid wasps which is a solitary wasp.
There are two subgroups among all the wasps: the solitary wasps and social wasps. Social wasps include the yellowjackets, paper wasps and hornets. These wasps set up and live in colonies. Only a thousand species are social. A single queen builds a colony initially by herself. This queen was fertilized the previous year and hibernate the rest of the winter and would emerge later in the spring. She would also lay her eggs and when these eggs hatch, she would take care of her young. They would become her workers when they become adults. Eventually, their numbers would increase to as much as 5,000 wasps. This cycle happens annually. Wasp would not survive to the following year, even the queen and only the new fertilized queens would be the only ones to survive the winter.
On the other hand, solitary wasps do not live in colonies. Some solitary wasps build nests and some do not. They do tend to take over abandoned nests and make it their own. They would rather fly alone to look for food. Solitary wasps are further divided into three groups: the squatters, the builders, and the diggers. The squatters do not build their own nests and use only holes that are already existing. The builders build their own nests. The diggers dig holes in the ground for their nests.
Wasps vs bees
Some people confuse wasps with bees. Wasps can be distinguished from the bees through their narrow waists and pointed lower abdomens. Bees have very robust and rounded bodies. Wasps have smooth and shiny bodies, while bees are hairy. Wasps feed on insects, while bees feed on pollen. Wasps can sting several times and can simply fly away, while bees die after one sting. This is because when bees sting, their stingers are lodged right to the skin of their victims and they could not survive to have any stingers.
Types of wasps
There are around 30,000, but not all are in the United States. Below is a list of the most common wasps you are probably familiar with.
Paper wasps are among the most common wasps. They are ¼ to 1 inch long, brownish-black with reddish to yellowish markings along with their head and abdomen. They help rid gardens of pests, but they sting humans too and can be quite painful. They are called paper wasps because their nests are made of papery materials made out of chewed wood, and they like to build their nests near buildings, under eaves, and on sturdy plants closer to the ground. These nests are water-resistant.
These are solitary wasps which grow to about ¼ inch to 1 inch in length. They are black with yellow markings on their legs and thorax. They usually fly alone and are not aggressive. They build their nests from mud, and usually near buildings. They do not swarm and are docile unless provoked.
A wasp hornet is highly aggressive and can attack without provocation and their stings are painful. They are an inch long, predominantly dark in colour with light yellow or white stripes on the abdomen, thorax, and face. Like the paper wasps, they also make paper-like nests out of chewed wood and their saliva. Their nests are usually found in wooded areas and are hanging on tree branches, but sometimes they can be found near buildings and houses. Since they can be aggressive towards humans, the removal of their nests is very important. Seek the help of professional pest controllers in removing their nests.
The yellow jacket wasps are said to be the most dangerous. They grow to about ⅜ inch to ⅝ inch long, black in colour with yellow markings. Yellowjacket is usually spotted near trash cans looking for food. If you see their nests within your property, have it removed immediately by professional pest controllers because they sting when they feel threatened and are highly territorial. They do not travel far from their nests, so if you spot one, their nests are definitely nearby.
Wasps can be dangerous pests
Wasp sting as a form of self-defence. As they say, wasps sting only when threatened. But still, even if we do not have any intention of threatening them, simple movements like a hand gesture, walking, or even swinging of hands can be cause for alarm to them.
Wasps are capable of stinging repeatedly, Their stingers remain intact when they sting, unlike with the bees. Bees can only sting once, then they die.
The sight of a wasps’ nest near your house can also be very scary and unsettling. Just imagine how difficult it would be for you and your family to get in and out of the house without the fear of wasps stinging you.
They can also be a nuisance, invading people’s outdoor picnics, and at times ruining them.
If you see black or yellow flying pests, or wasps’ nests, then you probably have wasp infestation problems. Remember, avoid direct contact with wasps, or worse, kill them when they fly near you. Wasps release pheromones when they are in danger, which would then alert their fellow wasps. Soon after, you may find yourself swarmed by angry wasps rescuing their comrade.
As much as possible, avoid killing the wasps. They are beneficial insects that can reduce the population of garden and agricultural pests like aphids.
Here are some ways to get rid of wasps in your territory.
- Place a cover on your garbage bins and trash cans to cut off their food source. Do not leave any edible materials outdoors. Wasps forage for food in trash cans.
- Do not wear sweet-smelling or floral perfume. Wasps are attracted to sweet scents. If they detect you wearing this, they might come near you and investigate.
- Fill in spot holes in your yard. These have the potential to become homes to the yellow jacket wasps.
- If you have to drink soda outdoors, use covered drinking glass or cups. Wasps are attracted to sweet drinks. You would not know whether a wasp has just flown inside you soda can and accidentally drink the wasp too.
- Seal potential entry points by wasps in your house. You might just soon find one in your kitchen looking for food.
If you are unsure of what to do, you may seek the help of the pest control services for wasps and bees, Go-Forth Pest Control.
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