Of all the creepy crawlers and winged vermin in the insect world, wasps are among the most despised and feared, and for good reason. Being in the presence of wasps can be problematic, as a sting from one of these pests can be painful or, to someone who is allergic, even deadly. Wasps include any insects in the order Hymenoptera and suborder apocrine except for bees and ants. There are over 30,000 known species of wasps, such as hornets and yellow jackets. Social wasps, including yellow jackets and hornets, live in a nest with an egg laying queen and workers. However, solitary wasps, which include several species, do not colonize. Predatory wasps feast upon a diverse array of insects and plants while parasitic wasps inject plants and insects with eggs which turn into larvae that eats its host. Like bees, some species of wasps pollinate, but not very effectively. As the weather warms up, wasps tend to emerge in great numbers and are commonly seen around trash cans, dumpsters, parks, public areas, or any other locations where food is exposed. In many cases, wasps are harmless unless threatened, but in some cases, being near wasps can be a risk that should be monitored and properly handled in a number of ways.
For some people, the presence of wasps or yellow jackets can become problematic. These insects tend to build nests made from wood in cool, dark places such as hollow logs, underground, or in manmade structures. These nests are oftentimes near human life, creating danger for those susceptible to their stings. If a nest is built inside a structure, it can even damage the walls and ceilings. Wasps tend to be naturally more aggressive than bees, and unlike bees, can sting a person several times without losing their stingers. This makes the potential pain much worse than that of a bee. A wasp in distress can emit a pheromone that signals other wasps to come and attack. A wasp sting causes immediate pain and could cause hours of uncomfortable symptoms such as pain, redness, itching, and swelling. For those who are allergic, stings can cause hives, a drop in blood pressure, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, weak or racing pulse, dizziness, difficulty breathing, or even death. If you know you are allergic or have never been stung before to find out, you should take all measures to avoid wasps.
Don’t leave food out: wasps are scavengers for protein or sugar-rich foods such as candy, soda, meat or dairy products. If you have food outdoors keep it tightly covered as to not attract these pests. Also be sure to clean out garbage bins which could be spoiled with all sorts of food products.
Don’t dress to attract wasps: Because they are pollinators, wasps and yellow jackets are attracted to floral scents and brightly colored clothing, so using scentless products and wearing subdued colors could help you go unnoticed by these pests.
Use wasp traps: Installing wasp traps around your home could eliminate the wasp population in your area. Wasp traps are contraptions filled with water and bait, such as a piece of meat or sugar, that trap wasp until they die. Wasps enter the traps, but cannot get back out, so they eventually drown in the water. You can purchase wasp traps or make them with materials in your home such as soda bottles.
Put up a fake nest: Wasps tend to be territorial and will not set up a colony where another is already established. You can use materials in your homes, such as paper or cardboard, to make a fake nest yourself, or purchase one. Hanging the nest in your home will prevent wasps from nearing the area.
Plant wasp repellents: Because their scents are unpleasant to wasps, certain plants such as wormwood, eucalyptus, mint, and citronella act as natural wasp and yellow jacket repellents. Planting these plants around your home could deter wasps from dwelling on your property.
If you have a nest in your area, and natural methods of eradicating the wasps are not working, you may have to wait until cold weather for the insects to die off. If the nest is a problem or putting you and your family at risk you should consider contacting a pest control specialist to terminate the wasps chemically. A professional will be able to safely and effectively remove the wasp population around your home – call Boz Pest Control today for carpenter bee, wasp, and yellow jacket elimination!