Wasps and Wasp Removal
OMNIS Pest Control
Wasps are a very diverse class of animals, with more than 20,000 species currently documented. The wasps people are most familiar with are the more social species, which live in large communities called hives. Many people are afraid of wasps, and rightfully so, as wasps are equipped with stingers that contain a potent venom. This fear moves many to seek help from pest control services whenever they discover a wasp nest.
What Are Wasps?
Wasps are any insect of the narrow-waisted suborder Apocrita of the order Hymenoptera. They look similar to bees and ants, but they are not the same as those insects. Most species of wasps are solitary animals, while others prefer to live in large groups.
The Most Common Wasp Species
As mentioned earlier, there are more than 30,000 types of wasps currently known. These are the most common wasps you may encounter in or around your home or business.
Paper wasps are a social wasp that you can frequently find close to buildings. They have long abdomens and narrow waists paired with long legs. The coloring of paper wasps varies based on species, but many of them have yellow abdominal bands. Some are reddish-brown or black, while others are yellow and black.
Paper wasps aren’t very aggressive, and their venom isn’t very dangerous to humans, but it can still cause pain and irritation. Paper wasps prefer to hunt in fields and meadows, and they typically build their nests under the eaves of buildings and beneath other overhanging structures.
Hornets are large social wasps that can reach lengths of an inch or more. Asian giant hornets can even grow to be 1.6 inches long, with queens growing even larger. If you see a black and white wasp, it is likely a hornet. Though, hornets can also have brown, yellow, and orange markings throughout their body.
Hornets aggressively defend their nests, so be very careful not to get stung if you encounter them. Adult hornets live on a diet of fruit and nectar, though they may eat plants and other animals at times. They commonly build their nests in trees and under roofs.
Yellow jackets are very similar to hornets, and they are also a social variety of wasps. They can be identified by their black and yellow abdominal banding. Yellow jackets are far more aggressive than hornets, so you definitely don’t want to disturb their nests without protection. Their nests are often found in underground cavities or inside trees and buildings.
Yellow jackets eat other insects when they are young, but adult yellow jackets prefer a diet of meat, nectar, fruit, and other sugary substances. They can be found throughout the U.S. but are most common in the southeast.
Mud daubers are found throughout all of North America. Unlike the previously mentioned wasp varieties, mud daubers are solitary wasps that prefer to live alone or in small groups. Another characteristic that sets them apart from many wasps is the fact that they build their nests using mud. Their color varies greatly, but they can have blue markings, black and yellow markings, white markings, and more.
When a mud wasp is in its larval stage, its diet mainly consists of spiders. Adult mud daubers paralyze the spiders using their venom then bring them back to the nest to feed their young. The blue mud dauber is different from other breeds, as they prefer to parasitize other species’ nests rather than building their own.
Wasps Effect On Ecosystems
Regardless of the damage they can cause, wasps are a necessary part of the ecosystems they live in. While we don’t recommend leaving a wasp nest in close proximity to your home, it helps to know how they can benefit your local environment.
Like bees, wasps are known to carry pollen between plants as they search for fruit and nectar to consume. In doing so, they ensure that the life cycle of those plants continues. Some wasps will even crawl into certain plants and lay their eggs, depositing pollen on the way.
Wasps hunt and kill insects and spiders to feed their young. This keeps the population of various pests in control, which can sometimes be beneficial to humans and other animals. For example, wasps that eat insects like caterpillars, aphids, and millipedes can help keep crops safe. The wasps themselves don’t eat the crops, and they stop those other bugs from destroying the plants. Their pest control efforts also help keep humans safe, as wasps may eat bugs that are known to spread disease.
Wasps help keep the food cycle moving along by eating rotting fruits that they encounter. This reduces the amount of waste in their ecosystem, and when they die, the nutrients they consume return to the earth.
If you have noticed a wasp nest near your property, it is imperative that you take action to remove it immediately. If left alone, the wasps may sting you or other residents of your home. While there are DIY wasp solutions, handling a wasp infestation yourself can be dangerous.
Wasps – What Not To Do
Some people take it upon themselves to get rid of wasps, sometimes making the problem worse or endangering themselves. For example, you may be considering using fire to eradicate a wasp nest. Don’t. This can be incredibly dangerous, as wasp nests are highly flammable. When you light the nest, the fire could quite easily spread to the surrounding area.
Other sources suggest that you use water to remove a wasp nest on your own. This is also a bad idea, as attempting to flood a wasp nest will only anger the wasps within. Angry wasps can quickly become aggressive, leading to the unpleasant experience of being stung by one or many wasps. Rather than risking your own safety, work with a pest control service to get the job done correctly.