Wasps are seen as a nuisance for many, and some people even have a phobia of wasps. These insects can deliver a painful sting that is shortly followed by skin irritation. If you’re allergic to wasps, their stings can even be deadly. Learn what wasps are, what they look like, why you may be finding wasps around your home, and what you can do to control and prevent wasp infestations.
What Are Wasps?
Wasps are insects that are part of the suborder Apocrita and the order Hymenoptera, which also includes other narrow-waisted insects. Most wasps, like hornets and yellow jackets, often live and nest together. There are 4,000 different wasp species currently in the United States, with the most commonly seen wasps being bald-faced hornets, European hornets, and yellow jackets.
These insects are fierce predators and usually eat various other insects, such as flies, grasshoppers, and aphids. They also consume fruit, tree sap, nectar, and even human food, which is why you may see them buzzing around your outdoor picnic. Wasps attack and sting their prey and use the prey as food for their larvae.
Wasps are typically seen the most during the summertime, as this is when the worker wasps collect food to feed to the growing larvae of the nest. Toward the end of summer, the larvae develop into drone wasps and fertile female wasps, which will be next year’s colonies and queens, respectively.
What Do Wasps Look Like?
While there are thousands of wasp species, only a few are commonly encountered by humans. The most common types of wasps in the United States include:
Bald-faced hornets: This type of wasp is mostly black in color with a white face. They have six legs, antennae, and a long body. Bald-faced hornets grow to be between one-half to five-eighths of an inch.
Paper wasps: Paper wasps are brown in color with yellow markings. They have long legs and wings and grow to be between 16 and 20 millimeters in length.
Yellow jackets:Yellow jacket wasps have a yellow and black body, black antennae, and shorter legs compared to the paper wasp. They grow to be between 10 and 16 millimeters in length.
European hornets: European hornets are brown with yellow stripes on their abdomen and a pale face. They have a long and robust body and grow to be between 18 and 38 millimeters in length.
Why Do I Have Wasps Around My Residence?
If you’re noticing wasps in or around your home, there may be a wasp infestation. Common reasons why wasps may stake a claim in or near your house include:
There’s a wasp nest nearby. If you’re seeing wasps inside or around your home, there may be a nest near or inside the openings of your residence. For instance, wasps may build a nest near a damaged window that has an opening where they can get in through from the outside. Wasps also build nests in attics or wall voids, making it easy for them to slip into your home.
You leave food outside. Wasps are attracted to foods with protein as well as sweet foods. So, if you regularly have barbecues and leave leftover food lying around, you could be unknowingly inviting wasps into your yard. This also pertains to trash cans that you throw food away in. If you have trash cans outside that aren’t sealed tightly, wasps can make their way into the trash.
You have crevices and cracks in your foundation and exterior. Some wasps will create their nests in roof spaces, hollow floors and walls, chimneys, and other locations with cracks and crevices. If you’re seeing a lot of wasps near your porch or deck, consider looking for these types of spaces where a nest may be burrowed.
There are a lot of trees or shrubs around your house. Wasps build their nests in trees, roof overhangs, shrubs, sheds, and garages. Consider keeping any trees or shrubs trimmed during early spring and summer if you’re home is prone to attracting wasps.
Problems With Wasps
The primary problem associated with wasps is their stinging potential. While wasps rarely seek out humans and sting them, coming into contact with a wasp greatly increases your chances of getting stung. The more at a wasp, the more threatened it will become, and the more likely you are to get stung. Most wasp stings aren’t dangerous, but they do leave behind a painful spot on the skin. Those with allergies to wasps are at an increased danger of a wasp sting, as they can experience symptoms that range from mild to life-threatening.
Wasp Control and Prevention Measures
There are several steps you can take to help prevent wasps from nesting near or in your home. These steps include:
Keep your trash out of reach. One way to help stave off potential wasp infestations is to keep your trash can away from your home.
Seal crevices and cracks. If you have any exterior crevices or cracks on your home that would make good locations for a wasp nest, seal them with caulk before spring to prevent a wasp infestation.
Invest in some wasp-repellant plants. There are several plants that can repel wasps, including marigold, wormwood, geranium, and basil. Consider adding these plants around your home for additional protection.
Call a professional pest extermination company. The best way to eliminate and prevent wasps is to turn to a professional. A pest extermination company will inspect your home for areas prone to wasp nests and create a plan to prevent wasps.
Taking steps to prevent a wasp infestation is the best way to keep you and your family safe from their harmful stings. If you have any questions about wasp prevention, reach out to Bulwark Exterminating today.
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