Wasps

What are wasps?

Wasps are a type of predatory stinging insect. These environmentally beneficial pests help reduce the number of dangerous insects that harm people and damage crops. However, when wasps decide to nest in our yards or homes, their helpfulness quickly becomes obsolete as their presence becomes a threat for us, our children, and our pets.

mud dauber on a bush

Wasps are typically divided into two groups and described as either solitary or social:

Social Wasps — In our area, examples of social wasps include yellow jackets, bald-faced hornets, and paper wasps. Social wasps live together in groups and work together to maintain their nests and gather food for the colony.

Solitary Wasps — Solitary wasps living in our area include cicada killers and mud daubers. Solitary wasps live and nest alone and do not form colonies. However, it's common for many of the same types of wasps to live in the same area.

The main characteristics of wasps include:

  • Three body segments — head, thorax, and abdomen

  • A pointed lower abdomen

  • A narrow waist or petiole that separates the abdomen from the thorax

  • A body devoid of hair or fuzz

  • Wide color varieties include yellow, brown, black, metallic blue or green, and bright red

  • Nests created from a papery substance produced from saliva and wood fibers

Are wasps dangerous?

Because they are a type of stinging insect, wasps have a stinger extending off the end of their abdomen. Solitary wasps like mud daubers and cicada killers tend to be less aggressive and less threatening to people; the males don't have stingers and females are docile and only sting if they feel threatened.

Social wasps like yellow jackets, hornets, and paper wasps tend to be more aggressive and work together to protect their nests from perceived threats. When social wasps are in distress, they emit a pheromone alerting the other colony members who then come to their aid and help defend the colony from the perceived threat. Unfortunately, wasps often view us simply walking through our yards near their nest as a significant threat which can lead to an attack.

Wasp stings are painful, and because they have smooth stingers, they can deliver multiple stings. After being stung, a painful red welt will develop that may last for hours or even days. Those who are allergic to wasp venom are at risk for serious, life-threatening allergic reactions to these stings, including anaphylaxis.

Having a wasp nest in your yard located in a high traffic area or on your home is a recipe for disaster. The presence of wasps can cause increased stress levels and keep homeowners from enjoying their yards. No one wants to spend time somewhere that they have to always be on high alert in order to protect themselves from painful stings.

Why do I have a wasp problem?

Wasps are opportunistic and will create a nest on any property that offers a suitable nesting area and is in close proximity to food and water. The insects that wasps prey on live on properties with gardens, landscaping, and tall grass. The more food on your property that wasps can take advantage of, the more likely you will experience wasps problems.

Late summer and early fall are the time of year when these wasps and other stinging insects are most active. At this time of year, social wasp colonies contain a large number of members and they are out trying to feed them all with the last of the season's food. In addition to hunting insects, many wasps are scavengers and feed on various proteins and sweets that we also eat. Some of the wasp's favorite places to find food include trash cans, compost bins, gardens, and recycling bins.

Where will I find wasps?

wasps on a nest

Depending on the specific species you're dealing with, wasps create their nests in various places above the ground, on the ground, or below the ground.

Mud Daubers — Mud daubers create nests out of mud-like material. They prefer to build their small nests under overhangs or in tight crevices. You'll find these nests under roof eaves, porches and decks, in doorways, or rock crevices.

Cicada Killers — Cicada killers like to nest in open sunny areas. Some of their favorite places to build their nests include the soil next to sidewalks, patios, and play structures, and in flower beds, gardens, and lawns.

Yellow Jackets — Yellow jackets are ground nesters and nest under logs, in tree stumps, under woodpiles, in ground holes, under decks, and in the abandoned nests of small animals. Yellow jackets aren't picky and also place nests on tree branches, in doorways, or inside our homes in attics or behind wall voids.

Bald-Faced Hornets — Bald-faced hornets and paper wasps build nests in similar areas up off of the ground. The branches of trees, shrubs, door frames, and under roof eaves are common nesting sites for these hornets.

How do I get rid of wasps?

Partnering with an experienced pest control professional is the safest way to get rid of wasps or wasp nests on your property. At White Knight Pest Control, we understand how dangerous and frustrating dealing with wasps can be. We'll work closely with you and provide the services you need to eliminate wasps and their nests.

At White Knight, our passion is serving others and keeping pests away from people and their property. We eliminate wasps and other pests with our annual service plans and the dedication of our knowledgeable and experienced professionals. To learn more about how we can keep your property free of wasps throughout the year, call us today!

How can I prevent wasps in the future?

At White Knight Pest Control, we will help you prevent problems with wasps using our regular treatments. In conjunction with our comprehensive pest control services, the following prevention tips will help you keep wasps out of your Texas, Utah, Arizona, or Colorado home!

  • Remove sources of food: Keep outdoor eating areas free of food debris. Maintain gardens and keep lids on trash cans, compost bins, and recycling bins. 

  • Limit nesting areas: Fill in any holes in your yard. Remove tree stumps, fallen trees, and other debris from your property. Cut back branches and overgrown shrubbery from around your home's exterior walls. 

  • Eliminate standing water: Repair leaky hoses and fixtures, and maintain gutters. Clean out clogged gutters and drains. Do not overwater gardens and potted plants.

  • Eliminate entry points: Seal up spaces around doors and windows. Install screens in open windows and doors. Install covers on vents and seal spaces around wires and other utilities entering your home. Install caps on chimneys.

 

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