Wasps-The Flying Villains

Paper wasp front view

Image by: NPMA

They instill panic and fear into even the toughest of victims, they build nests in the most unwanted locations, they are flying villains armed with a stinger; they are wasps.

Wasps are the more slender, less-hairy stinging insects.

There are solitary wasps and social wasps. Solitary wasps such as the great black wasp and cicada killer wasp may be found digging tunnels in lawns. Both sting, but should not attack humans as long as they are not bothered.

Social wasps belong to a group that will build and defend their colony and queen. Social wasps include paper wasps, the bald-faced hornet and the yellow jacket. These are the more-aggressive wasps and can sting multiple times, and will do so if they feel their nest is threatened. Both hornets and wasps do not leave a stinger in the victim.

So which flying villain is building nests on your home?

European paper wasps and Polistes wasps build small nests and prefer to build in attics, but will build just about anywhere including eave peaks, railings and swing sets.

Bald-faced hornets build their nests entirely on the exterior; they build football-shaped nests out of reach in high eaves, under decks and in trees and shrubs.  Bald-faced hornets are actually beneficial hornets if left alone as they kill and eat wasps and yellow jackets.

Yellow jackets prefer to hide their nests from predators in wall voids, rodent burrows, eaves, and other locations that it is easy to hide the nest. Their nests resemble an upside down tear-drop with a single hole in the bottom.

Some tips when dealing with a wasp threat:

  • Try to stay calm, jerky reactions and attempts to swat a stinging insect will provoke it to sting. Instead of swatting, try gently blowing the insect away.
  • A smashed wasp gives off a pheromone that will attract other wasps to attack. Try to wait patiently for a wasp to leave your vicinity.
  • If stung, gently and safely remove the stinger and clean the area with soap and water. Applying ice to the area and Benadryl and/or a hydrocortisone ointment can help dull the reaction some.
  • Anyone can have an allergic reaction to wasp venom; the chances of a reaction go up with the number of stings acquired. Let someone know you have been stung. Symptoms usually appear after a few minutes, but can be delayed up to 24 hours.
  • Seek medical attention (or dial 911) if you have any of the following occur: tongue and throat swelling, hives, wheezing, dizziness, shortness of breath, blue lips, or a drop in blood pressure.
  • If you find nests around your home, contact a licensed pest professional to deal with the nest(s) safely.

At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to safely deal with stinging insects and their nests. If you’re hearing buzzing, or see a nest, call Safeway Pest Management at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444 or toll free at 800-956-0800

You can also visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

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