What are Wasps?
There are two kinds of flying insects that are commonly referred to as wasps: social and solitary. Social wasps such as paper wasps, hornet and yellowjackets live in larger colonies with one queen. Some common traits wasps have is the ability to sting and bite repeatedly, nests constructed of recycled wood fibers, and larvae reared on dead or living insect prey.
Paper Wasps are about 1 inch long and have long legs. Their bodies can range in color from reddish orange to black in color, often with yellow highlights. Generally their bodies are similarly shaped to yellowjackets with a slimmer "waist". These stinging insects are semi-social creatures that live in small colonies but do not have a worker caste.
Yellowjackets are anywhere between 3/8 to 5/8 inches long with their abdomen usually black and yellow patterned similar to bands. They are the smallest of the bunch and are often confused for bees. These flying insects are social insects that live in nests or colonies with up to 4,000 workers. They are most active in the late summer and early autumn when a colony is at its peak. They usually feed on sweets and proteins. They also
Hornets can average 1-1.5 inches in length with brown bodies and yellow-orange stripes. They often resemble to a larger version of a common yellow jacket. The difference between the two is that the hornet has whitish-colored facial and abdominal markings. Hornets are famous for their massive, enclosed nests which can be seen hanging from tree branches or other sturdy perches. Hornet colonies usually contain more than 100 wasps.
How Did I Get Wasps?
Eaves, gutters and soffits on home exteriors are popular areas for wasps to nest in. Flowers and plants will attract them to yards as well as patios with other outdoor eating areas that have food and/or drinks. Any openings that lead inside homes and commercial buildings is access for wasps to get in. They go inside because they may be looking for food, a nesting site or hibernation.
Close Up of Yellowjackets
Inspection & Treatment
While some wasps can be beneficial to gardens as they are pollinators and natural predators of pests that eat crops residents should be on the lookout for these wasps. Not only do they sting, but if they get into the home they can build a next inside which can be damaging to the ceiling or walls.
Wasp nests will vary depending on the species that creates them. Social wasps tend to create them above ground while solitary wasps mostly make their nests below ground. Above ground nests tend to be gray or light tan in color, round or spherical in shape, has at least one entrance/exit hole, has combs on the inside that may or may not be visible and are made of mud or a paper like substance. Below ground nests are usually non-descriptive. The wasp will make combs beneath the ground but only the hole in the ground that wasp comes in and out of will be visible.
In order to inspect if you have wasps in your home, above wasp and hornet nests can be found in the following places:
Beneath decks and patios
In a crack or crevice of a house or building
On or near outdoor light fixtures
On mailbox stands
Inside unused grills
Below ground nests are typically found in dirt but can be found in the following places:
Below fallen branches or logs
Beneath concrete or driveways/patios
Once the nest has been found it is important to remove and treat the area to prevent them from coming back. It is recommended that when a nest is found to call a professional like Pest2Kill Exterminating to properly remove this. Choosing Pest2Kill Exterminating not only provides inspection, removal and treatment to your home, but we also provide you with education that will explain the behavior, diet and habitat of wasps and how this can be helpful to you.
While wasps and hornets can live on neighboring properties it is not always possible to keep them away entirely. That said, there are several things you can do to prevent large amounts of wasps and hornets from invading your home. Here are some helpful tips to avoid them:
Clean outdoor trash cans frequently and always keep the lids on tight.
Empty standing water from bird baths, rain gutters, animal dishes and other items that may collect water.
Ensure all windows and doors have screens that are in good condition.
Check for nests - this means during early spring it is important to check your home. Early on they will be the size of a walnut or golf ball size. The earlier this is checked and found the easier it is to treat. You can often find these needs in lofts, garages, sheds , cavity walls or under eaves.
Seal any tiny cracks found in your home - this can be the edges of siding and where power lines entire the house and patching up holes or replacing your window screens.
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