Wasps can be identified by their narrow abdomens that separates their head from its lower half.
Depending on the type of wasp, the color may change, however, wasps normally have a brightly colored body.
Wasps are far more dangerous than bees because they are aggressive and can sting repeatedly if provoked.
Some wasps can even release a pheromone that signals the nearby colony that the nest may be under attack.
Wasps are omnivores and prey on almost every other pest on earth for food. During the late summer, wasps’ food preferences will change from sugars to proteins. Therefore, it’s more likely for wasps to enter your home during this time.
Generally, wasps will enter into a home looking for:
- Nesting sites
- A protected place to hibernate
Treating Wasps Nests
Depending on the type of colony, wasps can survive throughout winter if they manage to find a nesting ground indoors. If a wasps nest does form in your home, it’s very unlikely you will see it again until springtime.
Exterminating wasps is best during early spring before the problem increases in summer.
Since these pests are so dangerous and will attack multiple times, it’s best to call an exterminator to develop a plan of action. Most aerosol sprays and other DIY methods may not be effective, and can still leave a pheromone trail that can attract even more wasps.
Similarly to bees, an exterminator will first identify the type of wasp, find the points of entry, then use smoke and pesticides to eliminate the infestation. After an exterminator has completed this, it is important you follow any instructions your exterminator gives you and:
- Block access to crawl spaces, sheds, porches, and decks
- Fill old rodent dens and other holes in the ground
- Properly store all waste and compost in sealed containers
- Remove hollowed trees and logs
- Install screens in your home’s main entry points
- Inspect your home for signs of bees during the warmer weather
Extermination is normally done at night, as wasps become calmer during this time.
Types of Wasps in North America
Yellowjackets have shiny bodies with yellow and black stripes. Yellow jackets are mainly found in the Southeast of North America, but can also be found nationwide.
These insects will sting and bite even if unprovoked. They are extremely defensive and will protect the nest at all costs.
In spring and summer, they feed mostly on other insects to provide protein to the larvae in the colony. Their nests are normally concealed and can hold thousands of wasps. Yellow jackets often form nests underground.
These wasps are also called umbrella wasps because of their “umbrella-shaped” nest, and the “paper-like” material used to form the nests. These wasps can be identified by the bold colors on their bodies.
These wasps will build their nests in residential yards. Be sure to check hedges, fruit trees, and outdoor plants for their nests. They will not sting unless the colony is threatened, but they do swarm anything that does pose a threat.
Hornets normally black with yellow or white stripes, and can be found throughout North America.
They build their nests from “paper-like” material in football shapes. They are likely to nest in tree branches and larger shrubs. They are attracted to food scraps, and have similar behaviors to other wasps.
You can look out for hornet infestations by peeling back the wood of a suspected nest and inspect for any hornet activity. If angered, a hornet can release a blinding venom in addition to stinging any posing threats.
Mud Daubers are primarily black with some yellow details. They create small, tub-like nests in sheltered places like corners.
If you find a nest with holes in it, it may be an old or an inactive nest as they create holes when they want to leave. These nests are made to attract and trap spiders for the females.
Mud Daubers are not social insects, so they do not form colonies and do not swarm. Some people may not even exterminate them, as they can act as a protective measure against spiders.
Although they are found throughout North America, they have not been known to sting humans often. Speak with an exterminator for more information, or to develop a plan of action.
If you suspect there are wasps in your home, call an exterminator to prevent any unnecessary stings, and to safely eliminate all unwanted guests.