The Danger of Wasps

November 13, 2014

If you have ever been stung by a wasp you know how painful it can be.  Wasps are unique in that even if a victim is not allergic to the wasps venom can still be life threatening.  Social wasps which include yellow jackets, paper wasps and hornets are the most common type and tend to live in habitats near humans.  Since living with wasps in the environment is inevitable, it is important to understand the behavior and dangers that accompany a wasp nest.  

  • Wasp Nests – Wasps establish colonies annually and make nests from masticated wood pulp. Their nests are usually found in rodents hollows most likely inside the houses or in playgrounds. Wasps start building a brand new nest in the spring. This happens when the overwintered queens emerge from hibernation. Wasps never reuse an old nest from a previous year. If your home tends to attract a nest annually, it may just be that the location is a good one for them to build their nest. Wasps love old roofs with many entrances, gaps in tiles, and hollow playground equipment.  

  • Wasp stings Wasps are not usually aggressive unless their nest is in danger.  Unfortunately coming upon a nest by accident or disturbing a nest can happen anywhere around your home.  Wasp venom can be life threatening to certain susceptible individuals who are allergic. But if stung enough times, even people who are not allergic can be overwhelmed by wasp venom. 30 stings or more can be deadly and the affect of wasp stings is accumulative i.e. the more stings you receive the worse your reaction will be.  

  • Identifying and Eradicating Nests – If you suspect that you have a wasp nest but are not sure where it is, the first place to look is outside near roof lines, holes in the foundation or on playground equipment.   If the nest is on your property or building, the wasps will be arriving and leaving via an entrance – exit point. You will see wasps arriving and leaving from a specific location every few seconds. If there are no signs on the building, the next obvious place would be garages, garden sheds, and outbuildings.  Many people get stung severely trying to eradicate the problem on their own,  Consult a pest professional who can advise you on a safe method.  

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