by David Moore
Manager of Technical Services and Board Certified Entomologist
with contributions by Eric Smith, PhD, BCE
With spring finally upon us, we will begin to see many more insects. One of the insects that always gets a lot of attention are wasps. This time of year, you will see a few larger than normal wasps. These are the queen wasps that are emerging from their overwintering location. These queen wasps are looking for new locations to take up residency, build a nest and start laying eggs.
Wasps do not overwinter like bees. In the fall, the colonies die off and only the queen survives. The queens overwinter under tree bark, siding, or other protected areas. Then in spring time, they will emerge from those locations looking to start a colony of their own. The queens do not use the old nest, and will always create a new one. If you catch it early enough or prevent the queen from starting a nest, you can eliminate an issue at your home. Common places that these nests are created are attics, chimneys, overhangs, dryer vents, and behind shutters to name a few.
There is not much that can be done to prevent the wasps from coming into your home. You can make sure you have screens on all open windows that are in good repair. Keeping doors closed will also help prevent the wasps from entering your home. These emerging queens are not normally aggressive, but they will sting if they are mishandled or feel threatened. A simple fly swatter is an easy tool that can be utilized to remove the pest. There are many aerosol products available for quick elimination as well. Just make sure it is labeled for the type of wasp that you are treating for.
On the exterior, there are only a few items that can be done:
- First, you can perform a pesticide treatment on all areas that wasps will commonly create a nest. Generally, you want to treat these areas in the early spring to reduce the likelihood of a nest being created there. If you notice a nest in its infancy, it is a lot easier to eliminate than one that has been growing for a month.
- Some wasps can be very aggressive, while others are not a problem if you do not bother the
m. However, if you have children, pets, or those who are allergic to a sting, it is best to eliminate the nests as soon as you can. This is very important if you are trying to tell the difference between paper wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets.
- If you are unsure about the type of insect you are seeing, calling a pest management company may be the best option. Yellow jackets and hornets can become very aggressive quickly, and could potentially put you or your family in danger. This is particularly important if a nest is very high. Most homeowners do not have the proper safety equipment and in some cases ladders to perform the wasp elimination properly. Dodson Pest Control can help you with any and all of your stinging insect control issues.