ABOUT PAPER WASPS
A paper wasp infestation is a serious matter for Warminster home and business owners. These aggressive insects are capable of stinging victims several times, all while releasing a pheromone that compels other colony members to attack. Typically the only way to eradicate a paper wasp infestation is by locating and removing the nest. This dangerous task should only be attempted by pest control professionals.
The average paper wasp is about two centimeters long. Their bodies are typically brown, black or reddish, and they all have yellow bands around the thorax and abdomen. With six long legs, two pairs of wings and several sets of eyes, paper wasps are well adapted to be predators. Their strong mouth parts are suitable for chewing plant matter to make nests while the female's stinger may be used to subdue prey.
Paper wasp larvae eat a variety of insects like caterpillars and beetle larvae. And while nectar is the main source of sustenance for adults, they will also feed on sweets such as soft drinks, fruit juices, and certain types of fruits and foods such as honeydew.
Queens may spend the winter hiding out in cracks on manmade structures or nestled under tree bark. They emerge in the spring to build a nest, which they will suspend from almost any convenient place. In nature, this is usually a tree limb or a rocky promontory. When paper wasp queens encounter human habitations, they may use eaves, windowsills, gutters and other overhangs as nesting sites.
The paper wasp nest is shaped roughly like an umbrella and is constructed with wood and plant fibers that have been chewed and mixed with saliva. This process is what gives the nest the look of paper. Large nests may contain as many as 200 cells, each of which contains larva. The larger the nest is, the greater the potential threat is to people and pets who may inadvertently get too close to the nesting site. Moreover, a successful nest one year may pave the way for additional nests the following year.
PROBLEMS WITH PAPER WASPS
Female paper wasps are capable of delivering multiple stings. Males are not equipped with a stinger, though they may still react aggressively if they feel that their nest is threatened. Although the sting is painful, it is typically not life threatening and does not require medical treatment unless the victim receives many stings or is allergic.
Localized swelling and pain are the most common reactions to a paper wasp sting. However, for a small percentage of the population, an attack by a paper wasp may prove to be deadly because of an allergic reaction.
Paper wasps make it difficult to enjoy outdoor spaces during the summer. This is because they may be drawn to foods that people are eating or simply because people are coming too close to the nest. The high probability of being stung is why most people seek removal of a paper wasp nest from their property.
Paper wasps are most active during the day. Between sunset and sunrise, they are at their most drowsy and docile. Nonetheless, they will still behave in a territorial manner if they believe that their nest is threatened. Territorial behavior tends to be at its most aggressive in the spring and summer when there are young to protect in the nest. Paper wasp behavior becomes less aggressive in the fall when there are no more young and the focus turns to mating. Males die after mating and females look for a place to overwinter. People may mistakenly think that if they get rid of last year's paper wasp nest that they will not have a problem the next year. The reality is that paper wasps imprint on a previous nest location, which means that they are likely to return.
Because the paper wasp is quite territorial, it can be dangerous to have a nest attached to or situated near human habitations. Professional nest removal is frequently the only viable option for ensuring the safety of people and pets.
It is not possible for paper wasps to transmit diseases to people or pets. Nonetheless, they represent a significant threat to people who are allergic to their venom. A mild reaction may involve moderate swelling, pain, warmth, itching and redness. A person with a known allergy will probably want to seek medical advice even if they experience a mild reaction.
Other people may have a severe reaction known as anaphylaxis. Symptoms of a severe reaction may include trouble breathing, wheezing, difficulty swallowing, rapid pulse, dizziness and extreme swelling. These symptoms can be life threatening, and they require immediate medical attention.
SIGNS OF AN INFESTATION
The following signs may indicate a paper was infestation:
• Multiple sightings of small, brown- or black-and-yellow insects
• Reports of people being stung in a particular part of the property
• Seeing a nest that is shaped like an upside down umbrella hanging from a building
Home and business owners may prevent paper wasp problems by following these steps:
• Seal all cracks and crevices in buildings
• Routinely inspect structures for signs of a new nest, particularly in the spring
• Treat all exposed wood surfaces to make them less attractive to paper wasps
• Remove fallen fruit from beneath trees
• Place tight lids on all outdoor garbage cans
Removal of paper wasp nest should be done by a pest control professional in order to avoid the danger of multiple wasp stings which could put one's health at risk.