Wasps can represent a sizable headache for Bristol homes and businesses. As they are notoriously difficult to eradicate, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a professional pest control company.
The average person sometimes confuses wasps with bees. Wasps may have distinctive black and yellow markings that are similar to those on a bee. Nonetheless, some of the many thousands of wasp species do exhibit other colors. All wasps have an abdomen, thorax and head, with a notably tiny waist that further differentiates them from the bee. While there are many varieties of wasps, most of them have two sets of wings with the ones in the front being larger than the ones in the back.
Members of the wasp family, including yellow jackets, are commonly found in Bristol and throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. An adult yellow jacket is usually between 10 and 16 mm long and builds a nest that features a papery covering.
Wasps feed largely on flower nectar, though they may kill or incapacitate other insects as a source of food for larval young. Wasps are also known to be drawn to sugary human foods, which is why they may often make an appearance at barbecues and picnics.
Wasps are either solitary or social. As the name implies, social wasps live in large colonies which are housed in nests. These nests may be found clinging to structures or trees. Some may even be discovered in underground cavities. This can be hazardous when the nests are attached to or located in places where humans frequently go.
Wasps build a nest anywhere that is close to a reliable food source. Favorite locations include under the eaves of a building, in a garage or shed or behind shutters. Some property owners have found them within the walls or attic of a structure. Wasps are incredibly resilient and equipped to aggressively protect their nest, making it dangerous for people to try to get rid of a nest on their own.
PROBLEMS WITH WASPS
The most significant issue posed by wasp is their tendency to sting. Many species become increasingly aggressive over the summer months. Their ability to sting more than once has caused painful injuries, particularly for people who are sensitive or allergic to wasp stings. The danger of being repeatedly stung may keep people from working in the garden or simply enjoying outdoor areas.
However, wasps that build nests indoors have been known to cause damage to ceilings and walls. Particularly large nests can be about the size of a basketball or even larger, which may lead to structural damage. An abandoned nest may also pose an issue because it can be taken over by a scavenger pest that could create additional problems.
Some wasp species overwinter inside their nests. At this time, they are sleepy and extremely unlikely to become aggressive. Wasps may be similarly relaxed in the early spring, but things begin to change in the summer. Aggression reaches outsized proportions as the season wears on, with wasps fiercely protecting their nests. The wasp's ability to sting multiple times makes it particularly fearsome when compared with the honey bee. Late summer is the time when dangerous stinging episodes are most likely to occur. It is crucial for people who spot wasps in their area to move with caution to avoid unexpectedly coming into contact with a wasp nest.
Nests tend to grow as the summer progresses. This is why it is critical to find and remove wasp nests in the winter or spring when the nest is smaller and the wasps are less active.
Wasps are not known carriers of diseases, but this does not render them harmless. Most people who receive a wasp sting have a mild reaction that can include itching, redness and minor swelling. The recommended treatment for this reaction is to wash the area with soap and water before applying a cold compress.
Approximately 10 percent of the population will instead have what is characterized as a "large local reaction." These reactions may indicate an allergy to wasp stings, but are not life threatening. Redness and swelling are more pronounced in these cases, and the symptoms may progress and persist for two or three days. An over-the-counter antihistamine can help reduce the symptoms.
A smaller portion of the population has a far more extreme reaction to wasp stings that can include anaphylaxis. Symptoms such as extreme swelling of the face and throat, difficulty breathing, itchiness, dizziness, nausea and stomach cramps may all indicate anaphylaxis. Immediate medical attention is required when these symptoms manifest.
SIGNS OF AN INFESTATION
Homes or businesses in Bristol may have a wasp infestation if the following signs are apparent:
• Frequent visual sightings of wasps
• Spotting a nest, which may be as small as a walnut in the spring
• Episodes of single or multiple stinging
Property owners in Bristol and beyond can protect themselves from a wasp infestation by taking the following steps:
• Routinely check structures for nests
• Keep doors and windows closed, especially in the summer
• Outside bins, like garbage cans, should have tight fitting lids
• Seal holes and cavities in structures to prevent wasp incursion
Wasp infestations are best handled by pest control professionals. Treatment methods vary depending upon the species of wasp. However, it can be extremely difficult for the average person to identify precisely which species they are dealing with which can mean wasted time, effort, and increase the risk for getting stung.
At SafeGuard, our pest control technicians have extensive training that enables them to confidently identify the various wasp species so that they can employ the proper treatment to eliminate the problem.