ABOUT PAPER WASPS
In the wild, paper wasps are beneficial insects with a vital role to play as pollinators. However, when they build a nest in or near human habitations, they become a nuisance with a painful sting. Common species of this insect in the Warwick area include the Northern paper wasp and the European paper wasp. When an infestation is discovered, it is critical to ask for professional paper wasp control.
Most paper wasps have brown or black bodies with yellow stripes. Their bodies are slender, and their legs are long. Paper wasps are similar in appearance to yellow jackets. However, they tend to be larger, with most species averaging between 1.9 and 3.3 centimeters in length. Females are equipped with a venomous stinger. Males are further differentiated by displaying more yellow coloring and antennae with curved tips.
The European paper wasp is differentiated from the northern paper wasp in that it is smaller and is more likely to have black and yellow coloring. Northern paper wasps tend to have bodies that appear brown or reddish brown.
Adult paper wasps eat pollen and nectar. However, they also will kill insects like caterpillars to be fed to larvae back in the nest. This means that they are beneficial to the ecosystem in two ways: as effective pollinators and as a check on insect overpopulation.
Paper wasps and their nests are most often found in forested areas. This is because they use wood and other plant matter in the construction of their nests. Wasps frequently select manmade structures for building their nests. They look for a spot that is protected from the elements to give their young the best chance of survival. Accordingly, property owners may find a paper wasp nest under the eaves of a building, behind shutters, suspended above doorways and within wall voids. Wasps are known to be creative when it comes to finding places to put a nest. Barbecue grills, outdoor lighting fixtures, birdhouses and RVs have all provided habitat for paper wasp nests.
The nest of the paper wasp is distinctive because of its inverted umbrella shape. In fact, this insect is sometimes referred to as the umbrella wasp because of this habit. The queen constructs a stem of nesting material, which is usually dead wood and plant material that has been chewed until it resembles paper. Then, she constructs several chambers for her larvae. The chambers are not enclosed.
PROBLEMS WITH PAPER WASPS
While yellow jackets have a well-deserved reputation for aggression, the same cannot be said for the paper wasp. Although they tend to leave people alone, they will attack if they believe their nest is threatened. Their sting is painful, and the venom can produce an anaphylactic reaction in some people. This means that having a paper wasp nest in or around human habitations is generally unacceptable.
Paper wasps are rarely aggressive unless they believe their nest is threatened. This, coupled with their skills with pollination, frequently makes them welcome in gardens. Paper wasps also helpfully consume numerous garden pests such as flies and beetle larvae.
Paper wasps are not known carriers or transmitters of diseases. Nonetheless, their sting is painful and annoying. A small percentage of the population may experience a severe allergic reaction to paper wasp venom. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, nausea, fever and vomiting. Anyone exhibiting these symptoms after being stung by a paper wasp requires immediate medical attention.
SIGNS OF AN INFESTATION
Signs of a wasp infestation include:
• A paper-like nest with open cells places above a doorway or under the eaves
• Seeing black or brown and yellow insects with tiny waists
Warwick-area homes and businesses can protect their property from a paper wasp infestation using these tips:
• Seal small cracks and holes in buildings
• Keep doors and windows closed
• Use screens on doors and windows
• Regularly inspect outbuildings and infrequently used vehicles for signs of a nest
Elimination of a paper wasp population is only possible through removing the nest. Without this step, home and business owners will have ongoing problems with paper wasps. Finding and removing a paper wasp nest should be left to an experienced pest control provider.