We are well into spring and before we know it, summer will be here. Warmer weather typically means spending days outside and having lots of fun in the sun. Unfortunately, it also correlates with the arrival of some unwanted guests: wasps. Two of the most commonly known wasps are yellowjackets and hornets whose names alone are enough to make someone feel like they’re about to get stung.
At Earthwise Pest Management, we believe that the best defense is a good offense. That’s why today’s blog isn’t about how to get rid of a wasp nest (if you’re at that point, you probably need to call us ASAP to help), but how to prevent wasps from hanging out around your home in the first place.
What Are Wasps?
Wasps are insects that happen to share a taxonomic order with bees and ants. There are tens of thousands of species of wasps. While wasps are known for their painful stings, most of them actually do not have stingers at all. The wasp family is incredibly diverse in size, appearance, and behavior, with a majority of the species being solitary insects rather than social ones.
As we mentioned above, hornets and wasps are two of the most well-known species of wasps as well as some of the most common in our area. Hornets are typically larger than yellowjackets and do not have the bright yellow coloring that yellow jackets have. Instead, hornets are usually brownish red or white and black. Both of these insects are social insects, meaning they live in a hive with a queen and a caste system. Additionally, hornets and yellowjackets start their hives from scratch each year. The males die during the winter, leaving the impregnated female to start a new colony and hive.
Controlling Wasps In Your Yard
While wasps might seem scary, in general, they are simply minding their own business as they go about their day with no interest in you. Fortunately, though, there are some things you can do to keep wasps away from your home and prevent stings if a few mozy into your backyard. Keep reading to learn more!
How To Avoid Attracting Wasps
As we mentioned above, the best defense is a great offense. Taking the steps below can reduce the likelihood that wasps will move onto your property.
- Dispose of sugary sweets and drinks as soon as you are done with them.
- Rinse soda cans before you throw them away to avoid attracting wasps to the trash can.
- If you have nectar out for birds, you may want to consider removing this as wasps will be attracted to the sweetness.
- Avoid wearing perfume or scented lotions.
- Do not wear brightly colored clothing.
- Some wasps are attracted to flowers, so if you have a garden, know that this might be encouraging them to hang around.
- Patch up any cracks or holes in your exterior walls and clean up your backyard. Wasps will look for a safe place to build a nest and you want to ensure they don’t choose inside of your walls or by your kids’ toys.
- Plant wasp-repelling plants like spearmint, thyme, eucalyptus, or citronella.
How To Avoid Accidental Wasp Stings
Of course, just because a wasp nest isn’t on your property, doesn’t mean that a few wasps won’t wander over when they’re looking for food. Learn below how you can avoid an accidental wasp sting.
- Do not leave sugary drinks unattended without a lid. Many people have been stung in the mouth from sipping a soda that they unintentionally were sharing with a wasp.
- Wear closed-toed shoes when walking through grassy areas.
- If you find a wasp trapped in a swimming pool, use a cup or other object to scoop it out. Otherwise, it might grab onto the first solid thing it comes into contact with, which could be you!
- Keep in mind that some species of wasps, such as the yellowjacket, build their nests under the ground whereas others build theirs in trees or on buildings. Wasp nests have even been found inside cars! If you notice a few wasps hanging around your property, it might be a good idea to contact your wasp control experts at Earthwise Pest Management to search for the nest.
- Also, do not forget that unlike bees, wasps can sting you multiple times. For this reason, it is best to avoid stings altogether.
What To Do If You Encounter A Wasp
If you follow the advice above, you likely won’t end up with a surprise sting. Make sure you still know what to do if a wasp flies near you.
- If a wasp is near you, it might seem instinctual to panic and run away flailing. Unfortunately, this might only anger or scare the wasp, evoking an attack response. Try to stay still and let them fly by.
- If a wasp lands on you, try to remain calm. Most likely they are simply investigating a smell or looking for water if you are sweating. They will probably move on in a few moments. If not, you can try to calmly fan them away or brush them off with a piece of paper.
- Many wasps will release an alarm pheromone if they feel attacked. This can alert other wasps in the area and cause them to swarm and attack the enemy; in this case, that’s you! Do not swat at a wasp that is near you. If you miss, you might be sorry you tried.
- If you must run away, do so in a straight line and run quickly. Keep in mind that you may be chased, and some wasps are known to chase a victim for hundreds of feet.
What To Do If You Are Stung By A Wasp
This is the situation we are trying to avoid, but if a wasp does happen to sting you, you can be better prepared to handle it by reading the points below.
- Unless you are allergic, wasps do not pose a major health threat to most people.
- If you experience any symptoms after a wasp sting such as trouble breathing, nausea, dizziness, diarrhea, weak or elevated heart rate, and hives, swelling, or itching in areas not near the sting, seek medical attention immediately.
- Most people will only react with a swollen red welt around the sting and possibly a white dot where the stinger punctured the skin. Pain from the sting will usually disappear within a few hours, and the swelling and redness should go away within a day.
- Some people might be mildly allergic to wasps without even knowing it. Those who are might experience extreme redness and swelling that lasts for several days around the sting, as well as some nausea. If you experience this but are not experiencing the other symptoms listed above, you can give your doctor a call for further information.
- For non-allergic persons who experience a wasp sting, be sure to clean the sting area and apply an antiseptic product as soon as possible. Using an ice pack and taking an over-the-counter painkiller can help reduce swelling and pain. You may place a bandaid over the sting to keep it clean or prevent yourself from messing with it if needed.
Need Wasp Control In Sacramento? Call Us!
The wasp removal experts at our Sacramento pest control company are here to help you have a wasp-free home. Whether you’re dealing with hornets, yellowjackets, or you’re not exactly sure, we can diagnose the problem and find a solution. All wasp cases are unique and need to be handled by professionals. Many homeowners have found themselves with a dangerous number of wasp stings after trying a faulty DIY wasp removal trick they found on the internet.