With over 30,000 species identified, wasps are a large species of insect that many are familiar with, but know little about. For most people, wasps are simply an insect that is similar to a bee, but with a stinger — making them much less ideal to be around. Otherwise, these insects are recognized by the swarms of yellow and black that buzz around you. Though they are known for being an insect that people are primarily afraid of, they are far less dangerous than we think.

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A Bit About Wasps

As we mentioned before, there are so many different species of wasps, but we base our knowledge of wasps around the few experiences that we may have had with them: stinging insects that are black and yellow, and swarm. The reality is, however, that most wasps are actually non-stinging species that are solitary. Regardless, they aren’t exactly the house guests that you want. If you have a wasp nest near your house, it’s good to learn a little about the insect so that you know how to better approach them.

They’re Different From Bees

Though they may share many similar attributes, bees and wasps are extremely different insects. One of the first ways that you can differentiate between the two is their body types. Bees are known for being more round and fuzzy, while wasps have distinguishable pointed abdomens and a tight “waist” separating the upper part of their body. Aside from that, there is also a lot of variation in color. Bees will always be a yellow and black combination, while wasps can be found in every color of the rainbow!

The last big difference that we’re going to touch on is a major differentiator for the two. Wasps build nests, but they do not make honey. The hives that bees live in is designed to help them create the honey that they’re well known for. Wasps, on the other hand, build nests. Their nests are made from wood fibers and have a similar texture to paper. Their nests are made when wasps scape wood fibers with their hard mandibles and chew them to a pulp.

Avoid Swatting

The venom that wasps carry contains a pheromone that can make surrounding wasps more aggressive. That being said, when a wasp is threatened or releases their stinger, any surrounding wasps are going to pick up on this pheromone and become more aggressive. Even when a wasp is close to you, it’s better to let it fly off then risk the chance of having even more aggressive wasps surround to you.

Wasps Can Sting Multiple Times

Whereas some insects are known for only being able to sting once and lose their stinger, wasps are able to sting multiple times. Wasps don’t lose their stinger once they’ve stung someone, so if you continue to swat at the insect, like we just talked about avoiding, then there’s a good chance that they’ll come back and sting you again.

Cold Weather Kills Them Off

The good news about this insect is that cool weather is one of the things that kills them off. Around fall every year, wasps begin to die off. Almost all wasps are killed off by these cooler temperatures, except for a few queens. The queen wasps will hibernate during the winter season, and when spring comes, they will start an entirely new colony!

Social & Solitary Wasps

Given that there are so many different species of wasps, you can anticipate that there are some big differences that make it clear which species is which. From color to size, there are so many ways to differentiate the species, but one of the major things that separate types of wasps is whether or not they are a social or solitary wasp.

Social Wasps

Social wasps are going to account for roughly 1000 of the different wasp species. This is going to be inclusive of any colony-builder wasps such as yellow jackets or hornets. When you imagine what we believe to be a “swarm” of wasps, the chances of them being social wasps are extremely high. These specific species of wasp will start from scratch each spring with the help of a queen that has survived the winter. This queen wasp will build a nest up and start to brood female workers. After this, the female wasps will continue to lay eggs in the cells of the nest and build up the colony.

Most wasp colonies will have roughly 5,000 wasps by the end of a summer, which is pretty impressive given that it is all up to one queen wasp to start. At the end of the summer, all of the wasps in the colony, including the queen that started the colony, will die off and a newly fertilized queen will hibernate until the following spring.

Solitary Wasps

A majority of the wasp species are solitary wasps. These wasps do not form colonies. Though they make up a majority of the wasp species, very few people recognize them as wasps when they see them. Aside from solitary wasps not being a part of colonies, the other major difference that you’ll see here is how they use their venom. Social wasps are known for using their stinger and venom as a defense method, but solitary wasps use it to hunt.

Given that solitary wasps are not flying in colonies and they’re less likely to sting you, they are rarely seen as pests or even recognized as wasps. Some of the more commonly known solitary wasps are the cicada killers and the blue and orange tarantula hawks. These wasps can grow to be nearly 1 ½ inches in length, which is extremely large compared to the average ½ inch length of the social wasps.

Recognizing a Queen Wasp

We’ve talked a lot about the queen wasp and the part that they play in forming a colony, but would you be able to separate a queen wasp from the rest of a colony? There are a few different things that you will have to look at in order to determine if the wasp that you’re looking at is a queen wasp or just another member of the colony.

Time of Year

Depending on the time of year that you’re seeing this wasp, you may be able to immediately answer your own question. All wasps but the queen wasp will die off at the end of fall, so if it’s early winter or late spring, chances are that you’re looking at the queen wasp.

Size

If you’re noticing this wasp in summer, then the next thing you’ll want to consider to determine if it’s the queen wasp is the size. Queen wasps will look similar in color and nature but will be much larger than other wasps in the colony. If there are wasps nearby or immediately next to it, it should be clear whether or not this is the queen.

Check for Company

Depending on the time of the year, you may see this wasp on its own or with a group of other wasps. Queen wasps are known for being more solitary than the rest of the colony, especially when fall is near. If you’re seeing a solitary wasp that still looks like a social wasp that would be in a colony, then there’s a good chance that it is the queen. Most queens will depart their nest at the end of the summer so that they can find a place to hibernate, leaving the rest of their colony to die. This is why it is such a distinguishing feature to consider when determining if this is the queen wasp, or not.

Removing Wasp Nests

A telling sign that you have a wasp infestation is that you have found a nest near, or on, your home. As we’ve mentioned, these insects sting when upset, and though many are solitary insects, there are often other wasps nearby. If you notice that there is a wasp nest near your home and you’re looking to eliminate the problem, then removing the nest is a great way to do so, but how?

There are a few different ways to go about removing a wasp nest. Some of the suggested methods included using a broom to knock it down, using water to dampen the nest, destroying it with a baseball bat, or burning it once it’s been knocked down. If any of these methods sound like the last thing you’d like to do, then you understand why we don’t suggest doing them.

All of the methods that people have mentioned in blog posts and forums are far from a safe way to remove a wasp nest, and we strongly suggest avoiding them all. If you do have a wasp nest by your house, it’s time to call in the professionals. Our team believes in removing these pests in a responsible way that prioritizes the safety and well being of all parties. Don’t try and do this on your own, contact our team and we’ll get it taken care of for you.

Earthwise Pest Management

Removing wasps on your own can be dangerous and is not suggested. In the case that you have a wasp nest that you need to remove or a wasp infestation that needs to be taken care of, trust the team of professionals at Earthwise Pest Management. We have years of experience working with all types of pests. We do our best to provide all of our customers with long-term solutions to their pest problems.

Want to see what some of our previous clients have said about their experience? Check out the reviews and see for yourself just how important customer satisfaction is to our team.

About Our Company

Our owner, Joe Hawkins, has grown up around the industry and has had a vast knowledge of pest control from an early age. After years of working for other companies, Joe finally decided that it was time to start his own business that focused solely on integrated pest control management. This specific type of pest control solution is one that provides long-term solutions and in-depth inspections to ensure that pests don’t return to your home.

Integrated Pest Management – Our Method of Choice

There are so many ways to go about removing pests from the house, but integrated pest management (IPM) looks at pest removal in a responsible and long-term way. Sure, you could go ahead and remove the pests and leave it be, but when you do this you are leaving the factors that made this an ideal space for pests in the first place. You see, when pests find a place that is suitable for their living conditions and makes it easy for an infestation to occur, the chances of dealing with this pest down the road are far from short.

With integrated pest management, we complete a detailed inspection of the area so that we can understand what types of factors are making this an ideal space in the first place. We will look at all of the breeding sites and harborage areas to really get an idea of how we can further approach the long-term removal of the pests.

That being said, the next step will require us to acknowledge the appealing parts of this area and determine how we are going to treat and prevent these pests from returning. With the wide variety of options for removing pests, we will work diligently to ensure that the pests are moved responsibly and that you are not left with pests to deal with, now or in the future.

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Whether you’re ready to schedule your pest control services today or you’re in need of a consultation, our team is happy to help. Browse the list of pest control services that we offer and find the services that suit your needs. Contact our team today and let us know how we can be of assistance!  

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Areas We Serve

Earthwise Pest Management is proud to offer our services to countless individuals in California. Browse the list below for areas that we serve and contact us today to book your services.

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