When Should You Worry About That Wasp Near Your Home
Within the Pacific Northwest, there are three main wasps that people come into contact with. They are the yellowjackets, the paper wasp, and the bald-faced hornets. All of these are social wasps who live in colonies and build new nests every wasp season. Wasps are an essential part of the ecosystem because they feed their young other insects helping to keep balance within the insect world. So when should you worry about them when you find them near your home?
The Differences Between Each Wasp
Yellowjackets– Yellowjackets are a commonly seen wasp as they are bright yellow in color with black marking on the sides of their head, thorax, abdomen, and legs. They fly around with their legs close to their body scavenging for food from picnics, garbage cans, and barbeques. They also eat other insects and feed them to the young in the colonies. Their nests look like paper material that is filled with cavities to hold the larvae. These nests can be built in trees, the ground, or under the eaves of a roof.
Paper Wasps– Paper wasps look similar to yellow jackets but are darker in color. They also have longer legs that hang down when they fly along with a slender body shape. They build their nests that resemble small paper combs that hold up to about 250 wasps with an opening at the end; hanging upside down by a small stem.
Bald-faced Hornets– Bald-faced hornets are mostly black with a white-colored pattern on their face, first antennal segment and posterior tip. They build very large nests that are covered with a thin papery envelope that can be easily torn through if they feel the need to protect their home. These nests are often built in trees, lower shrubs, or attached to buildings and can be as large as a basketball in size.
What Is The Purpose Of Wasps
When it comes to insects many of us wonder, what really is the purpose? Insects seem more of a nuisance than anything productive but whether we believe that or not the fact is that every living thing has a purpose and that includes wasps. One of the greatest assets of wasps is their ability to hunt and kill insects. They do this in order to feed their young but by doing so they help keep the insect world at balance by acting as population control agents. These social wasps in particular hunt a variety of pest species making them even more valuable than their less social counterparts. Wasps are also great decomposers feeding on rotting food and waste within their ecosystem.
When Are Wasps Most Aggressive
Fall is a time when the weather shifts and routines are once again established signifying the start of a new season. Parallel to this, wasps to are shifting gears and changing up their routines because of what the fall season offers. Summer is full of sunshine and plentiful food sources that enable wasps to thrive but come fall food becomes scarce along with dropping temperatures leaving wasps hungry and not feeling like themselves. This in turn leads to wasps acting more aggressively than they did earlier in the summer season. Wasps have been busy working since springtime so now that it’s fall the queen is preparing for the next generation of males and new queens. When the old queen leaves her nest in pursuit of a safe place to hibernate for the winter, the worker wasps are left to fend for themselves leaving them desperate and more aggressive in their search for food.
Tips To Keeping Aggressive Wasps Away
Knowing that these wasps are desperate for food and especially enjoy rotting fruits, aim to keep foods stored away even when outdoors. Using candles, smoke sticks or planting plants with strong aromas like peppermint, lemongrass and geranium can help keep wasps away as they have a great sense of smell but are not fond of these natural scents. Removing any nests that you see around your home, keeping trash cans sealed and avoiding sweet scents when you know you’ll be outside can all help in keeping wasps at bay.
Wasp season will be over before we know it but until then, understanding the function and purpose of wasps as well as how to deter them will keep any aggressive wasps near your home away as well as create a fall season for you to enjoy.