Paper wasps have a bad reputation due to their stinging abilities. You could even make it a point to avoid anything related to paper wasps. But what would you say if you knew they were good for your garden?
What Exactly Is a Paper Wasp?
The term “paper wasp” refers to several species of wasps in the Polistes subfamily. Most paper wasps, as the name implies, build their nests out of the paper they make by chewing up wood and other vegetation.
Identification of Paper Wasps
Paper wasps are most easily identified by their nests, which resemble round, upside-down paper combs. The nests are held together by a single stalk and can grow as the colony reproduces. Because the nests resemble umbrellas, this insect is sometimes referred to as an umbrella wasp.
What Is the Appearance of Paper Wasps?
Paper wasps can range in length from 0.5 to 1.5 inches, with the majority being around 1 inch. Their colors can range from orange to reddish-brown to dark red, and some species have bright yellow and red stripes. They do not, however, have fuzzy bodies like bees.
Paper Wasps Are Beneficial to Gardens
One of the most surprising aspects of paper wasps is that they can be beneficial to your garden. They occasionally feed on nectar, which aids in pollination, though not nearly as effectively as fuzzy-bodied bees. Furthermore, adult paper wasps will frequently chew up those bothersome caterpillars in order to feed their wasp larvae.
It All Begins with the Queen
A single fertilized queen oversees establishing a new paper wasp nest. They will expand the nest as needed once her first brood has matured. As the colony grows, this brood develops into workers who forage for food and care for new larvae. The nests are abandoned in the late fall or winter. Only fertilized queens survive until spring when those that survive establish a new colony.
They’re Not Trying to Sting You
Is it true that paper wasps sting? They most certainly do. However, they usually only do so when they believe their colony is in danger. So, if you happen to run into their nest or encroach on their territory, they’ll do everything they can to protect their queen (sting), as she’s the key to future generations.
Their Stings Can Be Harmful
While most people react to stings with localized swelling and pain, some people are extremely allergic to wasp and bee stings. If someone with these allergies is stung, the Mayo Clinic recommends calling 911 if they experience any of the following symptoms:
- Breathing difficulties
- Lips, eyelids, or throat swelling
- Dizziness, faintness, or confusion are all symptoms of dizziness, faintness, or confusion.
- The heartbeat is racing.
- Nauseousness, cramps, or vomiting
You probably don’t want paper wasps living around your house because of their stinging and aggressiveness when threatened. It is not advisable to remove a paper wasp nest on your own because you may be stung.
Wasps: How to Get Rid of Them in Chicago
Spring is almost here, which means that flowers are blooming, trees are budding, and hibernating animals are waking up. It also means that new paper wasp queens are swooping around, looking for the ideal location to build their nest and lay their eggs.
If you’re like most people, you don’t want the queen to live in or near your home. Fortunately, there are methods to control wasps and new wasp colonies.
What exactly is a Paper Wasp?
Paper wasps, as the name implies, are a type of wasp that builds its nests out of paper. They are members of the subfamily Polistes and chew wood and vegetation to construct their nests.
A mature paper wasp colony typically consists of a few dozen wasps, though it can grow larger. Each nest, however, begins with a single fertilized queen. Each new queen who survived the winter will emerge from the sheltered area where she overwintered in the spring and set out to establish a new colony. The queen of the paper wasp then lays her first brood of eggs.
After she has raised the larvae, they mature into worker wasps who forage for food, raise future broods, and construct any nest additions. Until late summer, the queen will continue to lay eggs. Some of these larvae will be able to reproduce. Male and female reproductives mate, and the fertilized female reproductives leave the colony in search of a safe place to spend the winter. They will emerge from hiding in the spring to establish new colonies, and the cycle will begin again.
Where Can I Look for Paper Wasp Nests?
If paper wasps have built a nest in or around your home, you’re likely to see it, though this isn’t always the case. The round nest will appear to be made of gray paper. Furthermore, from a horizontal position, it will hang upside down on a single stalk.
Paper wasps must safeguard their nests. As a result, they prefer to construct in sheltered areas. Here are a few common locations where you might find a paper wasp nest:
- Balconies or arches’ undersides
- Ceilings on porches
- Awnings and overhanging eaves
- Corners of windows
- Under porches and decks
- Gas grills and hose reels on the inside
- Crawl spaces and attics
How to Get Rid of Paper Wasps
Before deciding to remove a wasp nest, keep in mind that paper wasps sting. Their queen is essential to their survival, and they must keep her safe in some way. They only have stinging.
Unfortunately, some people are extremely allergic to paper wasp stings and may develop life-threatening symptoms. A sting is unpleasant regardless of whether you are allergic to it. When you remove a nest, you put yourself in the path of dozens of potentially aggressive paper wasps, each of which can sting multiple times. It’s not a pretty picture.
It is not a good idea to remove wasp nests on your own. It is far better to leave wasp removal to the experts. Your pest control professional will tailor a wasp prevention and control plan to your specific needs after assessing the problem.
The purpose of a paper wasp’s life is not to sting you. However, it is understandable if this is not a risk you are willing to take, especially if you have small children or someone in your home who is allergic to bee or wasp stings.
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