Service for Wasps and Hornets… Talk to the Local Experts…
Wasps can strike terror in the hearts of human beings. Most of us have had experience with a wasp sting as children, and some of us may even have severe allergy to the venom in a wasp sting. The common types of wasp that people should be concerned about are Yellowjackets and hornets. Yellowjackets and hornets have given a bad name to honey bees, and paperwasps. Yellowjackets are aggressive insects, and the worker female have a painful sting. Yellowjackets and hornets are worthy of serious concern. Yellowjackets can be a problem around homes, cottages and other dwellings, and are fairly common in the Muskoka area.
Yellowjackets and bees share the same coloration but can be differentiated by the presence of hair. Bees have hairy bodies and wasps are smooth and hairless. Hornets bodies are primarily black with a yellow tail end. Many other insects have adopted the black and yellow colour scheme as protection from predators taking advantage of bee’s and wasp’s defensive reputations. Therefore, it is important to note that not all black and yellow insects sting.
Yellowjacket and paper wasp nests can be differentiated by the outer structure of the nest. Paper wasp nests are not protected by an outer paper cover, unlike yellowjacket nests which are enclosed by papery material. Yellowjackets live a social hive situation similar to honey bees. There may be 5000 wasps per nest. The nests are paper and may be underground, in a tree or a building overhang.
There is an overwintering queen, who, in the spring selects a nesting site. She constructs a small nest and lays a few eggs. The eggs hatch, go through a larval stage, mature and begin to tend the queen much in the same way as worker bees tend their queen. These “worker” wasps are female and the main source of concern: they are the stingers. The worker wasps expand the nest and hunt other insects to feed the developing larva and queen. The workers are known to steal small bits of meat from picnic tables.
In the fall the queen will leave the nest and search out an over wintering site, typically a crack in tree bark. The worker wasps also leave the nest, but they do not over winter and eventually die.
It is important to note that some people are very allergic to wasp stings. If someone is stung and has a severe reaction, medical attention should be sought immediately!
- Avoidance is the best protection. Stay away from active hives and be careful around hollow tree trunks or dry structures where the insects prefer to make their nests. Some species such as Yellow Jackets, may construct their nests in dense shrubs or in the ground. Restrain children from throwing rocks or spraying nests with water. Avoid creating loud noises and disturbance near the nest.
- Stay calm. When a wasp or hornet is near you, slowly raise your hands to protect your face, remaining calm and stationary for a while and then move very slowly away. Never swing, strike, or run rapidly away since quick movement often provokes attack and painful stings.
- Do not use heavily-scented products. When outdoors, avoid the use of heavily-scented soaps, shampoos, perfumes, colognes, after-shaves, and cosmetics.
- Dress appropriately. Avoid shiny buckles and jewellery. Cover exposed skin and wear gray, white, or tan rather than bright colours.
- Leave the insects alone. In the garden, bees and wasps are attracted to many flowers. Leave them in peace and they will move from flower to flower and eventually, out of your space.