Wasps are grouped into two categories: social wasps and solitary wasps. Social wasps (i.e., yellow jackets, bald-faced hornets and paper wasps) live in groups, defend their nests and take care of their young together. Solitary wasps (i.e. mud-daubers, cicada-killers, spider wasps, and potter wasps) form individual nests; act non-aggressively unless provoked; and sting to paralyze their prey (flies, caterpillars, spiders, etc.) and to defend their nests.
Paper wasps ( Polistes exclamans ) are ¾-1″ in length and have a slender, spindle shaped abdomen. They are long-legged and variously colored (yellow, brown, black and/or red). Paper wasps prey upon various garden pests. However, they do sting in defense of their nest.
Yellowjackets ( Vespula spp. ) are smaller (½-¾”) and much stockier than the paper wasp. They have black and yellow, banded markings on the abdomen. Yellowjackets designate members of their colony to defend the nest and are more aggressive than paper wasps. Colony guards can be disturbed by even the slightest vibration and will defend the nest vigorously and may call upon other members of the colony to attack.
Bald-faced hornets ( Dolichovespula maculata )are also slightly smaller (½-¾”) than a paper wasp. They are stockier than yellowjackets and are black with white/ivory markings on their face, thorax, and the tip of their abdomen. Bald-faced hornets aggressively protect their nest and also assign guards to guard the colony.
Wasp Removal Near Me
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Identifying Wasps by Physical Characteristics
Look for yellow and black. Identify Yellowjackets and European paper wasps by the yellow and black bands on the wasps’ abdomens. Cicada killers are a type of digger wasp that resembles a larger, wider yellowjacket. Identify the European hornet by its yellow and black striped tail and red-brown thorax. You’ll also see black and yellow mud daubers.
Identify wasps with other coloration. Paper wasps native to North America are golden brown with patches of red and yellow. Distinguish these from the baldfaced hornet, which is white and black striped with a white face. Also look for digger wasps, which have orange-brown, yellow and black bodies and metallic blue wings.
Estimate the wasp’s size. Look for 0.5 inch (1.27 cm) long yellowjackets. Contrast these with larger wasps, including the 0.75 to 1.2 inch (1.9 to 3 cm) long baldfaced hornets, 0.75 to 1.4 inch (1.9 to 3.5 cm) long European hornet, and the significantly larger 1 to 2.5 inch long (2.54 to 6.35 cm) tarantula hawks and 1.5 inch (3.81 cm) long cicada killer. Paper wasps and mud daubers tend to be 0.5 to 0.75 inches (1.27 to 1.9 cm) long.
Observe the body shape. With some rare exceptions — like the European hornet — wasps can be identified by their smooth, hairless bodies and narrow waists. Learn to recognize the yellowjacket by its short, narrow waist and cone-like abdomen that tapers to a sharp point. Look for the characteristically long legs and spindle-shaped waist of the paper wasp. Also note the mud dauber has a very narrow waist and long, thin body.
Neutralize Nests Naturally
Nests are easiest to locate on warm summer mornings or evenings by carefully scanning the landscape for insects shooting up out of the ground. After you have located yellow jacket nests, decide whether they will stay or go. To neutralize a nest without using pesticides, cover the entry hole with a large translucent bowl or other cover, held in place with a brick. Be sure to approach yellow jacket nests at night, when the yellow jackets are at rest. Use flags or other markers to mark the locations of nests in acceptable places.
WHEN it’s a warm summer day, there’s nothing like a picnic or barbecue in the sunshine.
But for many outdoor eating can quickly become a bit of a nightmare at this time of year with the buzzing sound of a wasp heading your way.
Wasps are normally natural pest controllers and tend to eat other insects.
During August and September their attentions turn to sweet food making them much more of a nuisance.