Wasps have similar yellow with black stripes to bees, but their hairless bodies and are 1 to 2.5 cm in length. Though there are thousands of species, the most common in Eastern Ontario are the yellow jacket and the hornet.
Habits & Behaviours
Wasps fall into two categories, social and non-social. A non-social wasp will remain solitary while a social wasp colony consists of a queen and between a handful and 15,000 male drones and sterile female workers depending on the species and the environment. A queen stores sperm in her body and deposits it with her egg as she pleases to determine the sex of an offspring. Wasps play a role in insect control and can continue to sting as they do not lose their stingers.
Unfortunately the areas surrounding residential, recreational/cottage, and commercial properties provide ideal nesting areas for wasps. Some of these areas include verandas, ceilings, attics, walls, trees and shrubs, and in the ground.
Complaints & Destruction
Wasps are considered beneficial by eating other insects, however, they can be extremely hazardous to humans as their sting can cause severe pain and reactions may be potentially fatal for those allergic to their venom. Although they won’t typically sting unprovoked, they will attack if they feel that they or their nests are threatened. Wasps will not die after they sting and can sting multiple times. Wasps also produce an “alarm pheromone” that stimulates a general state of alarm in the colony and may cause other wasps to aggressively swarm the “intruder”. Also, if there are hundreds or thousands nesting around your property, there is a higher likelihood of accidently being stung.
Major Risks & Danger
For most people, a wasp sting will result in pain, itching, redness and minor swelling around the sting site. First aid treatment for these symptoms include ice packs to reduce pain, antihistamine tablets or lotions, hydrocortisone cream, vinegar or calamine lotion to remedy itching and inflammation. Symptoms should subside after a few hours. However, there are people that will have a more serious allergic reaction that can affect the whole body and may be life threatening. When this happens, it is known as a general, hypersensitive or anaphylactic reaction.
Wasps buzzing around garbage bins, recycle bins, etc. or nesting on your commercial property can put your customers at serious risk of being stung. This is especially worrisome for those who may have severe reactions.
Reproduction & Life Cycle
A wasp queen, after mating with a male in the autumn, will store the sperm for later use when she builds her nest. She then uses the same sperm again and again to continuously lay eggs and quickly grow her colony. She usually runs out of stored sperm by the end of the summer or early fall, at which time she must find another male to mate with. New queen wasps are produced in the late summer and early fall however, most do not survive the winter.
Depending on the species, wasps may feed on nectar, other insects, food left lying around, and decaying fruit.
Treatment & Prevention
To eliminate and reduce the risk of wasps invading your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial properties, treatment and exclusion is the best prevention.
Greenshield Pest Control Inc. can provide you with many treatment, exclusion and prevention solutions.
If you are experiencing a wasp infestation within your residential, recreational/cottage, or commercial properties, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE THE NESTS YOURSELF. It is best to let the professionals do the job of safely excluding the insects. Please contact us today or see our Pest Control Services section for further information on the types of services and insect pest solutions we can provide.
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