All stinging insects cause a degree of fear, but should we be more afraid of certain species more than others? Let’s talk about wasps. In the U.S. alone, there are over 4,000 wasp species. Here in Orlando, the paper wasp is one of our more frequent stinging insects, and that’s why Orlando property owners should know a thing or two about these nuisance pests. In your efforts to identify a paper wasp and distinguish it from other stinging insects, consider the following list of characteristics and features.
- Measure about ¾ to 1 inch long
- Orange/reddish-brown with yellow stripes on head, thorax, and abdomen
- Slender bodies with long, narrow waists
- Smoky black wings that fold together lengthwise down their bodies
- Unlike bees, their bodies are not fuzzy
Are They All Bad?
When most of us think of wasps, we automatically think of the painful sting they can give. While it’s true that they do sting when they feel threatened or disturbed, paper wasps aren’t really known for being aggressive. In fact, there are some real benefits to having them in your yard.
Paper wasps prey on caterpillars, and other small insects. They use them to feed their wasp larvae. As they do this, they provide a natural source of pest control, keeping the local pest populations in check. They can also be very beneficial to gardens because they are pollinators. As they feed on nectar, they transfer pollen from flower to flower and help along the pollination process.
Where Will I Find Them?
If you’re wondering where on your property you might find paper wasp activity, it’s good to know a little about their nesting habits. Paper wasps are most active in the warm months of the spring and summer. Towards late summer, they begin looking for suitable locations to overwinter. As a way to prepare for the arrival of the cold weather, paper wasps tend to find remote areas on your property where they feel comfortable building their nests and breeding.
There are some common areas on your property where you may find paper wasps. These locations can vary, but nests are often found in the eaves of homes, along with fencing, under tree branches, in the open ends of pipes, under decks, inside sheds, and on swing sets. Paper wasp nests are round in shape, and they are made of upside-down paper-like combs that are water-resistant, and resilient in poor weather conditions.
Effective Ways To Prevent Paper Wasps
If you want to be proactive in your efforts to reduce paper wasp populations on your property, there are some preventative measures that you can take. Here is a list of helpful ways to minimize your exposure to paper wasp activity. Essentially you will need to eliminate attractants, entry points, and conducive conditions throughout your property.
- Cover up any holes in the ground.
- Eliminate piles of exposed compost or decaying matter.
- Never leave sources of food (both human and pet food) outside.
- Keep all doors and windows shut when possible.
- Keep garbage cans tightly sealed.
- Pick up trash and clean spills as soon as they happen.
- Use caulking to seal cracks and crevices around the deck and porch.
- Consider wasp-repelling plants like wormwood, marigold, mint, basil, and geranium.
- Watch out for wasp nests in sheds, garages, wall cavities, etc.
If you suspect any paper wasp activity on your property, or you’ve discovered a wasp nest, it’s crucial that you do not try and handle the situation on your own. Attempting to remove a wasp nest by yourself can be very dangerous. The most effective approach is to call on pest professionals. Green Flag Services offers year-round paper wasp control and prevention solutions that protect Orlando property owners from the dangers of wasp infestation. Contact us today to further discuss your wasp control needs, we look forward to hearing from you.