The Stinging Truth: Wasps as Pests in Modern America

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It is estimated that roughly four to eight out of every 1000 people in the world are at risk for a serious wasp sting. Everyone else would probably just shake off the effects of a sting rather quickly. There is that 10% however who will experience what are called “large local reactions” that cause visible skin reactions and irritation and pain. A smaller 3% will be stung and experience symptoms that are life-threatening. Unlike bees, which leave their stingers behind after a strike, wasps do not lose their stingers so they can attack multiple times. Fortunately, wasps are more prevalent in warmer climes and more so in warmer months.

So what makes wasps pests? It’s actually for reasons beyond their ability to attack. For one thing, they are scavengers and tend to scavenge around in feces and waste materials—this makes them prime carriers for diseases—especially should they land on food that you and your family consume. For another thing, they can cause damage to trees and timber when they build their homes and nests. Lastly, for those in strongly agricultural states, they can also ravage fruit crops in autumn and even late summers. 

Reproduction & Infestation

Most species of wasp will see their queens produce unfertilized eggs that will eventually develop into males late in the summer. These males will in turn, fertilize the wasps that will become the queens of the following year. These females tend to become sheltered and protected, though, inevitably, many wasps will give themselves up in order to protect the queen. Once spring comes around, the eggs laid at this point will become the workers for the colony: building the nest and feeding larvae.

It is around this time that you’d be able to assess whether a colony is a threat to you as they send out their workers and drone during this season in order to prepare for tougher seasons ahead. Wasps tend to be somewhat aggressive during this time given the critical time limit on their work. Obviously, the presence of a nest is also a big red flag, more so if it’s already rather large in size. 

Dealing With Wasps

Many people try to deal with wasp infestations by themselves. Some will try to actively burn the nest. This is a big no-no for two reasons. One, you might burn down your own home in the process of trying to get the wasps. Two, if you use too weak a fire in order to countermand the difficulties brought by the first reason, you will likely just end up ticking the wasps and consequently painting a huge target on your back. One sting hurts but it isn’t so bad, but multiple hits just might be really harmful for you.

Your best bet for dealing with them is not dealing with them yourself. It’s best to hire expert exterminators and pest control professionals who have both experience and equipment to pull it off properly. Not only that, they can use safer methods to deal with these unwanted wasps

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