Did you know that there are more than 20,000 different types of wasps spread around the globe?
Don’t worry though – for our purposes here they can be broken down into just two groups (Thank God!).
1. The Types of Wasps:
- The Solitary Wasp, a lone hunter, really isn’t much of a threat. They usually only target one kind of prey. Some types just target flies, some just grasshoppers. So you really don’t have to worry about the Solitary Wasp unless you are allergic the their stings.
- The Social Wasp is what you have to look out for. They are very aggressive and they don’t take much crap from anybody. Anyone that gets near their nest is seen as a threat – so if you get too close (OUCH!) you will get stung. The stinger on a wasp, unlike a bee, does not break off during the sting; therefore you can be stung numerous times by one single wasp. Some species can nest underneath leaves on the ground, as well as clumps of moss, in trees, on a garage ceiling, the corner of a window, underground, even in an old car. The colonies that nest above ground; the aerial colonies, tend to be smaller than those that nest underground. The underground colonies could nest in an old snake hole, or some other rodent hole, so be careful when around any holes in the yard. All wasps die when temperatures get below freezing, except for the fertilized Queen. The Queen will hibernate until the spring. When it comes out of hibernation it will seek a new place to start a colony. If you see a wasp flying around your attic, or garage in the beginning of spring KILL IT immediately! Use a fly swatter or house-hold insecticide. If you do not get rid of it you will probably have a colony somewhere in your house soon. The queen is solely responsible for starting a colony.
2. Wasp Stings
Treatment for Wasp Stings
- Wash the area where you were stung with soap, and water.
- Put an ice pack or some sort of cold compress on the sting to relieve the swelling and pain. (Learn how to get rid of swelling)
- Apply an antihistamine cream, such as benadryl within two minutes of the stinging to reduce the allergic reaction.
- Mix a paste of baking soda and water, and apply to the affected area.
- To weaken the venom, mix a past made with one-quarter tablespoon of meat tenderizer and one or two teaspoons of water.
How to Prevent a Wasp Sting
- Avoid wearing perfumes and other sweet smelling substances.
- Avoid wearing bright clothing as it can be attract this aggressive insect.
- Avoid flowering shrubs, and beds of flowers.
- Outdoor activities like barbecues can attract wasps. They love the smell of sweet foods. Any nearby garbage might also attract them.
Many people are allergic to the sting of wasps. The range of reactions runs the gambit from only mildly painful and itchy, to sending a person into anaphylactic shock that can result in death if not treated immediately. If you are one of these ultra-sensitive persons and you are searching for more information on the subject I urge you to head on over to insectstings.co.uk and read David Glaser’s story. His site provides an abundance of information on this subject.
3. Wasp Control
How to keep the number of wasps around you down
- Keep all outside garbage bags tied up and tightly covered.
- Seal fruit and vegetable waste in plastic before throwing in your trash can.
- Fill in any possible nesting areas; small holes, rodent and snake burrows, drains, and openings around foundations.
- When you are picnicking or having a cookout set out some tuna fish or dog food a good distance away from you to try to lure any local wasps away from the area.
- DO NOT swat at one if it lands on you. STAY STILL – if you alarm the wasp it will sting you and then attract more wasps to the area by excreting a pheromone that calls in reinforcements, all targeting YOU.
- Wasp traps are available in some hardware storesand online. These wasp catchers will not eliminate them, for that you must find the nest.
4. Getting Rid of Wasp Nests
Any nest near a high traffic area like a playground or entrance way should be destroyed whether it is below or above the ground. The safest way to get rid of an underground nest is to get a certified exterminator to do the job. If you decide to do it yourself anyway, here are some pointers to assist you:
Getting Rid of Underground Wasp Nests:
- A helper that will remain calm
- A half-gallon of kerosene or diesel fuel (NOT gasoline)
- A shovel
- A large wet cloth or towel
- Protective clothing
- A beekeepers suit would be perfect. If you can’t get one make sure your clothing has a thick, slick surface like rubber. Woven materials like cotton or wool are easily penetrated by wasp’s stingers.
- Tie your jacket cuffs and pant legs over your gloves and boots. Do this so no wasps can fly under your clothes and sting you.
- Wait until after dark, or early in the morning. This is done to make sure that all of the wasps are in the nest.
- Approach the nest VERY quietly.
- Pour the fuel into the entrance of the nest.
- Immediately have your partner cover the hole with the wet cloth so the fumes and wasps won’t escape.
- DO NOT light the fuel. The fumes alone will kill the wasps almost instantly.
Getting Rid of Aerial Wasp Nests:
The safest way to destroy a paper wasp (or any hanging) nest is with a pressurized bomb specifically made for wasps. Please follow these guidelines when using a bomb.
- DO NOT use a household insecticide like Raid. These work too slowly and you will not have enough time to get away from the angry swarm.
- Follow all of the directions on the bomb carefully.
- Stand about eight to ten feet away from the nest.
- Try to aim the stream right at the nest’s opening. If it is hitting the outside of the nest it will still kill the insects, just a little more slowly.
Please note that there is still a good chance that you will get stung while trying to destroy the nest. Do not attempt to do this yourself if you are allergic to wasp stings.
Click here for more information about how to get rid of wasps
See also: How to Get Rid of a Wasp Nest