Notorious for dispersing BBQs and picnics, wasps are a stinging pest that intimidate people in order to pilfer meats and sweets where ever they can find it. Most recognize the wasps when they see it and due to a rather painful sting, they are feared by quite a few. Their distinct form gives people fair warning of their presence in addition to gently buzzing sound when they are flying close by. Looking similar to bees, most wasps are longer and narrow than bees. With several species of wasps in the country, Texas commonly sees paper wasps. Today, we at A-Tex Pest Management would like to share some basics concerning paper wasps.
Paper Wasp Nest Identification
In this sub-family, paper wasps, or scientifically named Polistes, have several species in this sub-family. Paper wasps are given this handle for a reason, because their finished nest’s exterior resemble paper-like materials, suggesting their name. Wasps will chew wood and other cellulose materials and use their saliva to construct their nests. These paper-looking nests are round and appear to be hung upside-down paper combs, which are generally attached to horizontal surfaces from a single stalk. The nest continues to expand is the colony grows. Because these nests can often resemble umbrellas, some people will call these wasps umbrella wasps.
What Do Paper Wasps Look Like?
Though these flying insects can resemble bees, their bodies are nut fuzzy and range from ½-1 ½ inches in length but average about an inch long. Some paper wasp species will have bright stripes that can be yellow and red, but they primarily vary from orange to reddish-brown to dark red in color.
Do Paper Wasps Do Anything Beneficial?
Paper wasps will feed on nectar of plants, and though they are not as effective as bees are, they contribute to pollination. In addition to their pollination efforts, paper wasps can be beneficial in gardens because they assist with harmful insect control and include them, like caterpillars for example, in their diet.
Life Cycle of a Paper Wasp
It only takes a single paper wasp fertile female to start a new colony. The nest will expand, and work will commence in the colony once her first brood matures. Typically, the first brood are workers, as the colony continues to multiply, the food foraging and care of the larvae commences. The nests will eventually be abandoned by later fall or early winter. The cycle of the paper wasps continues when the surviving fertile queens from the winter begin reproducing again.
Are Paper Wasps Aggressive?
Contrary to myth, paper wasps are not out to bully people, but only show any aggression if they believe their nests are endanger and they need to remove the threat. Their priority is the queen and animals and people that get too close will be attacked by a barrage of repeated stings. Where bees have one sting and die, wasps do not and continue to deliver painful stings. Most experience mild to moderate pain and others can manifest allergic reactions that range from mild to severe.
How Painful is a Paper Wasp Sting?
Paper wasp stings inflict a burning sensation that’s been described as the same feeling as spilling acid on your skin. Should someone experience any of the following allergic reactions, call for emergency medical attention immediately:
– Rapid Heartbeat
– Issues Breathing
– Eyelids, Lips, and/or Throat Swelling
– Dizziness, Faintness, or Confusion
– Nausea, Cramps, or Vomiting
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Where they can be beneficial, most do not want to risk any assault, especially if allergic reactions are possible or likely. Removing the nest may seem simple, but it can be a challenge without enduring combat. If you have a paper wasp nest on your Greater Austin, TX property, call A-Tex Pest Management.