No matter where you settle down in Washington, you’ll find yourself within shrieking distance of a wasp or two. Among the most feared pests in playgrounds and throughout backyards in the Pacific Northwest, wasps have earned a gnarly reputation for aggression. To limit exposure to potentially dangerous pests like the wasp, we need to make sure we take the necessary steps to prevent wasps from nesting near you and your family.
Today, we are going to take a closer look at how wasps nest and how to prevent wasps from nesting near your home.
Common Wasps of Washington
As one of the most feared insects in Washington, wasps are present in many different forms. Washington is particularly beholden to three forms of wasp: the mud dauber, paper wasp, and yellowjacket.
- Mud Dauber – This name applies to a swathe of wasps within the Sphecidae and Crabronidae families. These wasps are known for building their nests with mud. Long with slender bodies and a thin, threadlike waste, Mud Daubers are dark black and yellow in varying stripes. Mud daubers are solo wasps that nest with a single queen and no workers. These wasps are typically not aggressive.
- Paper Wasps – Known for having yellow antennae, these wasps feature black stripes and distinct yellow patterning. Long bodies give way to long legs that seem to hang beneath wasps while they are in flight. Nesting typically begins with the Queen in March or April, leading to a simple papery comb, open-faced and accessible. Paper Wasps are a more notable pest as they like to nest in wooden areas, near homes, and sometimes within houses.
- Yellowjackets – Black antennae crown a body that is marked with stripes of yellow and black. Similar in appearance to the paper wasp, yellowjackets feature sturdy bodies with legs tucked beneath, similar to a bee. Yellowjackets nest in comb-like layers above ground, often beneath the eaves of a garage or against a tree. A single foot-long nest can lead to thousands of Yellowjackets, which can be a health threat as they are aggressive without provocation.
Signs of a Wasp Infestation
Identifying a potential wasp infestation is integral to protecting your home and reducing the likelihood of danger to its inhabitants. Wasps nest in a variety of different ways, depending on the family of wasps.
- Find the Nest – The simplest way to confirm a wasp infestation is by visibly identifying a nest. Paper Wasps build exposed nests that most closely resemble an upturned umbrella. Depending on the season, these nests may grow quite large and the wasps inside will become aggressively protective of that nest. Yellowjackets have papery-looking nests typically within wall cavities or beneath eaves. Mud Daubers nest in either clay or mud in long, tubular shutes.
- Increased Signs of Activity – While wasps can nest at different times of the year, weather changes and increasing insect activity tend to go hand-in-hand. Take a stroll around your yard, home, or garden, and assess how many insects you see flying around. Wasps are easier to ID than other common insects, so if you spot a wasp then contact your local pest control expert.
- Chewed Wood Near Your Home – While many wasps opt to build their nests from clay and mud, as well as other detritus, others will craft their nests from paper. This paper is sourced through wood fibers that have been stripped from common wooden structures in the area, including your home or garage! Holes or small tunnels may appear on wooden surfaces that have been farmed for fibers.
How to Prevent Wasps From Nesting
Identifying a wasp infestation is ideal, but preventing one from ever manifesting is even better. While there are no perfect ways to prevent a wasp infestation, there are certain steps that we can take to reduce their likelihood.
To assist in your wasp control and wasp removal efforts, let’s look at a few preventative measures we can take.
- Secure Your Garbage – Wasps don’t live on nectar, so don’t let them find fuel from your trash. Protect your garbage at all times, as wasps are in love with sugar and protein. Wasps will eat just about anything, so secure your trash with a tight seal. Also, consider cleaning your dumpster or garbage can regularly to minimize residue and its build-up.
- Patch Cracks & Gaps – Wasps that use wooden fibers to nest will need to acquire them from somewhere. If you notice cracks or gaps between the ceiling, awnings, or floor of your home, consider patching it up. Consider installing a screen on top of your chimney and any other air vents.
- Clear Lawn Clutter – Wasps love a cluttered lawn, so don’t give them the opportunity to enjoy one. As the seasons begin to change and the weather begins to warm, make sure to commit time to take care of your yard. Short and manicured lawns that are free from clutter will benefit greatly.
About EcoTek Pest Control
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