Understanding Wasp Behavior and Nesting Patterns for Targeted Pest Control

Wasps have a bad reputation. With or without the misfortune of being stung by one, you know that you don’t really want them around you or your family.

Our blog gives you some signs to watch out for when looking for wasps and what you can do to help prevent them from becoming a problem.

Signs of a Wasp Nest

There are a few signs that indicate you may have a wasp nest nearby, such as:

  • Increased wasp activity – more wasps around a garden or an area will indicate there may be a nest nearby.
  • Visible nest – some nests are easily spotted. Look for them hanging from trees, shrubs, or on buildings.
  • Nest entrances – if you see wasps repeatedly entering and exiting from a particular spot (a small hole or gap in a wall, tree, or even the ground) that may mean there is a nest there.
  • Wasps chewing wood fibre – some wasps build nests by chewing wood fibres and mixing them with saliva. If you see a wasp chewing wood or tiny strips removed from wood, it may mean construction of a nearby nest is underway.

How to Identify a Wasp Nest?

Wasp nests tend to be made of a grey or brown paper-like material. They build it by chewing up plant matter and wood particles. A nest’s appearance can vary based on the species of wasp that built it.

  • Paper wasps – these build open, umbrella-shaped nests that hang from branches, shrubs, or the eaves of buildings. Paper wasps are known for long-dangling legs, can be black/yellow/reddish, and can have yellow-orange antennae.
  • Yellow jackets – these wasps build paper nests similar to paper wasps but with a more enclosed structure and a small entrance hole at the bottom. Some species will hide their nests in the ground or in cavities of walls and trees. These wasps are yellow and black and blockier in appearance than paper wasps.
  • Bald-faced hornets – these creatures construct large, football-shaped nests that are up off the ground and attached to trees, utility poles, or other structures. They’re made from a thin, papery material with a single entrance at the bottom. The wasps are black with white markings.
  • European hornets – these hornets build large papery nests up high like bald-faced hornets. Their nests are hidden in voids of trees and buildings, greyish-brown in colour, and football-shaped. These hornets are very large, red/brown and yellow on their faces, red/brown on their thoraxes, and have black-and-yellow abdomens with black ‘tear-drop’ shapes. They are active at night and attracted to lights, but do not see well in the dark.
  • Mud daubers – these are solitary wasps often confused with other wasps. They build their nests using mud, which gives them a unique appearance. The nests are tubular and can be found on walls, rocks, or other structures. These wasps are not aggressive and have a very long, thin ‘waist’ connecting their thorax to their abdomen.

Implement Wasp Pest Control

Pest control begins with preventative measures. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, after all.

A few preventative measures you can take include:

  • Seal openings – in the early Spring, check buildings for any gaps that could be used as a potential nest site. Seal these openings before wasps access them. If there is a hidden wasp nest behind a hole leading into an occupied building, sealing the hole can force the wasps to go into the occupied areas.
  • Use deterrents – some wasps are territorial and hanging fake nests around your property may make some wasps stay away. Avoid wearing sweet scents and bright colours that can attract hungry wasps.
  • Control them early – setting up wasp traps when the young queens are starting out can end a nest before the numbers increase. Use brightly coloured traps with protein-rich baits. Check the outside of buildings for nests beginning to grow.
  • Limit food sources – wasps are attracted to sweet scents and protein-rich food for their young. Minimize the availability of food by keeping lids on trash bins, pick up fallen fruit, and avoid leaving sugary drinks and food around.

If you notice a wasp nest, you may want to take action. You can try to treat the nest yourself with insecticidal tracking powders for hidden nests and sprays for visible nests, and wait for the nest to be less active late at night or very early in the morning. You’ll need to protect yourself and anyone nearby because wasps can get aggressive when defending their nest.

Let the Pros Handle It

Your best bet for wasp pest control is to let Poulin’s Pest Control Services take care of it. We’re the pest control pros and we can take care of any wasp problems you have safely and effectively. Just contact us!

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