Have you been noticing an increase in wasp activity around your home? You are not alone! The warm winter and warmer than average spring have brought on a major increase in wasp activity. Finding wasps outside or around your house can be a troublesome sight. These insects can be annoying and can pose a threat to you and your loved ones. While many people are familiar with wasps and their dangerous and painful sting, there is a lot of information you may not know.
What Do Wasps Look Like?
Most wasps are yellow and black, but there are also some that are red and black. They have two pairs of wings, and their bodies are slender, elongated, and have a narrow waist. Wasps vary in size, but most are between 1/4 to 1 inch long, though some species of wasps can reach up to 2 inches in length.
Wasps vs Bees
Bees and wasps both belong to the order Hymenoptera, but they are different in a few ways.
- Bees are generally much larger than wasps.
- Bees also have rounder bodies, while wasps tend to be more slender and elongated.
- Bees are covered in fuzz, while wasps have smooth bodies.
- Bees feed on pollen and nectar, while wasps typically eat other insects.
Something else that distinguishes wasps from bees is that while bees can only sting once before dying, wasps are able to sting several times and easily survive.
Types of Wasps in Idaho
The most common types of wasps in Idaho include:
The Paper Wasp
The paper wasp is one of the most common types of wasps in Idaho. They are about 1 inch long and can be black, brown, or red. Paper Wasps build their nests out of chewed-up wood fibers. The nests are usually found under eaves or in other sheltered areas.
Mud daubers are a type of wasp that builds its nest out of mud. They are about 1.5-2 inches long and dark brown to black. They are not aggressive and their sting is not harmful to humans.
Cicada killers are a type of wasp that preys on cicadas. They are large wasps, up to 2 inches long. While their head and thorax are dark brown, their abdomen is black with distinctive yellow bands. Their sting can be painful but is not considered dangerous.
Yellow jackets are a type of wasp that is yellow and black. They are about ½ inch long and build their nests in the ground. Yellow jackets are known for being aggressive and their sting can be painful.
Signs of a Wasp Infestation
If you suspect you may have a wasp nest near your home, look for these common signs of a wasp infestation:
- Wasps flying in and out of an opening in a building.
- A nest that is visible on the exterior of a building.
- Wasps flying around trash cans or other food sources.
- Stings inflicted by wasps.
If you see any of these signs, it's important to take action to remove the wasps before they become a more serious problem. Wasp stings can be painful and cause serious reactions in some people, so it's best to avoid them if possible.
What To Do if You are Stung by a Wasp
Wasp stings are characterized by sharp pain, redness, itching, and swelling. If you did get stung by one of these pests, you may see an injection site reaction, but don't panic! Instead, try to:
- Wash the infected area with warm soap and water.
- Apply ice to the sting to help reduce swelling and pain.
- Elevate the area to help reduce swelling.
- Consider applying an anti-itch lotion or medicine to the site.
- Consider taking anti-inflammatory medication or pain reliever if needed.
While the initial pain of these stings should subside relatively quickly, for some people, their venomous sting can cause allergic reactions and even become life-threatening. Call 911 or seek immediate medical attention if you are allergic to these insects, think you may be, or you're experiencing any severe symptoms. Signs of a serious allergic reaction may include difficulty breathing, throat or tongue swelling, rash or hives, vomiting, nausea, and more.
How To Get Rid of Wasps Nests
There are a few things that you can do to get rid of wasps nests on your own, though these treatment options are only advisable for very small infestations.
- Use a vacuum cleaner with a hose attachment to suck up the nest.
- Use a power washer to blast the nest away.
- Use insecticide and carefully apply it to the wasps' nest.
However, if you have a large nest, please do not try to treat it yourself. It is best to call a professional.
Get Professional Help
If you are located in Western Idaho and are looking for an experienced team of wasp exterminators, give Vertex Pest Control a call, or check out our service areas! Our team will locate the wasp nest and talk you through our different treatment options to ensure we find the best method for your family's needs.