Notorious for breaking up picnics and BBQs, wasps are one of the most intimidating flying pests around. They are similar looking to bees, but are more slender and can have different coloring depending on the species. But unlike bees, wasps are capable of delivering repeated sting to their victims. There are a number of wasps around and in Southern California. Paper Wasps are among the most common. With that in mind, we at Animal Pest Management would like elaborate briefly on paper wasps.
Paper Wasps & Nest Identification
Paper wasps are a sub-family, formally named Polistes that actually include several species. Because of the paper-like nests they construct, these wasps were so nick-named. Using saliva and chewed up pieces of wood and other cellulose materials, paper wasps build very distinct looking nests that greatly resemble round upside-down paper combs. Their nests are attached by a single stalk to horizontal surfaces. The nest will continue to expand as the colony reproduces and grows. Some will reference paper wasps as umbrella wasps because their nests can also look much like an umbrella. Paper wasps size spectrum is from ½- 1½ inches long but the average is 1 inch. Most paper wasp species main colors range from orange to reddish-brown to dark red and some species will show off their yellow and/or red bright stripes. They do not have fuzzy bodies like bees do.
Are Paper Wasp Species Beneficial
Paper wasps can be somewhat beneficial in gardens, despite the fear of being stung. These wasps include nectar in their diet, which helps with the pollination process, though they are not nearly as effective as bees are. Paper wasps will hunt down harmful insects the garden as well, such as caterpillars that they will chew up to feed their young larvae.
Paper Wasp Life Cycle
To start a new paper wasp colony, one single fertile female is all it takes. The nest will continue to get worked on and expanded after the first brood matures. Additionally the first brood will start foraging for food and caring for the new larvae. By late fall, early winter the nests are completely abandoned. During the winter, the wasps die, leaving only fertile females as the survivors, which come spring, continue the cycle.
Paper Wasp Sting Swelling & Other Symptoms
Paper wasps are the less aggressive of wasps; they don’t go looking for people to sting. However, they are very territorial and will aggressively protect their nests and queen, stinging anyone who encroaches repeatedly until the perceived threat is gone. Unlike a bee that has one sting in them before they die, a single wasp can deliver multiple stings, which can be painful and often produces swelling at the sting site. Not only can the pain and swelling be uncomfortable, but many can have sensitivity to their saliva, producing allergic reactions that range from mild to severe. Call emergency medical services immediately if anyone stung by a paper wasp experiences the following allergy symptoms:
– Confusion , Dizziness, Faintness
– Cramps, Nausea, or Vomiting
– Rapid Heartbeat
– Swelling of the Eyelids, Lips, and/or Throat
– Trouble Breathing
Stinging Insect Inspections, Control & More in San Bernardino, Orange, Los Angeles, Riverside & San Diego Counties, California
Because of the potentially severe allergic reactions and painful stings that will likely swell, most people prefer not having paper wasps in such close quarters to their home, even if they do have a garden that might benefit from them. Where it can be very dangerous to remove the nest on your own, it is recommended you hire a professional for removal. To remove a paper wasp nest from your home, call the leading experts of Animal Pest Management for safe and effective removal today!