Most Oklahomans have had an unforgettably painful experience with stinging wasps so that even the site of them evokes a feeling of fear. Although most bees and wasps live a solitary lifestyle and do not aggressively attack intruders,”social” wasps can pack a painful sting that can be used to capture prey or defend themselves and their colonies. Oklahoma is home to several species of stinging wasps and bees, among the most common known to the area are Paper Wasps and Yellow Jackets.
Paper wasps are colored yellow, black, brown, and red, depending on the species, with 3/4- to 1-inch long slender bodies. They build paper nests of a single comb attached to trees, shrubs, and a variety of structures, such as building eaves.
The colony begins in the spring when a mated female leaves her hibernation site to build her nest and maximum colony size of up to 75 is reached by late summer.
Paper wasps will generally only attack when their nest is threatened, however since their territorriality can lead to attacks on humans and because their stings are quite painful and can produce a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction in some individuals, nests in human-inhabited areas may present an unacceptable hazard.
Most Yellowjacket species are smaller than paper wasps (1/2 to 3/4 inches) but are more stocky in appearance. Most of these are black-and-yellow; some are black-and-white (such as the bald-faced hornet, Dolichovespula maculata), while others may have the abdomen background color red instead of black. They can be identified by their distinctive markings, small size (similar to or slightly smaller or larger than a honey bee), their occurrence only in colonies, and a characteristic, rapid, side to side flight pattern prior to landing.
They also build nests much larger than their paper wasp relatives. Their nests consist of several combs surrounded by paper envelopes and resemble a paper-m ch ball. Most yellowjackets build nests in underground or enclosed sites such as wall voids, attics, and inside hollow logs. However, a few species, such as the baldfaced hornet, build their nests in trees and shrubs or on buildings. The population in mature colonies can be quite large, ranging from 200 to 700 adults in the baldfaced hornet colonies to 1,000 to 5,000 adults in the southern and eastern yellowjacket colonies.
Due to their large colony size and defensive nature,yellow-jackets are more aggressive than paper wasps. Yellowjackets have effective means of defending their colonies. They often have “guards” at their nest entrances, and the colony can easily be disturbed by rapid movement and vibrations near the nest. For this reason, one will almost certainly be stung if a lawn mower or trimmer is used near a yellowjacket nest. In some species, an alarm chemical is released upon stinging that causes nest mates to join the attack.
HIGH RISK AREAS
Nests should be eliminated with great care and in a specific manner.When contemplating extermination of a yellowjacket or wasp nest, pleased be informed that you are entering a DANGER ZONE – there is no pest control scenario more frightening than a ‘blown’ wasp or hornet treatment. Consequently, it is often prudent to contact a professional, especially when access to the nest is difficult.
- Trees & Shrubs
- Wall Voids
- Hollow Logs
- Eaves & Overhangs
- Under Forts & Swingsets
- Storage Sheds
- Patio Furniture
- Ground Holes
- Garbage Cans
- Crawl Spaces
- Horse Reels
- Bird Houses
- and more…
Social wasps do not lose their sting after an attack, as honey bees do, and can sting repeatedly. Thus, multiple stings can be inflicted by wasps in a very short time.stings are a serious health threat to humans and animals. Hundreds, if not thousands of people in the United States die each year from allergic reactions to the venom of these insects. Paper wasps, hornets and yellowjackets are more dangerous and unpredictable than honey bees. “Folk” remedies, such as dousing nests with gasoline or a garden hose, seldom work and can result in multiple stings.