The short answer is yes, paper wasps can be aggressive and dangerous. Read on for 4 things you may not know about these stinging insects.
1. Paper wasps can be beneficial.
As with all wasps, these predators are often immediately written off as undesirable. But, they actually do a pretty good job of hunting down caterpillars and other plant-eating pests. If you think about it, they’re a bit like nature’s pest control, especially for gardeners.
If you have both paper wasps and a truly serious problem with creepy crawlies munching their way through your beautiful landscaping, it may be worth keeping your wasps around a bit longer.
But maybe not… they are still wasps.
You’ll need to weigh factors such as the location of the paper wasps’ nest and their aggression against the possible benefit they may bring to your yard.
2. You can avoid a paper wasp infestation.
If you’re worried about it, there’s a lot you can do to prevent paper wasps from literally showing up at your doorstep.
- Trim bushes and shrubs away from the walls of your home.
- Regularly clear away any fruits or vegetables from outdoor gardens and trees.
- Inspect any wood you bring onto your property or inside your home.
- Use caulking foam to seal up tiny cracks in your home.
- Maintain all door and window screens, screen off vents, and of course keep doors and windows closed.
- Keep all food properly stored (including pet food).
If you do locate a paper wasp nest on your property, the safest course of action is to have it professionally removed by pest control experts. If you choose to do nothing, the nest will luckily be gone during winter’s first freeze and likely will not return in the spring.
3. Paper wasps are aggressive…
Yes, paper wasps can be aggressive and dangerous. If they feel provoked, paper wasps will vigorously defend their nest… and their sting is even more painful than a bee’s.
The good news is, you should be fine as long as you steer clear of the nest (and definitely don’t poke at it). When in unfamiliar locations, avoid being stung by skipping perfumes, using unscented hygiene products, and wearing clothes (and shoes) that keep you covered, and.
4. …but not as aggressive as yellow jackets.
While some may be able to make an argument to leave paper wasps alone (not something we’d recommend), yellow jackets—a common look-alike— have got to go. Yellow jackets are an aggressive, dangerous pest. They attack in swarms and are much more sensitive to intruders than paper wasps.
So how do you distinguish between the two?
One way to tell them apart is by their nests. Paper wasp nests look more like honeycomb with adjacent hexagonal holes, while yellow jacket nests look more like a round piece of cotton candy with a single circular entrance at the bottom.
At the end of the day, wasps get a bad rap for a good reason… they invade your home and then sting you for invading theirs. Rude. If you think you have a wasp’ nest in your yard or if you have any more questions about paper wasps, give us a call. We’re always happy to help!
Sources: https://www.pestworld.org/pest-guide/stinging-insects/paper-wasps/ https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Todd-Murray/publication/309479701_The_European_Paper_Wasp/links/5812751608ae1f5510c2a9ba/The-European-Paper-Wasp.pdf http://idl.entomology.cornell.edu/wp-content/uploads/Paper-Wasps-CCE.pdf