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Wasps

What are wasps?

Wasps are dangerous, territorial insects that we, unfortunately, find more often than we would like in our Utah yards. They find their way into our yards because they offer the wasps multiple sources of food, water sources, and, of course, safe areas of shelter.

Wasps become the biggest problem for people when they decide to make a nest in a high traffic area of our yard. Having wasps and people active in the same area is a recipe for disaster. Wasps tend to view anything walking too close to their nesting sites as a threat. Their presence in our yards can significantly reduce our ability to enjoy our outdoor spaces.

In Utah, we have to guard our properties against many different species of wasps, including:

Hornets

Hornets are a number of comparatively large wasps that are generally classified by two things: distinctive brown and yellow markings, and a distinctively painful sting for anyone unfortunate enough to get in their way. 

Ground Bees

Unlike most bees, ground bees live underground in nests made of conical piles of dirt with a hole in the middle allowing them to come and go. While they can be beneficial to a garden and generally aren’t very aggressive, they can still be a shocking and unwelcome presence when stepping outside. 

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are mostly brown with yellow markings on their abdomens and the tips of their six feet. They are named for their nests, paper-like hives that resemble umbrellas. These nests are commonly found on trees and around the roofline, which unfortunately puts the homeowner within close proximity of these territorial pests. 

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are small wasps with distinguishable yellow and black coloration, mostly yellow where other wasps are brown or black. They are fiercely territorial and will attack any person or animal that (knowingly or accidentally) wanders too close to their underground nests. 

Mud Daubers/Dirt Daubers

Mud and dirt daubers are large brown wasps that are comparatively docile in nature and typically appear sometime in the summer months. These wasps are named for the tube structures they leave on the sides of trees and structures that resemble chutes. They typically do not sting unless severely disturbed. 

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are a category of their own within bees. They are large and black in coloration, about an inch long, and look very similar to bumblebees except the carpenter bee's abdomen is shiny and black instead of yellow.

Carpenter bees are the only type of bee that makes their nests in wood. Carpenter bees do not eat wood, but they do bore holes into the wood, make nests there, and then lay their eggs. Unlike other species of bees, carpenter bees do not live in colonies. Carpenter bees are less likely to sting humans, but can cause devastating damage to homes.

Are wasps dangerous?

Each wasp species is unique and exhibits different behaviors, but one thing that they all have in common is that they have a stinger extending from their hind end. They use their stinger not only as a way to inject their venom into their insect prey but also as a way to drive away threats. A wasp sting can cause varying reactions depending on the person, from swelling around the sting site to full-blown anaphylaxis. It also depends on the number. One wasp sting is a painful experience, but getting stung by a swarm can carry serious health concerns.

Knowing where wasps are likely to build their nests is an excellent way to avoid that area of your yard until a professional can come to remove them. Hornet nests are often funnel-shaped with a single opening. Roof overhangs, spaces under decks, the corners of doorways, or within trees or shrubs are common nesting spots.

Carpenter bees generally do not sting humans as only the females have stingers and they are generally not aggressive. However, they can create indirect dangers to your home through their persistent tunneling into its wood.

Why do I have a wasp problem?

Wasps are attracted to properties that offer them food, water, and nesting sites. Wasps feed on a variety of matter including insects, proteins, nectar, sweets, and honeydew. Open garbage cans, compost piles, outdoor eating areas, gardens, flowering vegetation, clogged gutters, birdbaths, or ponds can all attract stinging insects to your property.

Where will I find wasps?

Aerial nesters, such as hornets, place their nests in trees, shrubs, utility poles, porches, or underneath rooflines, decks, and door frames. Ground nesters like yellow jackets usually create nests in the abandoned ground holes of small animals, under woodpiles, or underneath shrubs and bushes. Carpenter bees create their solitary nests inside pieces of wood, preferring older or untreated wood. Fences, decks, porches, wooden playsets, and wooden trim are all common nesting spots for carpenter bees. If wasps find their way inside of a home, they will nest in the chimney, attic, wall voids, or crawlspaces.

How do I get rid of wasps?

To eliminate current problems with wasps, as well as prevent future ones, it is best to partner with an experienced professional. At Peak Pest Control our professionals provide customers with the residential or commercial stinging insect control services needed to solve their unique wasp problem. To learn more about the full-service extermination services we offer in Ogden, UT and the surrounding area, contact us at Peak Pest Control today!

How can I prevent wasps in the future?

In addition to our professional Cache County pest control solutions, use the following tips to make your property less interesting to wasps.

  • Regularly maintain and cut back the branches of trees, shrubs, and bushes in your yard.
  • Keep your lawn and any areas where burrowing wasps would choose to burrow in well-watered to discourage them from continuing progress there.
  • Don't plant new shrubbery next to steps or walkways.
  • Remove standing water from your property that can act as a water source.
  • Keep lids on trashcans and recycling bins. Wasps love to feed on sweet things and many of the same proteins we eat. 

DIY wasp control methods can be very risky, not to mention ineffective. Making matters worse, many DIY methods can harm the surrounding environment.

For a comprehensive and safe stinging insect treatment, the only solution is through professional stinging insect control from a certified pest management provider.

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