You might not believe it, but wasps actually aren’t all bad. These flying insects are famous for their bad attitude and their painful sting, making them one of the most feared pests around. But wasps can actually be helpful to the local ecosystem, despite that excruciating sting. So, how dangerous are the wasps in the Oklahoma & Kansas area?
Wasps are members of the order Hymenoptera, which also includes bees and ants. There are thousands of species of wasps on the planet, with a stunning diversity of size, shape, and behavior. Although many of us picture wasps as a massive, angry swarm of insects defending their nest, most species of wasps are actually solitary hunters that reside in small burrows or dens by themselves.
Wasps are predators that feed on other insects, but they are also eager scavengers. They will chomp on an unattended burger or hot dog and feed the harvested meat to their hungry larvae. As colder weather approaches, wasps will often change their eating habits and start snacking on sugary foods. They will go after open cans of soda, beer, or juice to get their fix. But they will also drink from nectar-rich flowers and can help pollinate the local vegetation.
Wasps are often confused with their cousins, hornets. Though they may look similar, there are a few key differences between the two. Hornets are usually larger in size, between 1 and 1 ½ inches, while most wasps measure less than 1 inch in length. Hornets will always build their nests high up in elevated locations like trees and roofs, while wasps often construct nests at ground level or underground.
Certain bees can be confused with wasps. The main difference is that bees tend to have hairy, rounded bodies, while wasps tend to be more slim and smooth. Bees are generally smaller than wasps.
How Dangerous Are The Wasps On My Property?
Wasps can be dangerous, especially to individuals who are allergic to wasp stings. However, these pests can be surprisingly beneficial to the local ecosystem. This is thanks to a combination of their feeding behaviors.
First, wasps prey on other insects. This reduces the overall population of pests, but can also impact the presence of crop-killing bugs that frustrate gardeners and farmers. Perhaps more significantly, wasps help pollinate the plants in their territory. Although they aren’t as effective as bees, wasps still manage to carry pollen with them from flower to flower as they slurp up sugary nectar.
But make no mistake that wasps are dangerous, too. Wasps have venomous stingers that can deliver multiple injections. When threatened, wasps will not hesitate to attack. Worse, social wasps like yellowjackets can attack in swarms, with pets and small children especially at risk of being stung. While one or even a few wasp stings can be tolerated by the average adult, those who are allergic must seek medical attention immediately.
How To Prevent Wasps On Your Property
There are a few simple ways you can prevent wasps around your property.
Clean up: Make sure that all food waste, especially meat and sugary beverages, are disposed of quickly in receptacles with tight-sealing lids.
Repair siding: Wasps are known to build their nests in damaged siding and paneling. Check for damage to your property and replace or repair as needed.
Plant repellent: Wasps love most sweet flowering plants but hate certain others. Planting lemongrass, basil, and marigolds can help keep wasps at bay.
If you’ve spotted a wasp nest on your property lately, don’t try to remove it yourself, even if the nest seems inactive. Instead, get in touch with the professionals at BugBros. Our expert technicians will safely remove any stinging insect nests on your property and can assist in preventing future nests from developing. For total relief from wasps and other troublesome pests, contact us today.
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