Spring is just around the corner, which means flowers are blooming, trees are budding and hibernating animals are stirring. It also means new paper wasp queens are swooping around, looking for the perfect place to build a nest and lay their eggs.
If you’re like most people, you probably don’t want the queen to settle in or around your home. Fortunately, there are ways to help control new wasp colonies.
What is a Paper Wasp?
As the name suggests, paper wasps are a type of wasp that make their nests from paper. They belong to the sub-family Polistes, and chew wood and vegetation to build their nests.
A typical mature paper wasp colony contains a few dozen wasps, though it can grow larger. However, each nest begins with a single fertilized queen. In the spring, each new queen that survived winter will emerge from the sheltered area in which she over-wintered and set out to establish a new colony. The paper wasp queen then lays her first brood of eggs.
After she raises the larvae, they become worker wasps that forage for food, raise future broods and build any additions to the nest. The queen continues to lay more eggs until late summer. Some of these larvae will be reproductives. Male and female reproductives mate and then the fertilized female reproductives will leave the colony to find a secure place to over-winter. In the spring they’ll come out of hiding to start their new colonies and the cycle begins again.
Where Will I Find Paper Wasp Nests?
If paper wasps have built a nest in or around your home, there’s a good chance you’ll see it although this isn’t always the case. The round nest will look like it’s made from gray paper. Additionally, it will hang upside down on a single stalk from a horizontal location.
Paper wasps need to keep their nests protected. Because of this, they tend to build in sheltered locations. Here are several common areas in which you may spot a paper wasp nest:
- Undersides of balconies or arches
- Porch ceilings
- Under overhanging eaves and awnings
- Window corners
- Beneath porches and decks
- Inside gas grills and hose reels
- Attics and crawl spaces
How to Remove Paper Wasps
Before you decide to remove a wasp nest, you need to remember that paper wasps sting. Their queen is the key to their survival, and they have to keep her safe somehow. Stinging is all they have.
Unfortunately, some people are very allergic to paper wasp stings and may experience some very serious symptoms. Regardless of whether you’re allergic, a sting does not feel good. Nest removal puts you in the path of dozens of potentially aggressive paper wasps, each of which is capable of doling out multiple stings. It’s not a pleasant scenario.
DIY wasp nest removal is not a good idea. It’s a much better idea to leave wasp removal to the professionals. After evaluating the issue, your pest control professional will customize a wasp prevention and control plan to suit your needs.
A paper wasp’s mission in life isn’t to sting you. However, it’s understandable if this isn’t a risk you’re willing to take, especially if you have small children or someone who is allergic to bee or wasp stings living in your home. If that’s you, contact Terminix® for help.