Wasps

Facts, Identification & Control

Latin Name

Order Hymenoptera

Appearance

Varies tremendously depending on species. Most have two pair of wings and a pinched waist. They range in colors from black to metallic greens and blues and vary in size from almost microscopic to several centimeters long.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Wasp species are categorized as social or solitary. As their name implies, social wasps live in colonies, which may number in the thousands. Within these colonies, female workers perform all duties within the nest. Solitary wasps live alone and therefore do not have a colony. They do lay eggs, but their eggs are left alone to hatch.

Some wasps are predatory, while others are parasitic. Predatory wasps kill and consume other insects as well as other animals which they often feed to their larvae. Parasitic wasps typically lay their eggs in the bodies of living creatures like caterpillars or spiders. The larvae feed on the still-living host. Wasps can assist in the management of other pests, particularly in agriculture as biological control agents. Many wasps also feed on nectar from flowers and therefore function as pollinators.

Some wasps are aggressive species and can sting when threatened. Unlike honey bees, wasps often are capable of stinging multiple times.

Reproduction

Late in the summer, the queen of some species will produce unfertilized eggs. These will develop into males. The males will fertilize the wasps that will become the queens of the following year. These fertilized females will overwinter in a sheltered location. In most cases, the rest of the colony will perish when winter comes. Next spring, the queen will start laying eggs. The fertilized eggs that they produce will become workers, building the nest and feeding the larvae produced by the queen.

Signs of a Wasp Infestation

Signs are dependent on species, but most often the workers and the nest are the most likely signs. Read more on infestations.

How would Orkin get rid of wasps?

Orkin uses an integrated approach that employs a variety of effective and efficient methods to control wasps. Our integrated program includes using:

• Inspection – determining what is needed to provide an effective wasp control plan.

• Documentation – explaining the specifics of the overall control plan and the findings and results of, not only the initial inspection, but scheduled follow-up services as well.

• Education – explaining the behavior, diet and habitat of wasps and how this information will be helpful to the homeowner.

• Selection of the best wasp control methods – traps, light modification, mechanical and insecticidal controls, physical removal

• Cultural controls – modifying the area around the home or business to reduce the number of sites that are suitable for wasps to nest.

• Exclusion – making it hard for wasps to get inside the structure.

• Sanitation – keeping the area clean and efficiently reducing access to the wasp’s sources of food.

• Emergency services, if needed

More Information

Wasps often are beneficial to mankind. Several species are used by humans as parasites to control pests, such as in agriculture. Others are predators that help maintain insect populations. Others function as pollinators and help with plant fertilization.

Do all wasps pollinate?
There are many species of wasps that are important pollinators. However, taken as a group, wasps do pollinate, but are not as effective at pollinating as the bees. This is primarily because bees have hairier bodies than wasps, so pollen is more likely to stick to a bee’s body and be transported from one flower to another.

Wasps are important to the environment because they prey on numerous pest insects that consume crops and landscape plants.

Wasps Species

More Information