General Information on Wasps

Wasps look like a combination of a bee and an ant, and are known for their territorial behavior and their painful stings. Though wasps are not known to be a threat to the structure of your home like some pests they can still be unwelcome neighbors.

Facts about Wasps and How They Live

Wasp is a general term, such as ant or bee that is used as an umbrella to cover a large array of stinging pests.

Some specific names that fall under the category of wasp include Yellow Jackets, Mud Daubers, Hornets, Paper wasps and Pollen wasps. All wasps have general physical characteristics that they share with one another including exoskeletons that cover their head, thorax, and their long narrow bodies, two pairs of wings of different lengths, two antennae and a stinger that can be used multiple times.

Social vs. Solitary Wasps

Wasps can be categorized into two types: solitary and social. These two categories help to distinguish between how the insects live and have offspring. Social wasps are made up of colonies much like ants where there is a queen that will build the beginnings of a nest, and give birth to offspring that will stay and help to defend, raise new offspring, and continue to build the nest. Due to the fact that there are several wasps in one area there will be an established hierarchy of sterile females that will defend and build the nest, and reproductive males and females that will continue on to mate and have more offspring. Depending on the species, some social wasps will build nests out of paper or wood pulp by mixing the wood with saliva to make combs with cells that can be used to house growing larvae. The location of prime areas to build a nest differentiates with the species. Other species may choose to excavate in the soil, in plant stems, or out of mud.

Social wasps also have a specific way that they mate. Before winter a reproductive female will mate with a reproductive male, and store the collected sperm. After hibernating for the winter the female will build her nest and fertilize the eggs any way she chooses. At the beginning all fertilized eggs will produce sterile females to help with the nest, but as the queen runs out of sperm to fertilize eggs the unfertilized eggs will produce reproductive male wasps which will help to further future population.

Solitary wasps, like their name indicates, do not live in nests with queens and their brothers and sisters. Instead, after a nest has been built by a female each egg is laid in a single cell which is covered up therefore these new wasps have zero interaction with the adult wasp.

Wasps have been known to help pollinate flowers by landing on one flower and then another. Their legs will carry pollen on their legs and it will fall off onto the next flower. Though adult wasps feed on nectar some wasp offspring are actually parasitic and will feed off of a host until they are fully grown. Wasps have been known to sting any intruders and their stings are known to be painful because they carry venom. If you are stung by a wasp it is best to place ice on the stung area, and take some aspirin. It is important that you clean the area often so that it does not become infected.

Call CANTU at 972-885-3618 (Dallas, Fort Worth) or 713-999-3495 (Houston) and schedule an appointment today if wasps have made an unsightly appearance on your home.