As spring ends and summer begins, so also begins the population increase of various stinging insects. Here are a few of the most common perpetrators that you may have the unfortunate opportunity to have contact with at your next cookout or family gathering.
Paper wasps are brown in color and build rather simple nests that are usually suspended beneath horizontal surfaces such as porch roofs,eaves and ledges. The nests are usually no larger than eight inches in diameter, and seldom have more than 200 workers. Approach with caution, they do not welcome uninvited guests.
The Bald-faced Hornet is one of the larger stinging insects and has white or yellow markings on the front of the head. The body of the insect is black, with white markings on the thorax and abdomen. Their nests can get very large, often as big as a basketball, and have a single opening at the lower tip. Warning: this is a BIG BUG with an ATTITUDE and has a powerful sting that “packs a punch.”
Yellowjackets are social wasps and will often build nests underground or in available openings in landscape timbers, concrete block walls, and even under loose siding. They are also found nesting in attics, crawlspaces, or voids above eaves. Just because they are “social” insects, this does not mean that they want to be your friend. As many as several thousand workers can be produced in one season, so their vast numbers make them a common unwanted guest at picnics and cookouts. Many experts consider Yellowjackets to be the most dangerous stinging insect in the United States, because of their nesting habits, foraging behavior, and the potential for their venom to cause severe life threatening allergic reactions in unfortunate victims. Danger: Do not socialize with these social entomological misfits!
As summer progresses, the nest size of each of these culprits will to continue to grow and present more of a challenge to anyone brave enough to attempt to destroy the colony. Your local pest control professional is trained in stinging insect identification, and is equipped with the most effective materials and application equipment. While the average homeowner may think taking on these “Backyard Bullies” is no big deal and especially does not look forward to the “sting” of the cost of paying a professional, it may be cheaper than a potential trip to the ER.