How Dangerous Are The Wasps In The Bay Area?

paper wasp crawling on hive

When you see, or hear, wasp activity in your yard, it can get you wondering, "How dangerous are wasps in our area?" There are many wasp species in the Bay Area. Some are social wasps and some are solitary wasps. The social wasps are the ones to be most concerned about. They're the wasps that come crawling out of their nests in large numbers to gather into a swarm and make you regret life. Solitary wasps don't do this. They're loners—as their name suggests. So the first thing to consider is whether or not the wasps you are seeing, or hearing, are social wasps.

Common Social Wasps In The Bay Area

We'd be willing to guess that you could pick out a yellow jacket or a red paper wasp in a lineup of stinging insects. They are very common pests. But are you aware that yellow jackets and paper wasps are social insects? If you had not been aware before reading this article, you probably are now. Yellow jackets and paper wasps can gather into swarms, and that swarming behavior is evidence that they are social wasps.

Yellow Jackets — These are black and yellow wasps that have a fat waist. You'll usually find them nesting in holes and voids and only detect activity by seeing them going in and out of their concealed nesting sites.

Paper Wasps — These wasps may be mahogany or they may have black and yellow coloration, like yellow jackets. You can tell yellow and black paper wasps from yellow jackets by how fat they are. But identification isn't essential as both of these insects can present a threat when they nest in your yard. Look for paper wasps' nests in above-ground locations.

Common Solitary Wasps

wasp on a stem

There are many solitary wasps in the Bay Area. A few of the most common are mud daubers, potter wasps, sand wasps, and thread-waisted wasps. All but the sand wasps have a threaded waist. If you see a wasp in your yard that has a long, thin waist, you're looking as a solitary wasp. While these insects don't swarm and aren't easily provoked, they can sting you, especially if you sit on one by accident.

Wasp Venom

It is unpleasant to be stung by any wasp whether it is social or solitary. Most stings result in a painful wound that hurts for less than an hour. If the pain persists for more than an hour, it is an indication of an allergic reaction. Insect sting allergies can cause uncomfortable symptoms and they can lead to anaphylaxis, which is life threatening. An allergy to insect stings can emerge in adulthood, so be aware that, if you were stung as a child with no complications, you could now be allergic and not know it. Watch for the symptoms and take immediate action if you feel ill after being stung by a wasp.

Proactive Prevention

The secret to preventing wasp stings is to catch nests early and have them removed. Even social wasps are less likely to sting you when they are away from their nests. Trouble starts when social wasps establish a nest near your home. When you approach the nest, those wasps will get wound up. Yellow jackets are the worst because they make nests in the ground and the vibration of a lawn mower can set them off. We recommend doing routine sweeps of your property, especially in the spring. If you see aerial nests forming, you may be able to brush them off your home with a broom before the female paper wasp is able to finish her work. Just do it while she is away. Wasps are diurnal, so you should be able to dispose of a nest during the day. If you discover a fully formed aerial nest, or you find a yellow jackets' nest in the ground or within a void, it is best to have a licensed pest professional remove the nest for you.

Early Detection

A licensed professional can also help with early detection of wasp nests and wasp activity. When you invest in ongoing residential pest control from Bay Pest, you don't have to remember to do inspections for wasps. We do them for you. This service is only one of many reasons why it pays to have a residential pest control plan. If you'd like to learn more about the plans we offer, we'd love to speak with you. Reach out to us today with any questions you have, or to schedule a service visit.

Life is better without insect stings. If you agree, get your pest protection in place today. Connect with us right here on our webpage to get started.

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