How Much Do You Really Know About Paper Wasps In The Bay Area?

wasp crawling on a nest

Paper wasps are so named because of the nests they create with wood fibers and saliva. These papery nests are built above the ground and can be found in trees, bushes, and on man-made structures. You've probably seen one. You may have even got rid of one that was developing on the side of your Bay Area home, or on a ceiling in your porch, deck, garage, shed, or some other structure. But how much do you really know about paper wasps? Do you know why wasps desire to create nests on your property, or how to prevent them from doing it? Do you know why paper wasps sting and how to prevent them from wanting to sting you? If you're thinking you might not know enough about paper wasps, you're in luck.

Why Paper Wasps Come Into Your Yard

wasp on a stem

You might think that paper wasps come into your yard to collect nectar from flowers, and you would be partially right. They certainly do collect nectar. But flowers aren't the only things that attract paper wasps. Here are a few more.

  • Paper wasps eat pollen.
  • Paper wasps eat insects that are alive or dead.
  • Paper wasps eat beetle larvae and other insect larvae.
  • Paper wasps eat invertebrates, such as caterpillars.
  • Paper wasps eat arachnids, including some poisonous spiders.
  • Paper wasps can eat some human foods and are often seen around trash bins.
  • Paper wasps drink water from puddles and sweet drinks out of cups, bottles, and cans.

Why Paper Wasps Build Nests

There are a few reasons why a female wasp may want to create a nest in your yard. If you understand why she does, you might be able to prevent nests from being developed.

  • If a female wasp comes into your yard and finds any of the above food or drink sources, she may decide to create a nest. You can make your exterior less inviting by removing access, such as keeping trash in sealed containers, reducing nighttime light sources, and addressing moist conditions.
  • When a female paper wasp checks out your property, she is attracted to overhangs and high places that are protected from the weather. Apply screens to keep her out, and do routine inspections to remove starter nests in the spring. These nests will look like little umbrella-shaped, gray structures.
  • A female wasp might get the notion to create a nest inside your home. You can stop her by keeping your window and door screens in good condition, making sure exhaust vents are covered, and by sealing gaps.

When You Should Be Worried About Paper Wasps

It is good to have wasps visit your property because they are beneficial insects. They help with pollination, reduce plant-damaging insects in your garden, and can get rid of a dangerous spider or two. Plus, paper wasps aren't much of a threat when they're away from their nests. It is the nest-protection instinct of the paper wasp that makes it a serious threat to you and your family, and why it is so important to catch nests early and remove them.

A Few More Important Facts About Paper Wasps

  • When a paper wasp stings you, it doesn't lose its stinger. This is because it does not have a barb on the end. A paper wasp can grab onto you and sting multiple times.
  • Paper wasps may be black and yellow, or reddish colored. The black and yellow paper wasps can look like yellow jackets, but are far less aggressive.
  • A sting from a paper wasp can hurt quite a bit, but is usually not dangerous. The concern is when there is an allergic reaction to the venom. This reaction will require immediate medical attention.

How To Prevent A Paper Wasp Sting

  • When you're outside, examine cups or dishes before you pick them up, and watch where you sit or put your hands. Most stings occur when wasps accidentally come in contact with the skin.
  • If a wasp comes near you, move away as quickly as possible without swinging your arms.
  • Refrain from wearing sweet perfume or cologne outside.
  • Refrain from wearing bright colors outside.

The Best Way To Prevent Paper Wasp Stings

If you live in the Bay Area, reach out to Bay Pest. We can help you reduce the insects that wasps eat, and also help to locate and eliminate nests early. No Bay Area home should be without an effective pest control plan, get your plan in place today.

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