Six Amazing Facts About Wasps In The Bay Area

wasp on a leaf

We have lots of wasps in our area. The most common wasps are yellow jackets, paper wasps, mud daubers, digger wasps, and tarantula hawks. Each has its own unique characteristics. Yellow jackets, for instance, are wasps that create nests in ground holes. Digger wasps are burrowing insects that don't need a hole to create a nest. Paper wasps establish aerial nests out of a paper substance they create. Mud daubers make aerial nests out of mud. Tarantula hawks often don't make a nest at all. But they sometimes enter ground holes or natural cavities to establish a nest. Let's take a look at six amazing facts about these Bay Area wasps.

1. Only female wasps sting.

Male wasps don't lay eggs. Therefore, males don't need an egg-laying ovipositor. This is what female wasps use when they sting you. So you don't have to worry if you're approached by a male wasp. Unfortunately, it is very hard to tell the difference between a female and male wasp! If you know the species, and you know how large they're supposed to be, you might be able to distinguish a male from a female by its size. Male wasps tend to be smaller than females because the abdomen of a male wasp doesn't need to carry eggs.

2. Not all wasps are aggressive.

If you get near a yellow jacket or paper wasp nest, you're going to know it. These are social wasps. Social wasps defend their nests by swarming together and attacking. Mud daubers, digger wasps, and tarantula hawks are solitary wasps. They don't have a nest-defense instinct. But they can sting you if you provoke them or press yourself against them. You may think, "Why on earth would I want to press myself against a wasp?" The answer is that you wouldn't, intentionally. But it is easy to sit on a wasp or put your hand on a wasp by accident.

3. Tarantula hawks are painful pests.

While a tarantula hawk is a solitary insect, and not aggressive toward humans, it can sting you. If you get stung by one of these wasps, you're not likely to forget it. According to experts, this wasp delivers a sting that is more painful than any other wasp in North America. The pain is excruciating and it lasts for about three minutes. If you are stung by a tarantula hawk wasp, it is best to not attempt to run. This could result in greater injury because the pain affects coordination and mobility. The recommendation is to lay down on the ground and scream until the pain passes. Yup. That is the actual recommendation.

4. Wasps eat protein

This fact is helpful if you want to get control of wasps around your Bay Area property. While wasps do eat nectar, they also feed on bugs for protein. Some target specific bugs, like tarantulas, or cicadas. Most eat a wider assortment. So, having lots of bugs around your home can invite wasps to establish nests in your yard. Investing in a residential pest control program not only helps with locating nests early and removing them, it also helps with reducing food sources that attract wasps. It's a win-win.

5. Hornets are wasps.

All hornets are wasps, but not all wasps are hornets. Hornets, such as European hornets and bald-faced hornets can be found in our area, but they are not nearly as common as the wasps listed above. You may have also heard about murder hornets in the news recently. You can relax. It isn't likely that we will be dealing with murder hornets in our area any time soon.

6. Wasps can sting many times

When a honey bee stings, it loses its stinger and dies. This is not the case with wasps. A wasp does not have a barb on its stinger like a honey bee does. It can plunge its stinger into your skin several times without losing it.

What To Do About Wasps

If you're seeing wasps around your Bay Area property, contact Bay Pest. We can assist with nest removal or put in place a pest control plan to reduce the threat of wasps on your property all year long. We're here to help.

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