Wasps are very intelligent insects. As a result wasp control needs to involve several tactics to be effective. The yellow jacket evolved beside bees as their direct predators and paper wasps make nests that are very small and open like a piece of honeycomb attached to a wall. The nest is made of wood fibres the adult worker wasps chew off trees and other wood structures and mix with their saliva to create the nests. They are much less violent and can be moved humanely with a plastic container and a board or piece of wood. Some wasps are dangerous and ones that will ignore you entirely even if you destroy their nest and kill their larva. The mud daubers are a good example. Yellowjackets are by far the most common and the most aggressive and dangerous wasps. They can make nests anywhere unlike most other types of wasps they are also smaller and more adept at getting into tight spaces especially when they are young. The yellow jacket can make a nest through a hole in the mortar of your home and build an internal nest behind your wall. You will only see them coming and going but what is happening is what could end up being a multi-wall, multi-floor, multi-generational wasp nest that ends up filling a quarter of your home. Only then will they suddenly start chewing through the drywall and attacking you for your sugary foods. This is how yellow jacket wasps function. They have a very specific pattern they follow with every year being a full renewal and death of the previous monarchy.
The queen of the hive is one of a few. She was born at the very end of the year and left the hive to mate with sexualized males. These males die once the females have been impregnated. They leave the nest entirely and find a tree to hide in, they crawl under the bark and do not move from there for the whole winter. The nest itself, assuming it is not inside of a heated wall where the nests can grow continuously, simply dies. This is because of a drop in temperature. Wasps can only survive temperatures above ten degrees Celsius so when the temperature plunges and the first frost arrive all waps, not in hibernation will die. The queen all the workers and the sexualized males die. The nest becomes empty and It can be easily removed safely if it’s outside. The queens who are now hibernating will return, most likely to your property because they know it well. They remember how to get food as the previous queen taught them and if your property is rife with insects she can kill and feed to her new larva then your property will keep getting waps every year, and there will always be more than one.
The wasp queens are not the only ones that go through a change. The wasp workers, all sterile females are put to work by the queen to find food for her ever-growing number of the larva. They build openings to place eggs and feed them with the head of a dead hunted insect they stung. They seal the opening and the worker larva hatches, eats the insect head and begins its instar transformation into an adult wasp. This continues until the summer starts to die down in late august. The queen then announces in her way that the larva is done being born and no more workers are needed. She will begin laying eggs for new queens and sexualized males while the workers are left to their desires. This is when wasps start bothering humans for food. They can get highly aggressive if they are not allowed to eat it and will happily sting anyone they see holding it. As wasps are intelligent and can recognize human faces they can tell a child from an adult and will often go after the smaller human who is often the one holding the sweet thing the insect wants.
Killing off a wasp nest can be difficult and dangerous, especially if it on a second or third-story roof or high up in a tree. Some professionals are not even able to remove one at certain heights. This means you may have to buy traps and wait for the nest to die. But what can you do to prevent the new queens? You can buy fake wasp nests and hang them in the same tree or around the same area. Some of them can be traps that are bated with a special hormone that will attract the new queens and kill them with poison but it can be empty as well. The wasp queen is very worried about other wasps destroying her nest and is aggressively territorial. She will most likely go somewhere far away from your property and make a nest there.
Wasp Trap Types
- Hanging traps: there are a variety of hanging traps available in home supply stores and pest control vendors. Each of work on the same principle, which consists of a container filled with an attractive bait. Wasps get inside, and they cannot get out. Some traps are made of hard plastic and they can be reused multiple times. Others are made with disposable bags that can be thrown out.
- Homemade traps: one can make their own trap by cutting a 2L bottle in half, then filling the bottom with bait. In the spring, a mixture of water, dish soap, and bacon fat works well because the pests are looking for protein. In the summer, use sugar water with a splash of vinegar to keep honeybees out. Remove the cap from the top of the bottle, then invert the top and fit it into the bottom. Use tape to secure the trap and place it in areas of wasp activity.
- Decoys: though not a trap, these can be found in the same section one would find traps. Decoys are fake wasp nests made of paper. Simply hang one of these from an overhang, where wasps are active, to deter the pests. It won’t harm them or get rid of nests, but it can scare them off.