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Waging War on Wasps

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Wasps can put a sting into summer and fall…. and that can mean major problems if you have wasp & bee allergies!

So how are they different from bees? And what can you do to combat wasps? Is there any hope?

We’ve compiled a handy list of tips and tricks to teach you about wasps (and how to deal).

What IS the difference, anyway?!?!?

 

Obvious even at a quick glance, bees have robust, hairy bodies with flat rear legs, while wasps’ bodies are slender with a narrow waist connecting the thorax and abdomen. The main reason for these differences are due to variation in feeding habits: Bees are pollinators, spending much of their lives visiting various plants and flowers to gather and distribute pollen. They also feed nectar and pollen to their developing young. Their hairy bodies and flat legs are ideal for holding on to the pollen as they carry it from one area to another. Wasps, on the other hand, are predators. Though they may occasionally feed on nectar or pollen, they most often feed insects, arthropods, flies and even caterpillars to their young. Their bodies are sleeker and more streamlined for hunting.

BONUS: The Smithsonian has a concise video demonstrating the BIGGEST difference between wasps and bees. You can watch it below!

“Wascally Wasps!”

So what is the buzz, anyway? Here are some quickfire tips & tricks to keep you safe and informed while dealing with wasps:

 

  • Syrupy soft drinks can work as a bait for wasps… the sweeter, the better! (This is also why you should never leave a soft drink can unattended while you’re at a picnic… wasps will sometimes enter the can to get at that sugary goodness, and you may end up with a mouthful — of pain!!!)

 

  • Commercial traps and homemade/DIY traps work to stop wasps from sharing your picnic. But they don’t kill the colony.

 

  • Products made to look like wasp nests will deter wasps, but they’re only effective if they’re placed before spring, when young queens are looking to establish their own nest.

 

  • You don’t necessarily have to take down the nest to get rid of your problem. Once a nest is abandoned, it’s abandoned for good. So theoretically, you could play the “long con” and wait for them to relocate (wasps build a new nest each year).

 

  • The best time to tackle a nest (if you’re really itching to do it yourself) is at night, when it’s very dark. Wasps don’t normally go out at night because they can’t see.

 

  • Don’t burn them out. Fire does kill wasps AND their nests… but it can also burn your home, too!

 

  • If the nest isn’t bugging you (or if you have allergies), leave it alone. Call a professional to handle the issue. Wasps can be very aggressive, and you’ll save yourself from a lot of headache (an most likely, a few stings, too!)

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So what do you think? Did you learn something new? Have more questions about wasps or other stinging insects? Drop us a line and let us know!

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