Wasps have characteristic black and yellow bodies with two pairs of wings and a thin waist. Worker wasps are up to 15 mm (0.59 inch) and the queen is usually 20 mm (0.79 inch) long. Only females have stings which are near the tip of their abdomen.
Common wasps are social wasps building nests in trees, in the ground and in buildings. Each year wasps make their nests anew. Cold winters usually kill off all insects except for queens which set up new colonies in the spring. Old nests are not re-used in the following year. Each colony consists of one queen and a huge number of sterile workers. The queen makes the initial cell which starts a new nest. It is afterwards extended by workers. They use chewed wood fibres mixed with their saliva as building material. A single nest usually houses 3,000 to 5,000 insects and is 30 cm wide. The largest wasp’s nests can contain up to 20,000 insects.
Wasps can be found at any kind of human settlements. The insects use both residential and commercial buildings as a convenient location for their characteristics paper pulp nests. In doing so wasps tend to choose sheltered areas in and on buildings with easy access to the outdoors. Attics, lofts, roof spaces, unused windows, empty water tanks, cisterns, halls, warehouses as well as spaces under gutters, downpipes, window boxes, window sills, balconies, eaves and porches or other ledges and hollows of buildings. Loose tiles, leaky roofs, wall opening, broken windows, damaged lids or holey casings. All above give wasps an easy access to places where they can set up their colonies.
Wasps and their hanging nests can be easily spotted. Even a cursory inspection of locations where wasps usually build their nests can reveal the insects. Wasps are highly active during the day, so their swarms are well visible and audible around the places where their nests are located.
Although wasps do not spread any diseases, they are regarded as a nuisance pest and threat to health. Wasps can easily get aggressive and attack people if attracted by sweets or fruit. Particularly in the summer, they are a huge problem in premises where food is processed or sold. This includes kitchens, bakeries, cake shops, cafes, snack bars, restaurants, pubs and groceries. Though not normally aggressive female wasps can cause painful and even life-threatening stings while defending their nests or going for food. If there is a mass attack of wasps, their stings may directly lead to faintness, breathing difficulties, vomiting, diarrhoea and rushes. In particular, children who easily get into a panic are victims of aggressive wasps. In extreme cases, even a single sting can cause an allergic shock which poses a mortal danger to the person attacked. Faintness, respiratory problems, itching rash, face swelling, vomiting, cramp, diarrhoea and abdominal pains are the most common symptoms of an allergic shock. If any of these symptoms appears, medical asstistance should be immediately called in. Normally, it is sufficient to treat stings with a cold compress and antiseptic creams.
Cleanliness and hygiene
In nature adult wasps feed on nectar and sweet fruit. That is why they are strongly attracted to all kind of food waste containing sugar. Keeping living and working areas clean, regularly removing food residues and organic waste as well as keeping food in closed containers are fundamental to prevent wasp infestation. Since wasps use sheltered areas in buildings to construct their nests, it is essential to have buildings properly and regularly maintained. All gaps, holes, openings or defects that can be used by wasps to get inside a building or build a nest should be sealed up or removed.
Professional pest control service
There are a lot of products against wasps available in shops, but it could be difficult and even dangerous to control wasp pest as the nests are located in hard-to-reach places and the insects get easily aggressive if disturbed. To avoid an unnecessary risk of being stung or hurt, it is advisable to employ a professional pest control service for a treatment of wasp pest.
Wasps live everywhere except Antarctica.
Wasp can sting over and over again.
Wasps make nests from paper. They chew up strips of bark and spit it out again to form a rough paper. Some wasps make nests in basements, sheds or dark, cool places.
A queen starts a new colony each spring. She raises a few worker wasps first to make the nest larger and bring food. Then she starts laying eggs. A colony can grow to 50,000 wasps in one summer.
In the fall, all the wasps die except for a few new queens. The new queens spend the winter in an old log or burrow. In the spring, they make new colonies.