Wasps are special insects that play a crucial role in ecological balance. These insects are pollinators and act as great controllers of other insects like caterpillars who are a threat to food security. However, these organisms can be serious nuisances to Maine residents, especially during late summer when the yellowjacket wasps aggressively search for food.
Tips and facts about wasps
There are about 4,000 identified species of wasps in the US. However, the common species you should expect to see in Maine include; yellow jackets, hornets, and paper wasps.
Generally, wasps sting as a means of self-defense; when they feel threatened or when attacked. Unlike bees, wasps do not leave their stinger embedded. They can take it out and sting over and over, making them more dangerous. Also, when they’re attacked, wasps produce pheromones that act as a distress call to signal the others to attack.
Yellowjackets are responsible for most wasp stings. Their stinger contains venom, which can cause significant pain and swelling. To some people, the sting can cause severe allergic reactions and even death.
According to research, stings cause death to about 40 allergic individuals every year in the United States. It is, therefore, vital to practice caution and gets rid of wasps when they become problematic or build nests near your home.
What causes them to stick around?
During spring, the queens re-emerge and seek new nesting grounds. Once they find suitable grounds, they lay eggs, which hatch to worker wasps. These workers help to build the colony as the queen continues to reproduce. By summertime, the eggs would have hatched, and the population of wasps is usually high, that’s the reason you see so many wasps during summer.
Wasps like building their nests in inaccessible areas away from predators, and that is why overhanging roofs, eaves, and chimneys are their preferred location. They also like nesting in such places due to the availability of food and building material.
Most wasps feed on protein-based foods. You will mostly notice them in the garbage or trash scavenging for leftovers. Once they find their preferred food, they usually come back for more.
What to do if you find wasps swarming your yard
1. Maintain proper sanitation outdoors
Wasps, especially the yellowjackets and hornets are attracted to food sources. Therefore, one sure way to get rid of these pests is to keep your yard clean and free from any food substances. You can do this by;
- Keeping trash cans sealed with tight lids
- Avoid eating outdoors, but if you do, clean up immediately when you’re done
- Wash dumpsters regularly to remove food leftovers
- Dispose of food waste and other trash properly
- Empty your trash from time to time
It’s essential to make sure these pests do not access food or leftovers in your yard. This is because once they identify a source of food; they will imprint it and return to the same spot to carry out future searches. This means you have to deal with a big problem later.
2. Seal off entry points
Wasps love to build nests inside crevices, roof spaces, wall voids, ceilings, or even chimneys. To prevent them from nesting in your house, seal off all openings that lead to the roof, basement, and attics. But before sealing these entry points, inspect for active nests and destroy the colony first.
3. Use yellowjacket traps
If you notice active yellowjackets in your yard, yellowjacket traps can be a good remedy. While these traps are not effective in treating an entire colony, they can help you kill a few dozen wasps.
It’s recommended to use these traps in early spring when queens come out from hibernation. For best results, you need to place them near their nests or where the pests are troublesome, but away from children’s reach.
Once the traps are full of wasps, you should place them in a freezer to kill the trapped wasps and empty them. You should also clean the traps with soapy water and place new bait.
4. Identify their nests
Scavenging yellowjackets are a nuisance and can be hard to control. To effectively deal with them, you’ll need to locate and destroy all their nests. Nests are mainly found in hollow fencing, in the ground, under heaves, wall voids, in hollow trees and branches, among other places.
The best way to locate nests is to check where the wasps enter and exit. For wasps that build nests in the ground, you should notice bare earth around their entrance.
5. Remove or treat nests
If you notice wasps nests around your yard or if the wasp nesting and infestation cause you persistent problems, then you need to treat or remove them.
The best way to go about it is to hire a professional to avoid the risks of stings. Also, professionals can easily vacuum nest found in areas, such as indoors, where pesticides should not be used.
There are different procedures used to treat wasps’ nests, depending on where the nest is built. Some of these include;
These are best treated at night when the whole colony is inside the nest. Always apply foaming products using a long spray that can get into the nest. Spray inside the nest and around the entrance.
First, mark the main entrance to the nests as well as all other entrances. Ideally, you should do this during the day. Spraying should then come at night. Start by killing the guard wasps and then gust the powder formulation into the nest. Finally, stuff the entrances with papers and then cover with moist soil. Repeat this in all the entrances.
Nests in wall voids
Apply the same procedure you use when eliminating wasps in ground nests.
While wasps are vital to the ecosystem, they can be dangerous if they build their nests close to your home. In such cases, they can be a nuisance, to say the least! If wasps have become a problem in your property in Maine, call our experts at Ants Plus Pest Control for help. We implement safe wasps control methods to get rid of wasps from your property while protecting the environment.