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Tips to Keep Wasps Away

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Wasps can be effective at controlling other pest insects, but they can also become nuisance pests themselves when sizable colonies develop.

Unlike bees, which feed on nectar and pollen, and generally establish themselves away from residential areas, wasps feed on other insects, and they often colonize spaces around homes and other man-made structures. This brings wasps in close contact with humans; according to the Colorado State University Extension, most insect stings in Colorado are the result of wasps, particularly European paper wasps and yellow jackets.

Colorado Wasps

There are various species of wasps along the Front Range and across Colorado, but the most widespread are paper wasps and yellow jackets.

Paper wasps earned their name because their nests are paper-like structures built from wood fibers, cardboard, plant stems or other types of pulp mixed with their saliva. Paper wasps are highly social insects, and if left unchecked, they may produce colonies that contain hundreds of individual wasps.

Yellow jackets, which are often mistaken for honey bees because of their yellow stripes, typically nest underground in existing, hollowed-out spaces. They occasionally establish colonies in building crawlspaces or in gaps between walls.

Controlling Wasps

If the presence of wasps does not pose a threat, the safest solution is to wait until the wasps abandon their nest (typically in the fall), then remove the nest or break it apart.

Reducing potential nest sites before wasps begin to establish colonies, which generally occurs in the spring, is also a good idea. Seal cracks and other openings on home exteriors where wasps may nest; pay special attention to areas where untreated wood may be exposed. Inspect and clean other suitable nesting sites, such as outdoor children’s play equipment.

Insecticides are often effective on active nests. If you use a commercially available insecticide, it’s important to read the instructions thoroughly, as many contain chemicals that can be harmful to people and pets if not used as directed.

Controlling Yellow jackets

Yellow jackets, which may travel far from their nests in pursuit of food, are more difficult to manage.

Yellow jackets are scavengers, and they may regularly return to food and water sources upward of 1,000 yards from their colonies. One of the most effective means of controlling yellow jackets is to seal garbage and other potential sources of food forage.

While yellow jacket nests are usually more inconspicuous than social wasp nests, and thus more challenging to eliminate, there are commercially available baits and traps that have demonstrated effectiveness at luring and killing yellow jackets. These products, according to CSU Extension, are most useful between late spring and early summer, when yellow jacket colonies are being established.

If there is a large wasp or yellow jacket colony on your property that you think constitutes a danger to your family, pets, or neighbors, don’t try to handle it yourself. A swarm of these insects can be deadly and they need to be handled properly to avoid serious injury.

Do you need help dealing with wasps or other pests in your home or business? Please contact Animal & Pest Control Specialist, Inc. online or call us at 303-987-0842. Our pest control experts are proud to serve customers from the Denver metro area, Fort Collins and along Colorado’s Front Range.


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