We still have some warm days left in the season, but as you’re looking to get in quality time outdoors, you may be unaware of a potential danger lurking in the backyard.
Fall is primetime for stinging pests, and as they get more active, any nests around your property could set you up for some painful encounters. If you let them thrive, you may not be able to get in those last-minute barbecues or backyard bonfires before winter.
That’s why effective wasp control measures are so essential through the summer. By taking the right steps to manage and prevent wasp nests, you’ll be able to get the most out of your backyards and patios this season.
Keep reading to learn more.
How to Handle a Wasp Nest
Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware have several common stinging pests that homeowners should be aware of in the summer months. Many of them are harmless, such as carpenter bees and honey bees. These pollinating species share spaces with people without issue, and keeping them safe is essential for helping the environment.
On the other side of the coin are wasps and hornets, a central focus of many pest management projects.
Wasps are easily agitated and dangerous. If you find a nest, it’s critical to approach them with extreme caution or avoid them altogether. They get more aggressive toward the end of the summer, and a bad interaction can leave you sick and in serious pain.
Where Do Wasps Build Nests?
The most prevalent wasps in our area include yellow jackets, paper wasps, and cicada killers.
Wasps generally build their nests in trees, overhangs, sheds, garages, and other sheltered areas. In rare cases, they may even find a way to build a nest in your house. If you find wasps on your property, you can often observe their flight patterns to locate their nests.
These general hiding places apply to paper wasps, who build their nests in protected spots that are convenient to food sources. It’s not uncommon to find a nest emerging near a door, in a window, under an eave, or even under a picnic table.
It’s not difficult to identify a paper wasp nest, a football-shaped structure descending from a single stem. As it’s built, the nest takes an upside-down umbrella shape with exposed hexagonal cells. It slowly grows as wasps add more and more layers until a paper-like ball is formed.
Certain yellow jacket varieties inhabit the ground, using rodent holes and other openings to build nests. You can identify where yellow jackets are hidden by piles of dirt around the opening, which build up as the colony expands the size of the burrow.
Other yellow jacket nests are commonly found in hollow logs, sidewalk cracks, brick structures, and under porches. Some less aggressive yellow jacket varieties build aerial nests. They look similar to paper wasp nests, often appearing in trees or overhangs.
It’s critical to distinguish yellow jackets from honey bees, which are a protected species. Yellow jackets have narrower bodies and lack the hair of a honey bee. If you are unsure of what you’re dealing with, contact a wasp control company for help before trying to remove them.
Cicada killers are larger wasps that have a dark, brownish-red head and abdomen and yellow antennae. Like yellow jackets, cicada killers live underground, building their nests in vegetation-free soil, often around gardens, flower beds, and the edges of wooded areas and roads.
Do I Always Need to Remove a Nest?
You don’t have to remove a wasp nest in every situation. On the contrary, leaving wasps nests alone if they’re out of the way can help the ecosystem and your backyard.
Many wasp varieties in the Pennsylvania-New Jersey area act as pollinators, helping vegetation to thrive. During the summer months, these same pollinators act as a natural insect infestation control, as their protein-rich diet has them munching on various bugs throughout the yard.
As helpful as wasps can be, we know all too well that if they’re in the wrong place, they can be provoked into attacking. And as the summer transitions to fall, their diets transition to more sugary food sources, leading them to fruit, nectar, and unfortunately, our trash cans. At a certain point, you may need to look into removing the nest.
How Do I Remove a Wasp Nest?
If you need to remove a wasp nest, the best idea is to contact a home pest control company. Pest management professionals have the equipment and experience to safely remove nests, and it’s highly recommended to avoid a DIY removal if you’re dealing with a mature and active colony.
If you do plan to remove the nest yourself, there are several crucial steps to take to ensure the safest possible approach.
Remove the nest at night when the wasps are less active. Wear protective clothing that covers your extremities and face to avoid getting stung.
Before attempting to remove the nest, spray it from a distance with a wasp killer. When there is no longer any activity, you can take down the nest. This may take a day or two, enough time for the whole colony to come into contact with the wasp killer.
Do not attempt to burn, flood, or swat the nest to remove it.
When the wasps are gone, use a plastic bag to cover the nest and take it down. Place it in a sealed garbage bin.
If you have yellow jackets holed up in a wall cavity, do not attempt to fill it. This can make them spread through the structure and cause more damage. Instead, contact a pest control technician to evaluate and remove the nest.
How Do I Prevent Wasp Nests?
The best way to avoid the need to get rid of a wasp nest is by keeping them from forming. Try the following techniques to keep wasps from setting up on your property:
- Place fake wasp nests around your home’s perimeter
- Seal any cracks in walls and potential entrances for nests
- Use wasp traps around your yard
- Remove dead wood and other nesting sites and materials
- Fill in rodent holes and nesting sites in the soil
- Remove food sources by sealing garbage bins and keeping a clean yard
Get your property ready in the spring before the wasps have a chance to establish their colonies. By taking early action, it’s much easier to manage any potential insect infestation.
Call Your Local Wasp Control Professional
Wasps and other stinging insects can be hard to identify and even harder to control. That’s why it’s critical to contact your local pest control technician early on for information on effective pest management. They can be a valuable resource in ensuring a safe and satisfying summer.
If you live in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Delaware, our team at Pointe Pest Control is ready to supply the expertise you need for all your wasp control needs. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our award-winning service.