Although important in some instances – such as farming where they control the population of other harmful pest insects – wasps are very dangerous when they show up at your home.
Wasps are dangerous because they sting. And unlike bees that only sting once, wasps can sting repeatedly. To some people, this sting could be lethal causing serious symptoms that could be fatal.
Different wasp species come in different colours and sizes. There are a few features however that are common to all species: A pinched waist, the petiole, which joins the first and second segments of the wasp’s body; and a pointed lower abdomen.
All wasps fall into one of two groups depending on their social behaviour: solitary wasps and social wasps. Solitary wasps don’t form colonies and generally live alone. Social wasps, on the other hand, form large colonies that could number to thousands. It is this large number of stinging insects that cause alarm when social wasps construct their nest in or around your home.
The wasp’s lifecycle
After mating, the female wasp stores the sperm inside her body and controls the sperms’ release for each individual egg as she lays it. This means that the female wasp has complete control of its offspring’s sex. The fertilized eggs hatch into females while the unfertilized eggs hatch into males also known as drones.
A colony is usually started by one female wasp; the queen.
Once she identifies a suitable spot, she will construct a rudimentary nest roughly the size of a walnut using saliva and chewed wood. It is here that she will lay her first eggs. These eggs will hatch into larvae which the queen will feed with dead insects.
The feeding relationship between the queen and her larvae is quite interesting. The queen feeds the larvae, and then the larvae feed her in return.
How, you ask? Well, once the larvae feed on the dead insects that the queen provides, they excrete a sweet substance as waste that the queen feeds on.
When mature enough, the larvae will transition into the pupal stage also known as the ‘resting stage’. After they have fully developed, they will emerge as adults. Females produced from the first batch of eggs will take over nest construction duties and caring for the queen’s larvae.
Queens live for about twelve months while ordinary females live for about 30 days.
If wasps are persistently getting into your house, then it most likely means that there is a wasp nest near your home.
Follow the flight path of returning insects to identify the location of their nests. Once you identify the location of the wasp nest, then you can take action.