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A Guide To Wasps

Posted on April 28th, 2016 by Panther Pest Control Team
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Brace yourselves, warmer days are coming… And so are the buzzing squadrons of wasps. Regardless of how careful you might be, you can’t help but come across an aggressive wasp guard trying to ward you off their colony. You’ll be lucky if you get away with only a short-distance chase and not a painful sting, especially if you’re allergic to their venom.

To help you avoid these unpleasant encounters, the Panther wasp controllers have prepared a guide to wasps and their behaviour.

Wasp close-up

Image Title: wasp
Image Author: Jiří Zůna
Image Source: www.flickr.com
License Type: CC BY 2.0

Before everything else, you should know the difference between wasps and bees. This way you’d know what to do when one of these buzzing hoards starts chasing you.
So, let’s start exploring wasp species.
Among all the species of wasps in the world there are a few which like living in people’s homes and building their colonies there.

Common UK Wasp Species:

<<>> Common wasp (Vespula vulgaris)
<<>> European hornet (Vespa crabro)
<<>> European paper wasp or Dominulus paper wasp (Polistes dominula)
<<>> German wasp (Vespula germanica)
<<>> Red wasps (Polistes carolina)

If you want to learn more about wasps, check our detailed post where we compare queen wasp to a normal wasp

Are Wasps Aggressive?

Wasps

Image Title: Wasp
Image Author: Herman Pijpers
Image Source: www.flickr.com
License Type: CC BY 2.0

There are two types of wasps – social and solitary, but their reaction to people or any other intruders is the same- aggression. Even if it wasn’t your intention to come across them, the buzzing, angry gang will chase you for at least a few yards in an attempt to ward you off. The answer to the question “Why are wasps so angry?” is quite simple. Normally, they don’t look for trouble. They aren’t even aware of your existence unless they see you as a threat to their colony or larvae. In this case, the least you will get away with a sprint when the buzzers “lose their temper”.

When Do Wasps Sting?

Wasp

Image Title: Wasp
Image Author: RyanMcGuire
Image Source: www.pixabay.com
License Type: Public Domain

There is a specific time of year when wasps become more aggressive than usual. During the last months of summer, the normal social structure of wasp nests breaks. Priorities change and instead of raising workers, their aim becomes raising queens, which will hibernate and create new colonies the next year. At this time, the hormone which maintains colony cohesion is no longer produced, resulting in disoriented wasps looking for sweets like a glass of your favourite juice.

Are wasp stings poisonous?

Polistes carolina stinger

Image Title: Polistes carolina stinger
Image Source: www.flickr.com
License Type: Public Domain

Wasps are not deadly venomous like snakes or other creatures. Yet, they do have venom which causes three types of physical reactions in people – normal, localized and anaphylactic.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Wasp Sting?

As we mentioned above, there are several types of reactions to the insect venom.

Normal Reaction:

Normal reactions to stinging are a tiny white dot in the area where the venom entered your body, pain and slight swelling for a short period of time.

Large Local Reaction:

Large local reactions are one level up when it comes to consequences of wasp “bites”. They usually result in redness and swelling, even a few days after the wasp attack.

Anaphylactic Reaction:

Hives

Image Title: EMminor2010/ Uriticaria
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
License Type: CC BY-SA 3.0

As the name suggests, this is a very dangerous outcome of the insect encounter. The symptoms are quite clear.

  • Swelling of the face, lips and throat.
  • Hives and itching around the area where you were stung.
  • Difficulty breathing, wheezing and gasping.
  • Nausea or vomiting, stomach cramps.
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, weak or racing pulse, a sudden drop of the blood pressure and even loss of consciousness.