Wasps Are a Sign of Spiders
Wasps of Hillsboro, Aloha and Beaverton
Wasps in the Pacific Northwest are a consistent problem for both suburban and rural residential homes. Wasps tend to build their nests underneath the roof eaves of a house or garage structure. Wasp nests look like little upside-down umbrellas with holes in them. Wasps feed primarily on spiders believe it or not, so this may be a hint for you that you have a spider problem. Wasps are one of those types of pests that will keep coming back to the same area year after year. When you first notice wasps, you won’t see too many of them, but as the years go by they are like salmon, they keep coming back to the same place. So within 3-7 years of them nesting on the structure of your home they can be extraordinarily aggressive and extremely dangerous.
Wasp prevention is designed to keep them from being able to nest on the structure. There are some chemicals available that we can use to treat the areas where these guys typically build their nests. Mostly they are found underneath the eaves, and in cracks and crevices where caulking and small repairs can help in these cases. We treat these areas with the right chemicals; to break the cycle of them being able to rebuild on your structures.
Wasps have complicated lives. Despite the fact you’ll never find anything called “wasp honey” at the local grocery store, wasps perform a vital service by helping to pollinate the world’s plant life and eliminate various six- and eight-legged pests.
Buying wasp spray may not seem so expensive but it’s really toxic and it can rile these already aggressive insects to attack you as you are trying to spray them and their nests. Additionally the spray’s fine particles are easy to breathe in so if you are using these chemicals please use appropriate masks and eye protection.
Let me give you a little bit of backstory before I was in the pest control business, I was walking through my backyard a long time ago, getting ready to cook a meal on the Traeger Grill, (glory and smokey goodness). Foolishly I was wearing flip-flops, I must have stepped in a yellow jacket hole but I thought I stepped on a nail going right through my foot! That yellow jacket sting was so excruciating, this is long before I came to be an exterminator in Hillsboro, OR. Stinging insects produce very painful stings, both wasps and yellow jackets, imagine a throbbing pain for like six to eight hours. I went to the store that night to get some wasp and hornet spray at Fred Meyer, I hobbled really and bought 2 cans seeking my revenge for my painful foot! I sprayed and emptied both cans in the hole I stepped in and swallowed blowback from both cans. Yuck, knowing what I know now about safety with these chemicals I would have never done that. The bad news was that even after 2 cans, my problem had not gone away and there were more holes to deal with.
“One of he worst things about the end of summer is that wasps, yellowjackets, and hornets are at their most active state and stings from them are more common as they get nervous about the changing seasons. First things first wasp taxonomy is weird, wasps are very closely related to ants bees and sawflies as you may have guessed from their appearance and fastidious nature.”
I love insects, I love nature, but wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are dangerous, to people, pets and even an old war-torn exterminator like me! I really sympathize if someone’s child is stung by the likes of wasps, hornets or yellow jackets, these are terribly painful and dangerous. If you have allergies to any of them make sure you have an epi-pen nearby during the spring, summer and early fall as they are all in full force. I do not liken these flying demons to bees or bumblebees. Bees and Bumblebees are less aggressive than the triad of horror.
Wasps are of the Hymenoptera order and Apocrita suborder, there are a lot of different species of wasp over a hundred thousand in all. Since the group is so large many species exhibit dramatically different behavior, for example, some wasps are everyone’s summer evil warrior are solitary and only ever interact with other wasps when mating vs the yellowjacket, on the other hand, act socially and live in colonies with specific jobs similar to ants and many bees.
Wasp nests are made of wood pulp mixed with wasp saliva and the insides of their nest are often velvety to the touch. Wasps come in a large variety of shapes, sizes, colors and the only thing that the entire group has in common is their thin waist. Wasps have been around annoying people for a really long time 150 million years to be specific however he first wasps to appear that resembled modern wasps were around 60 million years ago as far as interactions with humans go it’s safe to say that they’ve been around ruining barbecues for as long as we’ve been around. Having them, in fact, appear in the earliest literature to wasps and human from the Greek comedy from 422 BC titled the wasp. Their name coming from a chorus of alders featured in the play similar to their much more popular relatives the bees.
Wasps do pollinate they’re just not very good at it compared to bees. Bees are covered in a fuzz so when they land on a flower the pollen easily sticks to their bodies while most wasps bodies are slick and the pollen just doesn’t take hold nearly as well. Wasps primarily eat nectar and as the season winds down and their hunting time grows shorter they grow hungrier, angrier (like those Snickers commercials) and more desperate. In fact, some might say this is why they begin to terrorize us and why they become such little assholes in the late summer and early autumn. They fall prey primarily to small birds and pest control guys like me.
Wasp larvae are the biggest jerks in the animal kingdom many of them are parasitoid meaning that they are deposited and raised in a host body that’s a nice way of saying some wasps lay eggs in their prey. The larvae will eat the host from the inside out CREEPY! Looking around Oregon and the wasps we deal with around Hillsboro, Aloha, Beaverton and Forest Grove, we are actually quite lucky. There are some really scary species of wasps around the world, especially the Tarantula Hawk with the most painful wasp sting in the world. The tarantula hawk though gorgeous wasps have a sting that rates a four out of four on the Schmidt pain index and they are one of only three animals to achieve this rating being second only to the bullet ant. Schmidt describes the sting as blinding fierce and shockingly electric it’s supposed to paralyze your body for five minutes so yeah crazy bite but that’s not the best part they were named tarantula Hawks for a reason they kill tarantulas but not an irregular boring let’s kill this thing for food type of attack. Tarantula Hawks are much more clever they will sting the tarantula to permanently paralyze it so they can lay their eggs inside of it. Born and eating their way out of the body while that body is still alive. Gruesome!
Along with the bullet ant and tarantula hawk, warrior wasps are the only other insects in the world to rate a four on the Schmidt pain index. He described the pain as torture, imagine you’re chained to the flow of an active volcano! Warrior wasps as their name suggests are very aggressive and attack in large groups not only that but when they feel threatened they can beat their wings against their bodies to make a sound similar to that of marching soldiers.
as annoying as wasps can be they play an incredibly valuable role in the ecosystem, wasps are apex predators responsible for keeping arthropod populations in check arthropods including spiders, mites and other insects are the largest phylum in the world. Without wasps to regulate their populations the world would be overrun with a plague of other pests.
As my science background dictates a lot of what I choose to do in my downtime – nonworking time, is that I still like to learn more about different plants, animals, and insects through documentaries. I caught a good one recently “Big World, Small Garden” with beautiful filming, I really liked the name and concept of it even though it is about a Photographer Martin Dorhn in England who has rigged special cameras to capture the hectic and complex world of London — in his backyard!