Wasps & Bees
Paper wasps, boldfaced hornets, and yellowjackets are the most common types we encounter. Wasps have a slender body, a narrow waist, and are smooth-skinned and shiny. (Bees have heavier bodies, and black legs, and are very hairy compared with wasps.)
In early spring, a hibernating queen emerges from a crack, crevice, or tree bark to look for a new nesting site. There she builds the first few paper cells of the nest and lays a single egg in each cell. Future workers assume colony duties such as building and feeding. By late fall the colony reaches 1,000 to 30,000 individuals. As the weather turns colder, the nest is abandoned. The queen looks for a new hibernation site, but the workers all die. In late fall, after the nest has been abandoned, it can be removed and disposed of with minimal risk.
Wasps can be very aggressive, especially in warm weather. They may cause severe pain and swelling from their sting. Whereas bees can only sting once, the wasp can sting a number of times. Wasps are attracted to moving objects, therefore do not swat at them. The wasp likes to get inside soda cans and bottles outdoors, which is a good reason to never drink directly from a can or bottle outdoors. Use a straw or cup.
The best defense is to avoid nesting places, as wasps vigorously defend their colonies. The yellowjacket frequently nests in voids in walls and roofs of houses. A colony is begun each spring by reproductive female and can reach populations of up to 15,000 individual wasps.
The wasps build their nests of paper consisting of fibers scraped from wood and mixed with saliva. The nest has multiple cells enclosed by a paper jacket that usually contains a single entrance hole.
As mentioned, wasps become extremely aggressive when their nests are disturbed. It is best to call a professional to rid your property of their nests during the warm weather when the wasps are active.