Paper wasp is very common in Missouri and South Florida as well as other parts. The name comes from the paper looking material that the wasps use to create nests that are umbrella shaped.
The paper wasps measure about ½ and inch to an inch in length when they are adults. They have a brown or black color with yellowing markings. They have wings and the wings are grayish. The wasps’ bodies are narrow and have pinched waists and legs hand distinctively under the body when they take flight.
Every spring marks the start of the life cycle of a paper wasp. The overwintering females get fertilized during this season and they emerge to start building nests. They lay eggs in groups and the larvae hatch and then develop to female workers who help cater to the single queen in the nest. The workers are also responsible for caring for eggs and larvae, increasing the colony size and looking for food.
When summer is almost over, the queen wasp starts producing new queens and males. Unfortunately for the males, mating marks the end of their lives, but the new fertilized queens will then overwinter behind tree barks till spring when they emerge to start the reproduction cycle all over again.
Habits and risks
As far as the environment goes, paper wasps can be very beneficial insects because they help pollinate plants and crops as they feed on pollen and nectar. They also eat a good number of small insects to develop into larvae inside their colonies and this means reducing insect nuisance for you.
These insects chew wood and mix with saliva to crate the paper like material for their nests. The nests are tan and have individually crafted honeycomb cells placed neatly next to one another. The nests are never near the ground and will instead hang on porches, trees, decks, door frames and roof soffits or even or shrubs.
Even though the paper wasp is not an aggressive insect, it has a stinger and can sting when offended as defense of the colony. The stings are venomous and can lead to allergic reactions that are severe in some people often times requiring medical attention to avoid serious consequences.
Prevention and control
Paper wasp is free to choose property to nest on and unfortunately yours can be one of them. To minimize the chances of nest building on your home or property, keep tree barks trimmed and trim any shrubs from house exterior. If you have openings such as chimneys, then consider tight fitting caps and also fix any loose roof shingles and holes on roof lines. Your window and door screens should be remain intact to keep the wasps out and hinder nesting attempts.
Considering that paper wasps will be protective of their nests and colonies, always let trained pest professionals handle invasions on your property. The pest experts are trained and experienced and will manage to remove the wasps safely from your property. Cavity treatment and nest entrance dusting are some of the techniques that can be used by the pest professionals.