Maryland Homeowners Year-Round Guide To Stinging Insects


Stinging Insects   
wasps starting a nest

Stinging insects are a menace. According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, an estimated 10.1 million people visited Emergency Departments for sting injuries and non-canine bites between 2001 and 2010. Insects accounted for 67.5 percent of the injuries. One reason for this high statistic is that many people are allergic to the venom of wasps and hornets, which results in hospitalization. It is never good when wasps or hornets decide to establish a nest in your yard. Here are a few tips to consider for year-round protection from stinging insects.

Stinging Insects and the End of Fall

Most wasps and hornets die when temperatures drop. Only newly hatched queens make it through the winter. During the fall, those newly hatched queens look for a place to hide. If a queen has hidden in a gap, crack or crevice of your home, she is likely to emerge in the spring and to create a nest near your home.

Spring Prevention

When queens come out of hiding, they begin to look for ideal locations to establish their nests. Knowing where and why they create nests can help you prevent a new nest from being completely formed.

  • Trees and shrubs. Wasps that create aerial nests are likely to create nests on tree branches or in shrubs. These can be difficult to detect if there are lots of leaves to hide the nest.
  • Heart rot. Wasps that create nests in voids will be drawn to the heart rot of trees, especially if a cavity has formed.
    Overhangs, ceilings, and rafters. Wasps that create aerial nests will create nests on man-made structures. These can be found in protected locations that are high, such as the overhang on a home, garage, shed, or barn. They'll also create them in the upper corners of porches and on deck coverings. When you see an aerial nest forming, wait till there is no wasp activity on it and remove the nest with a broom.
  • Ground holes. Wasps that create nests in voids, like yellow jackets, are likely to take advantage of a hole made by a ground-dwelling animal like a gopher, ground squirrel, mole or Norway rat. These pests need to be dealt with to prevent ongoing hole creation. If you have holes in your yard that were not created by a wildlife pest, you can simply fill them in to prevent nest creation.
  • Entry Points. All wasps can take advantage of entry points into your home but those that create nests in voids are more likely to do so. Seal all gaps, cracks, and holes to prevent stinging insects from getting in.

Why is it important to prevent nests from forming in your yard or home? All wasps, even bad-tempered yellow jackets, are less likely to sting when they are away from their nests. When wasps visit your property, you don't have to worry as long as you move away from them without swinging your arms quickly. They perceive fast movement as a threat. That's what it's all about, really. It's about what stinging insects consider to be a threat. Protecting their nests puts them on high alert. It doesn't matter how smoothly and nonthreateningly you try to walk away from a nest, they're going to sting you. A lot. So, it is better to not have nests in your yard.

Summer Sting Prevention

During the summer months, stinging insects grow their populations. Keep an eye out for wasp or hornet activity around your home and in your yard. If you see wasps going in and out of a hole in the ground or a hole in your home, call a licensed professional to take a look and to remove the nest.

Fall Wasp and Hornet Prevention

Before temperatures drop, it is a good time seal entry points in your exterior walls and foundation. This will prevent overwintering queens from getting in. Also, take the time to do an inspection of your window and door screens. If you have any damaged screens, get them repaired. Wasps have a habit of getting in through windows in the fall.

Year-Round Wasp and Hornet Prevention

At American Pest, we provide protection from stinging insects as a part of our Preferred Care residential pest control plans. If you live in Maryland, DC, or Northern Virginia, connect with us. We'd love the opportunity to talk to you about all of the many benefits that come with having a high-quality pest control plan, not the least of which is nest detection. 

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