Polistes Carolina, or the red wasp, is one of two types of red paper wasp. The Red Wasp is native to the United States, most prevalent in the Eastern and Mideastern regions of the country. Their common name is because of their reddish-brown coloring, and they have dark-colored wings, a brown stripe on their abdomen, and very restricted yellow markings. They are about an inch in length, with females having more triangular faces and shorter antennae.
They’re known to construct some of the largest nests of any wasp species, their umbrella-shaped honeycombed- looking nests hanging from branches, trees, and other such structures and they often prefer protected spaces so you may find them around your home.
These wasps create their papery nests from chewing and regurgitating harvested wood and plant fibers. They don’t actually eat these wood and plant fibers – their diet consists of flies, spiders, caterpillars, bees, and other wasps. They also eat nectar from flowers and plants, and are actually fond of sweet foods so you may find them hanging around discarded human food as well.
The Red Wasp is a social wasp and will attack to defend, though they are considered to be a nuisance pest and not dangerous unless you’re allergic to stings – regardless, their stings are painful (may be a sharp, burning sensation for you), so it’s best you stay clear of them altogether. An interesting sting about Red Wasps is that they release pheromones to alert other wasps in the area of danger, and they can quickly swarm you – so if you’ll attempt to get rid of their nest by yourself, be very careful! Or better yet, get in touch with a professional pest control company to do it safely for you.
They are most active during the day, so it’s best to attempt to remove the wasp nest during dusk and nighttime hours, and they are more lethargic in cooler temperatures.
If you get stung by a wasp and you have an allergic reaction, some of these symptoms may be: hives, itching, flushed or pale skin, swelling of throat and tongue, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you experience these, seek medical attention immediately. More extreme symptoms may be a weak, rapid pulse and loss of consciousness. While these extreme symptoms are rare, they can be fatal.
The young and the elderly may be especially susceptible to the effects of a Red Wasp’s sting, as they do inject venom into their victims when stinging. The more stings a person gets, the more their risks of such shock increases. If you’re not exhibiting an allergic reaction, relieve the pain using cold compresses and take painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. If you experience localized swelling from the sting, take an antihistamine to reduce it.
Open or hollow spaces on the outside of your house may attract wasps seeking to build their nests, and open waste bins, garbage receptacles, and compost serve as food sources for them so make sure you keep those covered properly. If you have a Red Wasp infestation, be safe and have them professionally removed.