A wasp is considered any insect in the Hymenoptera order under the sub order of Apocrita which can neither be defined as a bee or as an ant. These are common summertime insects that have a proclivity for stinging threats to their colonies. In the United States there are 4,000 wasp species which exist as other insects without inhabiting human dwellings. However, there are three types of wasps that are considered pest. These are the
- Yellow jackets
- Paper wasps
Although wasps are close cousins to bees the two don’t belong to the same subgroup. Unlike bees they are predators that eat other insects. Also some wasps like to build their nests near human dwellings so that they can benefit from human activities like growing crops and structures with wood as the primary construction material. Such wasps chew up wood and use the chewed material to make their nests.
As described above these wasps will chew the wood on human structures and build paper nests from the material after chewing. Adult paper wasps grow to be around 20 mm in length and they have reddish to deep brown color with some species having yellow markings on them. They are also called vespid wasps and they have longer legs that seem to hand off their body in flight.
Although these wasps are known for their sting they can also be a welcome presence especially if you have a garden or patch with flowers and vegetables. They will eat the insects that may be destroying your crop and maintain the balance of nature.
Yellow jackets are yellow and black but unlike the yellow and black paper wasps they are stockier with shorter legs. These wasps are predominant in North America and they tend to have a love for roaming the wild and will only approach human settlements when looking for food. If you have left food opened outdoors they will probably find their way to it.
Yellow jackets prefer to make their nests lower to the ground compared to other species that love to hide in the heights of the trees. Their natural habitat is the edge of the woods or forest and they typically east nectar and insects as well. They will pre-chew the insects to make it easier for their larvae to feed on it. Female yellow hornets are the most aggressive of the species and they also tend to be very territorial. They can sting repeatedly because their stinger doesn’t come off like bees.
Hornets are the largest wasps but not the most aggressive of the wasp species. They can be mistaken for their close cousins the yellow jackets who by the way are the most aggressive members of the species. Hornets do have the most painful sting though and when dealing with a species like the Japanese hornets one is likely in far greater danger of experiencing multiple stings. Some species are more aggressive than others like the Japanese hornets and these have been know even attack bee populations and kill off the bees.