Growing up, one of the elderly ladies in our church was known for proudly declaring that she always ate her dessert first. She believed that while food that was good for us was necessary, taking pleasure in eating sweets was just as important – especially as she approached the end of her life.
Certain insects have had the same revelation.
If you’ve ever been bothered by yellowjackets and other wasps outside at a Labor Day picnic or Halloween gathering, you’ve seen evidence of this. While wasps will occasionally trouble humans eating all year round, they get more aggressive in the Autumn – even if it doesn’t feel like Autumn to us!
Wasps are normally carrion eaters. They love meat, especially other insects. But as we look at pictures of changing leaves from our neighbors to the north, Vespidae start approaching the end of their lives.
Even in Florida, wasps hibernate in the winter, except for a few males and their queens. When the royal ladies emerge in the spring time, they begin laying dozens of eggs in little acorn-sized nests. You’ve probably seen them tucked up under your eaves or doorframes.
Around May, the first hatched wasps have fully matured and take over for the queen. Spurred by her unique pheromones, they feed larvae and build up nests of 4-10-thousand wasps – or more.
But sometime between late August and early October, the queen stops laying eggs. She also stops emitting the pheromones that drive the workers wasps. It’s kind of like a forced retirement.
Just like many retirees, these released wasps have a lot of free time and a hunger for something sweet. For the wasps, it’s almost uncontrollable.
This is why they start checking out our backyards, picnic baskets, and trash dumpsters – anywhere they might find something sweet to munch on. Part of this is because wasps, unlike bees, have never developed a way to collect and store food. Maybe if bees were without honeycombs, they’d be pestering us too.
We would be remiss if we didn’t also point out that as painful as a potential wasp sting is, waving them away can sometimes cause more of a problem. The worker wasps are equipped with their own pheromone – one they release when under attack.
If you’re assertively swatting at a couple of wasps, they’re sending a message back to the nest for reinforcements. And the ones on their way are even more aggressive. So be careful.
And don’t be careless if you decide to remove the small mud wasp nests you see around your house. Feel free to swat down and crush them – just be alert for wasps flying nearby.
If the wasps nests have grown larger or there is a large grouping together, it’s best to call the experts. Here at Good News Pest Solutions, we have plenty of experience handling wasps. We can relocate nests, or remove and destroy them if necessary.
It’s all part of our most popular service – Go Green Perimeter Plus. We’ll take care of all the creepy crawlies around your home throughout the year. And we use solutions safe for the whole family. For more details, or to schedule your first appointment, just give us a call!
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