The Southern Home Bestuary: Living with our critter friends and enimies.

Red wasps in the eaves
August 24, 2009, 7:08 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Red or Paper wasp   Sometimes deadly    Remove from conflict areas

 The red wasp is common throughout the Southeastern U.S. This is a

A nest full of large agressive red wasp inside a shed.

A nest full of large agressive red wasp inside a shed.

paper wasp in that it builds paper nests in dry protected spots such as under the eves of houses and anywhere  they have protection from wind-driven rain. These nests can be huge and may contain more than a hundred individuals, although all start with a single pair of wasps.

 As more nesting cells are added and the larvae hatch new cells are added throughout the growing season until first frosts when the adults are killed and the eggs in the cells are dormant. As they pupate they feed on insects (these may be spiders or caterpillars, depending on the species). Any spell of warm weather during the winter brings on a hatch, and this can kill an entire colony if repeated warmings and chillings cause premature hatching.

 Red wasps are particularly aggressive if their nest are disturbed and with chase and sting anything nearby. This is particularly troublesome for those who are allergic to ant, wasp and bee stings as this causes restrictions of breathing and can result in death. For such individuals, it is vital to have an antivenom kit on hand and rush to the nearest emergency room. The kits have a limited shelf life, so check their expiration dates at least every year. Each year people die from stings.

 A good preventative is to never reach where you cannot see. Nonetheless any person who is actively doing things around a southern farm is likely to be bitten once every few years.

 Canned sprays are available for wasp that may project for several feet. These will kill wasps the colony and cause any remaining survivors to relocate their nest.

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