There always seems to be an abundance of pesky bugs and insects around, especially in the summer months. Just when you think you have seen them all, a new breed comes along and you have to learn how to deal with them.
There are some insects that just will not go away, and wasps are one group that appears to be here forever.
While this is a sad fact, do you already know everything about these annoying flying insects so you can protect yourself, family members, and friends if you spot a wasp’s nest under your deck?
What Exactly Are Wasps?
While wasps are related to ants and bees, the most popular types are hornets and yellowjackets. Wasps that fall into these categories immediately send up warning signs that they may be dangerous and might be biters.
These annoying pests have been traced back to more than 200 million years ago so don’t look for their extinction in our lifetime.
Do Wasps Have a Specific Purpose?
So, what do wasps do to warrant their existence in nature? They actually are important to farmers because they kill off insects, such as weevils, lawn grubs, and some types of caterpillars. They go after these insects in order to feed themselves and their young but eliminating them saves grass and crops that would otherwise be destroyed.
Besides their pest control duties, wasps play a big part in pollination as they are able to relocate pollen when they drink in the nectar of certain plants.
One specific type of wasps is responsible for the pollination of figs. They are actually referred to as fig wasps and are able to ensure the growth of hundreds of different kinds of fig plants.
So, while their value ecologically is acknowledged and respected, make no doubt that wasps are also a danger to humans. They seem to gravitate towards people and even build their nests under their wooden decks or around the perimeter of their homes.
Besides the insects they consume, wasps are basically lovers of sugar. This explains their annoying presence at most picnics, outside fairs, and just about any place they can feed their addiction to sweets.
Are Wasps a Danger to Humans?
While gnats, bees, and mosquitos are annoying, and can even bite you if provoked, wasps are more aggressive. They also like to travel in groups so you could possibly face a swarm of wasps if you pose a threat to them.
When you get stung by a wasp you will be injected with their venom, which is not deadly but it is irritating and usually painful. If you are allergic to bees you may be allergic to wasps as well and that presents a whole new set of circumstances.
What Do You Do if You Are Bitten by a Wasp?
If you are not allergic to wasps you will experience burning and/or a sharp pain in the area where you were bitten. The area around the bite will most likely swell up, it will be itchy, and it will be bright red for a short time. These symptoms usually do not last very long, they are just uncomfortable for a short time.
To treat a wasp bite you should clean the area well with warm water and a mild soap. Don’t scrub it but go over it well so you are able to remove any venom that may be on the site. If the bite is swollen you can apply an ice pack to the area to reduce it.
If the pain persists, an over-the-counter antihistamine should give you relief. There are also products that can cut down on the itchiness if you are suffering from that.
What Should You Do if You Are Allergic to a Wasp Bite?
If you are already allergic to bees or other types of insects you may already know what to do. If you have trouble breathing after the bite you are having an allergic reaction and may need to seek medical attention.
In addition to breathing difficulties, watch for the following symptoms:
- Trouble swallowing
- If you begin to wheeze while breathing
- Keep an eye on the site to see if it is spreading
- You may become agitated and you find your pulse racing
- If your blood pressure drops you will begin to feel dizzy
- Seek immediate help if your tongue, throat or mouth begin to swell up
If you have suffered from an anaphylactic reaction due to allergies, or other breathing issues you should use the injectible pen you carry with you to get immediate relief and ease your breathing problems.
What Should You Do if You Notice a Wasp’s Nest Under Your Deck?
Now that you know everything about wasps, the main thing you need to know is how to handle them if they show up at your home, especially under your deck. You may wonder why you always find them under your deck and the answer is the wood protects them while making it easier for them to put their nests together.
Here are 6 things you should do when you have spotted a wasps nest:
- Check all areas of your home to see if you find any other nests. Check wooden porches or overhang areas around the exterior of your home.
- Make sure it is definitely a wasp nest and not a beehive. Do not try to remove a beehive.
- If it is the beginning of fall you may just have to wait and let nature run its course. Wasps don’t like cold weather and they will vacate their home as soon as there is a chill in the air. Once gone you can carefully remove it and discard it safely.
- If you can’t wait any longer you can apply an insecticide that is made just for this purpose. The best time to spray the nest is at night when the wasps are moving slower and not as combative.
- Once you believe the nest is empty, use a broomstick to break the nest free. Stay far enough away in case there may be a stray wasp hanging around.
- If you are uncomfortable doing this yourself or you are allergic, call a professional who can safely and easily remove the nest from your premises.
How Can You Prevent Wasps from Returning in the Future?
Once you are finally rid of the pesky insects, there are some things to make it hard for them to return,
- Keep your trash can covered so they are not attracted to anything sweet.
- Spray under your deck regularly to maintain control of the area.
- One thing wasps hate is the smell of peppermint. You can get a spray or saturate some cotton balls with peppermint oil and leave them around your yard or deck area to keep them away.
When taking matters into your own hands, just be careful, maintain a safe distance….and be ready to make a run for it!
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