Make sure you read below picture for wasp facts:
Yellow jackets, paper wasps and mud daubers are winged black and yellow, or black and white, insects. Most are social, living in a nest, or colony, and caring for their queen and her young. It is difficult to tell one species of wasp from another. They are sometimes confused with similar looking bees and flies. Most wasps do not bother humans. This document covers Integrated Pest Management (IPM) techniques for wasp control. Bees are generally not a problem unless they build a nest in a school building.
How to Tell a Bee From a Wasp?
Wasps are thinner, can be aggressive, and interested in food and garbage. Bees are generally plumper, mild mannered and interested in flowers, not your lunch or garbage can. School personnel need to be able to distinguish wasps from bees and need to be aware of the preferred nesting locations of different species of wasp. The chief pollinators of our food crops are domestic honeybees which have been hard hit in recent years by a combination of parasitic mites, disease, starvation caused by severe weather, and pesticide poisoning. Anyone attempting to control wasps with insecticides must make certain that bees will not contact the poisons.
Facts about yellow jackets and other wasps:
Hazards of wasps
Yellow jackets and other wasps are feared because they can sting humans. Unlike bees, female wasps can sting repeatedly. Most species of wasp will not sting unless provoked by a perceived threat to themselves or to their nest. Yellow jackets are an exception. They are aggressive by nature and become especially persistent when foraging for limited food at the end of the summer. Normal reactions to stings includes pain, redness, itching and swelling at the sting site. Ice, table salt, and products like Sting Kill® are helpful in managing the symptoms. Symptoms can occur immediately after a sting, or may take longer to appear. They last for several hours. People who are hypersensitive have some or all of these
Difficulty breathing, caused by swelling of the air passages. Shortness of breath, wheezing and a sensation of tightness in the chest are symptoms.
Faintness and other shock symptoms. These symptoms are serious and can result in death.
Nausea, headache and chest or abdominal pain can also be symptoms of a hypersensitive reaction to a sting.
Most stings happen in the fall and late summer when the yellow jackets are most aggressive and competitive about foraging for food.
Benefits of wasps
Wasps are actually beneficial insects for humans and the environment. They are one of the major natural scavengers, and they eat insects such as flies and caterpillars that are often considered pests to humans. They should be left alone if they are in a location where they are not bothering people. Some wasps pollinate plants and crops, but most do not.
Yellow jackets aggressively forage for protein foods, such as meat, earlier in the summer. They prefer sweets (ripe fruit, plant nectar or other sugar solutions) as fall approaches. Worker wasps catch flies and caterpillars to feed the young. A primary area of conflict with humans is where food or garbage attracts scavenging species. Wasps drink water and will occasionally land on humans to drink sweat from their skin.
Paper wasps gather insects to feed their larvae but drink flower nectar themselves.
Mud dauber wasps
Mud dauber wasps prey on insects to provision their nests.
Attractive nest locations:
Yellow jackets and other wasps build different kinds of nests in different locations. The type of nest built is one of the main keys to identification. The queen and then the workers create the paste to make the paper for nests by chewing wood and plant fibers and mixing it with saliva. Attacks, either intentional or accidental, on the nest will trigger a mass defense in all wasps.
Wasp Nest Material Nest Location
Umbrella or paper wasps A paper comb without a covering. Looks like an umbrella. Under eaves and overhangs. Often near doorways. Western yellow jackets, common yellow jackets, black jacket and the German yellow jacket (since 1980). Paper but not visible since it is underground. Underground in small holes or rodent burrows. They can become very large. They may be in wall voids and attics or under beauty bark, shrubs, rocks or logs for protection. Aerial yellow jackets Paper Under eaves, overhangs and in hollow trees. Rarely in attics and wall voids.
The wasp life cycle: Spring
Queens start their own nests in the spring when the weather warms up. After the first brood of workers hatches, the queen devotes her time to egg laying, while the workers expand the nest, forage for food and care for the eggs. Spring freezes and extended periods of wet cool weather can kill the new colonies and decrease the number of wasps for that year.
Queens make more workers and the nest expands, but toward the end of the summer they lay eggs to create new kings and queens (reproductives) The new reproductives leave the nest and mate. The workers become more aggressive about finding food.
Late Summer or Fall
School starts. Yellow jacket and paper wasps colonies are at their maximum size. Yellow jacket workers are most aggressive about searching for food. New wasp reproductives (kings and queens) leave the nest and mate. The new queens look for a sheltered place (such as a school building) to hibernate for the winter.
Wasps are no longer a problem except for the German yellow jacket which is new to the state and more tolerant to cold. German yellow jackets are active during mild winters. When the weather gets cold, yellow jacket and paper wasp nests are deserted. The original queen, males and workers die.