There are 30,000 known species of wasps in the world. Only about 1,000 are considered to be social wasps that build a nest site with multiple members. The other 29,000 are solitary wasps. The most common types of social wasps we see here in Minnesota are Paper Wasps, Yellow Jackets, and Bald Faced Hornets (which scientists believe are related to Yellow Jackets). Wasps are beneficial to the environment because they are predators to almost all crop-damaging insects. However, when It’s the middle of summer and you’re out doing some yard work, or barbecuing with the family, and all of a sudden you get stung by a wasp!! The word “beneficial” can be far from your mind! Did you know the odds of getting stung by a wasp is a lot more likely to happen after July?
“So thankful to BOGO Pest Control to meet me on such short notice at one of my listed properties. Have new renters moving in and there were a couple of bee’s nests that needed to be handled.”
-Rebecca in Mound
In the springtime, the nest is started by one queen that made it through the winter. She will start a new nest under any protected area such as under decks, soffits, peaks, valleys; they love to build nests in the gap between the gutters and fascia boards. She will not use old nests from previous years but often will start a nest next to it because of the protected area. Her focus is on building a small nest and laying eggs to produce more female “helpers.” They hatch and repeat the cycle of working together to build the nest and produce male and female “helpers”. Then, the females lay a number of special eggs to produce queens. Depending on the weather, somewhere in July, the workers switch to sugar-based sources of food to help them have the high energy levels it will take to defend their nest site.
Now they have the numbers to keep building, as well as more recruits to help defend. Yellow Jackets are the wasps’ people and pets get stung by the most. They are very aggressive and will defend their nests. Towards the end of the summer, the nest site can contain anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 members in the colony.
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