Unwanted and sometimes dangerous visitors, wasps don't know where their habitat ends and your property begins. These stinging insects are sometimes called hornets, yellow-jackets or paper wasps. Unlike bees, wasps can sting many times and if threatened, a wasp community can attack in a coordinated effort. A sting can be very dangerous, especially for those allergic to wasp venom.
Learn what kind of wasps live in your area. Stopping wasps from nesting may not always be possible but knowing what types of wasps live around you is the first step in forming a line of defence. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, unlike bees, "Wasps have a narrow 'waistline' where the front portion of the abdomen tapers to become a small tube as it attaches to the middle body section, the thorax."
Know when wasps are likely to nest. Wasps build homes according to seasonal changes. Look for wasps trying to gain access to shelter during winter months. Wasps become more active during early spring when temperatures rise. Preventing access to crawl spaces and attics during cold months is your best defence against wasps making your home their home.
Watch for wasps ascending from underground. Yellowjackets, in particular, often find refuge below ground. Denying wasps access to loose soil can discourage underground dwellings. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, yellow-jackets can form a nest large enough to accommodate "5,000 or more hot tempered, stinging insects." The extension service website, "Wasp and Bee Control," notes that wasps form nests from "chewed-up wood fibres mixed with saliva."
Clean up yard debris. Knowing that wasps use wood fibres to construct nests, make sure the areas surrounding your home or business are free of paper products, especially cardboard. Also, knowing that wasps seek shelter during winter months, be alert during this time to prevent unwanted intrusions. Double-check screen doors and inspect windows and door-frames for any breaches in security.