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Found throughout the world, there are aggressive and non-aggressive species of wasps. These insects can range drastically in size and their sting can pack a powerful punch.

Wasp Identification

Common wasp species include:

  • Yellow jackets: Yellow jackets are about 12 mm long and have alternating yellow and black markings on the abdomen.
  • Hornets: Hornets are the largest of the wasp species and can reach up to 1.5 inches in length and are reddish-brown in color.
  • Cicada killer wasps: Cicada killers are 40 mm long, black in color and have pale yellow markings on the last three abdominal segments.
  • Mud dauber wasps: Mud daubers are about 1-inch long, have a long, thin appearance and range in color from completely black to metallic blue.
  • Paper wasps: Paper wasps are between 1.9-3.2 cm in length and are generally dark brown in color with black wings and yellow markings.

Wasp Eating Habits

Wasps are predators that are known for collecting spiders and other prey to feed their young. Wasps also feed on nectar, and some species even feed on insect eggs.

Wasp Detection

Wasps form nests, and most aggressively defend their nests by stinging. Most wasps build their nests underneath eaves and overhangs, whereas yellow jackets build their nests underground.

Wasp Dangers

Many wasps are aggressive and will sting when provoked, but some wasps keep more to themselves.

Aggressive Wasps Include

  • Yellow jackets: These wasps are very aggressive wasps that will typically sting repeatedly.
  • Hornets: These wasps use their stings to kill prey and defend the hives. Hornet stings are some of the most painful to a human, as they contain powerful venom. Hornets will not die after stinging.
  • Cicada killer wasps: These are predatory wasps that hunt cicadas with a paralyzing sting.
  • Paper wasps: Although these wasps can sting, they will generally only attack if they themselves or their nest is attacked. However, they tend to be very territorial and their sting can cause a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction in certain people.

Non-Aggressive Wasps Include

  • Mud dauber wasps: These wasps often build mud nests close to human activity, but they are non-aggressive and stings are uncommon.

Wasp Control

If you notice a wasp nest near your home, do not attempt to remove it on your own, as it could be very dangerous if not handled properly. Contact a pest professional and they will be able to assess and control the situation.

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