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Archive for the ‘Wasps’ Category

Yellow Jackets Will Soon Be Scavenging In Residential Areas

Since Yellow Jackets Will Soon Be Scavenging In Residential Areas, It Is Important To Keep In Mind That Death Rates Resulting From Wasp Attacks Have More Than Doubled In Less Than 20 Years

With the exception of paper wasps (Polistes sp.), yellow jackets belonging to the genera Vespula and Dolichovespula are the most commonly managed stinging insect pests on residential and commercial properties nationwide. Given their preference for nesting and foraging in urban suburban areas where they benefit from human activity, the vast majority of medically significant and fatal yellow jacket envenomation incidents occur on residential properties, usually after individuals disturb nests. In the majority of cases, such nest disturbances are accidental, but it is not uncommon for homeowners to fall victim to attacks while attempting to remove yellow jacket nests without protective gear or professional pest control assistance.

Every year between 2000 and 2017, an average of 62 people in the United States succumbed to Hymenoptera envenomation, which is another way of saying they died from stings inflicted by wasps, bees and/or ants. Yellow jacket species were responsible for most of these fatalities, and nearly all died due to a severe allergic reaction to venom, or anaphylactic shock. Just last year in neighboring Mississippi, a 66 year old Adams County Sheriff deputy, Wayne Rabb, died due to anaphylactic shock caused by a single yellow jacket sting he sustained in his front yard. Despite being advanced in his years, Rabb was reportedly in good shape, and he had just learned of his allergy to insect venom not long prior to sustaining the fatal sting. Although the details leading up to Rabb’s attack were not reported, it seems likely that a wasp nest located nearby had become disturbed, and consequently, defensive toward outside threats.

A 2017 yellow jacket attack in Massachusetts occurred while the victim had been mowing his Foxborough lawn. The vibrations produced by the lawnmower likely disturbed ground-nesting German yellow jackets. Most yellow jacket species tend to nest in ground burrows as opposed to establishing aerial nests in trees, bushes, decks, and in structures. Yellow jackets excavate one or a few small holes in the ground to enter and exit their nest, and these holes are easy to miss, especially when obscured by long grass and other surrounding vegetation. Because of this, keeping lawns well groomed during the summer and fall seasons is tremendously important. Now that fall is quickly approaching, the flower nectar that yellow jackets rely on for sustenance will soon become scarce, and nests will become overcrowded with offspring. This will prompt yellow jackets to ditch their nests to seek out food scraps in residential and urban areas. When one or more foraging yellow jackets are encountered, it is best to let them explore and move on, rather than shoo them away.

Do you encounter foraging yellow jackets often during the summer and fall?






Do European Hornets Establish Nests In Or Near Residential Homes, And Are They More Or Less Dangerous Than Yellow Jackets?

Vespa crabro, better known as the European hornet, can be found in every US state east of the Mississippi River including Louisiana, and they are continuing to expand their non-native habitat westward in the country. Just as their name suggests, European hornets are native to Europe, and like all social wasps, this species will readily attack nearby humans and animals in response to seemingly minor external disturbances to their nest. European hornets were first documented in the US back in 1840 when colonies were found in New York state. This makes the European hornet the only true hornet species inhabiting the US, but this may change if the recently introduced Asian giant hornet (V. mandarinia), also known as the “murder hornet,” manages to establish a permanent habitat in the country. It should be mentioned that the well known bald-faced hornet, which can also be found in Louisiana, technically belongs to the yellow jacket groups of wasps, not hornets.

Although European hornets are aggressive, highly venomous, and prevalent in areas where they are found, they are rarely responsible for serious envenomation incidents. This is due to their preference for nesting within tree hollows in wooded rural areas where humans are scarce. Also, unlike many insect pests, European hornets rarely encounter humans because they do not seek out food scraps in and around homes. However, in response to dwindling food sources during the fall and winter seasons, yellow jackets frequently abandon their nests in order to swarm through neighborhoods in search of sweets, meats and fatty foods in garbage bins, at picnics, at cookouts and anywhere they can exploit humans to remain well fed. This scavenging behavior is the sole reason why yellow jackets are the deadliest insects in the US along with honey bees.

While they prefer to dwell in undisturbed habitats, European hornets are known to establish nests in residential areas where they have been found beneath decks, window frames, the underside of eaves, garage rafters, sheds, attics, basements, crawl spaces, and shrubs. Amazingly, a European hornet nest the size of a refrigerator was found in a Louisiana homeowner’s shed. A pest control professional used a gopro camera to record his 45 minute ordeal removing the nest, which can be viewed on Youtube. Although a National Geographic report stated that the nest belonged to European hornets, local news sources said the pests were southern yellow jackets, and in the video itself, the pest control professional could be heard calling the insects “European yellowjackets.” Identifying insect species is a hard business when more than one million have been documented.

Have you ever encountered a wasp nest within your home?

Are People With Venom Allergies The Only Victims Of Fatal Bee, Wasp And Ant Stings?

While there exists plenty of arthropod species that can inflict painful bites or stings to humans, very few arthropod species are considered medically significant. Almost all medical professionals agree that black widows and recluse spiders are the only spiders in the US that are medically significant, but most people who have sustained a bite from one of these spiders recovered without professional medical intervention. However, a little more than 100 people die from arthropod-related injuries every year in the US, and most of these fatalities result from honey bee and yellow jacket envenomations. But is venom really the culprit in these fatalities? After all, the exact cause of death in the vast majority of fatal wasp and bee envenomation incidents is anaphylactic shock, which is not technically death by venom toxicity.

Anaphylactic shock is an extreme allergic response to a foreign material, and this condition is fatal unless proper medical treatment is administered in time. Those with an allergy to Hymenoptera venom (bees, wasps and ants) are at high risk of experiencing anaphylaxis following one or a few stings. It is often assumed that most people are not allergic to arthropod venom, and therefore, most people are not at risk of anaphylaxis following bee or wasp stings, but this is not exactly the case. While some people are born with a sensitivity to certain arthropod venoms, those who are not can develop a sensitivity to venom in response to repeated stings, but others may become less sensitive with each sting sustained. It is not known why repeated stings cause some people to develop an allergy to venom while others become more tolerant of it, but those who have experienced a progressive worsening of envenomation symptoms with each successive Hymenoptera sting should visit an allergy specialist or immunologist for proper testing.

People who do not have a venom allergy can die in response to numerous stings inflicted by swarming wasps and bees. Wasp swarms are particularly dangerous, as each individual wasp inflicts stings repeatedly. Some experts believe that the rate of annual arthropod-related fatalities in the US may be higher than reported. For example, a small number of deaths that have officially been attributed to heat stroke or heart attacks may have been caused by arthropod envenomations, and some fatal car accidents may occur in response to drivers sustaining arthropod stings.

Have you ever sustained a painful spider bite?



What You Need To Know About The Highly Venomous And Aggressive Red Wasps That Often Build Nests On Residential Trees And Structures

Numerous wasps that are capable of delivering painful stings have been documented within Louisiana. Some of these wasps include yellow jackets, great black wasps, mud daubers, potter wasps, European hornets and paper wasps. The most aggressive and dangerous wasps in the state include yellow jackets and European hornets (which are wasps). Another wasp species that has been spotted in the state, Polistes carolina, is known for inflicting painful stings that can result in serious medical conditions. This wasp species is commonly known as the Alabama red wasp, and this species is only one of two red paper wasp species described in scientific literature.

The Alabama red wasp is easy to recognize on account of its large red body which has been known to exceed one inch in length. Although Alabama red wasps are scarcely mentioned as being dangerous wasp species in the US, their populations become abundant throughout the eastern states during the summer, which has made them notorious among residents. Generally, paper wasp species are not particularly aggressive, and they will only sting when provoked or handled. This is not the case when it comes to the Alabama red wasp, which is one of many paper wasp species found in the US.

These wasps live in colonies that can grow to contain hundreds of individual specimens. Alabama red wasps break down plant matter in order to use the resulting material to build paper nests. Once these nests dry, they resemble a honeycomb-like structure, and if a nest is found in a residential area, contacting a pest control professional for nest removal may be a wise idea due to the aggression exhibited by this species. These wasps also nest within hollow trees, and paper nests are commonly found on the underside of eaves and on the underside of bridges. Due to their abundance during the summer months, Alabama red wasps frequently sting humans, and when this occurs, swelling, pain and local itchiness usually result. These wasps are also known for inducing severe allergic reactions, so if a sting should be sustained by a person with known allergies to insect venom, medical care should be sought out immediately.

Have you ever spotted an Alabama red wasp?





This Louisiana Wasp May Keep Yellow Jackets In Check, But They Are Not Your Friends

Louisiana’s hot and humid climate makes the state an ideal home for all kinds of insect pests. Surprisingly, some insect pests in the state are partly beneficial to residents, as they kill other insect pests. While most insect pests within the state do not provide this free pest control service, but the bald-faced hornet happens to be one insect that is both dangerous and beneficial due to its habit of preying on other dangerous wasp species.

Despite being called a “hornet” the bald-faced hornet, and all other hornets, are actually just a particular group of wasps. The same is true for “yellow jackets,” as all yellow jacket insects are wasps. In fact, some wasps are considered both yellow jackets and hornets, and this is the case with the bald-faced hornet. The bald-faced hornet is related to the yellow jacket, and they are often categorized as such, but they are not “true” hornets, as their bodies are stout and lightly colored. These hornets are considered by experts to be beneficial due to their habit of hunting flies and other yellow jackets. However, experts are also quick to point out that bald-faced hornets are also extremely aggressive, and there have been reports of this species attacking people without provocation.

Adult bald-faced hornets capture and chew flies to pieces before feeding them to their larvae. These hornets can be found in just about every location of Louisiana including forests, backyards, meadows, gardens and urban areas. These hornets are, like most hornets, extremely aggressive and they will not hesitate to attack when they perceive a threat or when their nest becomes disturbed. Although bald-faced hornets can be found in most US states, they are particularly numerous in Louisiana, as the subtropical climate in the state allows these hornets to easily overwinter by hiding away within hollow logs and plant matter. This wasp species’ nest resembles a grey football and they are often found attached to tree branches, shrubs and the corners of a building’s exterior. If a nest is spotted, a pest control professional should be contacted for its removal in order to prevent attacks.

Have you ever sustained a sting from a hornet?


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