How To Get Rid of Red Wasps

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Wasps are a common nuisance pest. Red wasps in particular are a type of predatory wasp that builds gray paper nests in sheltered areas, usually on eaves or in trees. Their nests are generally smaller than those of yellow jackets and always enclosed in a paper envelope. They are reddish-brown with dark, purplish wings. These pests forage for caterpillars, flies, and other small insects that they feed to their young. They will sting if disturbed, but unlike yellow jackets, they do not aggressively guard their nest. 

They are typically found in the south but are moving north and especially like to choose soffits or cornices that have sagging spots to build their nests because the sagging gives them more room.

Understanding Red Wasps

Red wasps are a type of stinging insect that belongs to the Vespidae family. There are over 22,000 species of wasps worldwide and, while they have many similarities, there are also many differences that separate one wasp from another. One way to tell red wasps apart from other types of wasps is to look at their coloring; as their name suggests, red wasps have a rusty or reddish color to them. Red wasps also typically measure between 0.5 and 1 inch (2.54 centimeters) in length and have sparse body hairs that are yellowish-brown in color. They have long legs and antennae, which are also yellowish-brown or black in color. Some red wasps have wings that match their body color while others have wings with a darker hue.

Red wasps are a species of wasp that can be identified by their reddish coloring. They also have black and yellow stripes. You might have seen them flying around your garden or home. If you spend any time outside, you might have already been stung by a red wasp.

Red wasps can be found across the United States but tend to be more common in the central and eastern US. They prefer warm climates and are not often seen in northern states during the winter months. Instead, red wasps first turn up in late summer, usually beginning in August. During this time they are seen swarming around the foundation of a house, or near a porch light at night. These are male red wasp scouts looking for a nesting site for the new queen to start her colony. If you live in a wooded area, chances are good that you will have some red wasps foraging for food.

Red wasps can eat a variety of different foods, but their preferred diet consists of nectar. Adult workers and males live on nectar they collect from flowers, sweet food waste, and sweet liquid containers. Red wasp females must eat nutritious food in order to produce eggs. In the wild, red wasps feed on caterpillars and flies, but they also consume nectar from flowers. Red wasps feed on other insects, such as flies and caterpillars. They also eat human food, especially sugary foods.

Red wasp larvae require a protein-rich diet to grow properly. Females find and capture caterpillars, flies, and other insects as food for their young. After killing the prey with their powerful stings, they chew up the meat into tiny pieces that are easier for larvae to digest.

Their diet is important because it determines what their nests will look like. Red wasps build papery nests out of chewed wood fiber, which they use to construct individual hexagonal cells for their brood. The nest can be either aerial or subterranean and may contain as many as 7,000 cells with one egg per cell. The wasps will abandon their nest over winter but may reuse it in the spring if it is still intact. The wood used for nest building may be any one of several kinds, but often it is pine.

The nest is usually built in some more exposed spot: Along windows and door frames, inside eaves, in outbuildings, or under decks. It may be attached to a branch of a tree or shrub or to the side of a house or barn or other building, or it may hang free from a beam or rafter in a shed or porch. In such places, you can find the adult wasp perched on a wall or flying in and out at all hours, scouting for prey (mostly flying insects) to feed to the larvae.

Nests are seldom built inside houses, but sometimes they are constructed under porches, sheds, and outhouses. Their nests generally contain more than 800 wasps. Red wasps do not reuse nests. 

Colony building begins in the spring when a mated female emerges from her protected overwintering site to find a location to build a nest. Wasps are beneficial insects because they capture and feed many important pest insects to their colony mates. Elimination of the colony should be done only when there is a likelihood that people or pets can be stung.

Since red wasps are social insects, their colonies contain three types of individuals:

  • Fertile queens
  • Males
  • Sterile workers

The life cycle of red wasps is quite normal for insects. The only exceptions are in terms of the size of their nests and especially the size of their colonies. Wasps undergo complete metamorphosis, passing through four distinct stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult.

A fertile queen lays a single egg in each cell and feeds the emerging larvae (a grub-like stage) a diet that consists of the chewed-up body parts of caterpillars and other insects. These develop into pupae, which, once they’ve completed their phase of the life cycle, become adults. Adults care for their larvae and protect their nests, allowing fertile queens to lay more eggs. In late summer or early fall, workers begin to die off, and reproductive males and females leave their nests to mate. After mating, males die and fertilized females find a protected place to overwinter and begin their own colonies the following spring.

Where are Red Wasp infestations likeliest to occur?

Red wasps like to build their nests in exposed areas. The pests also like to build their nests around shrubs and bushes, especially when the shrubs are located near structures.

Red wasps are common in the U.S., especially in the South. They're found in the Eastern, Central, and Southern regions of the country. These social wasps usually build nests in trees or shrubs, or under eaves and porches. Select colonies have been spotted in Canada and Bermuda as well.

Signs of a Red Wasp Infestation

A red wasp infestation can be a scary thing. But before you reach for your bug spray, make sure you have the right pest. Red wasps are not as aggressive as yellow jackets and are less likely to sting – though that may not mean that you want them in your home!

The first sign of a red wasp infestation is usually the presence of wasps themselves. If you see wasps flying around your home or yard, they may have made a nest nearby. Check for nests in trees, under eaves, or in other sheltered spots. The nests are usually small, round, and made of paper.

If you see wasps coming and going from a particular area, that’s another sign that there may be a nest nearby. Wasps will also become more active and aggressive if their nest is disturbed, so be careful if you see them swarming around an area.

Because red wasps like to chew on wood, they tend to build their nests under porch ceilings or roofs or inside wall voids and attics. Their nests look like paper cylinders that are often attached to tree trunks or other structures. You can usually spot them by looking for a trail of workers flying in and out of the nest during the day.

Nests can be identified by their circular form and paper-like appearance. They are usually gray or brown, but sometimes they are reddish like the wasps themselves. They can be found in trees, behind shutters, under the eaves of your house, and on porches.

What Are the Dangers of Red Wasps?

As mentioned above, red wasps are not as aggressive as some other types of wasps, and will generally not attack or sting humans unless provoked. When they do sting, they tend to sting multiple times.

For the most part, red wasps are really just a nuisance. This goes double when they’re building nests around homes and other structures. In large numbers, red wasps can be a real problem and may chase people and pets from the area where the nest is located.

The sting of a red wasp can be painful and, in some cases, cause an allergic reaction. For people who are allergic to wasp stings, a red wasp sting can be life-threatening.

Wasps, unlike honey bees, can sting multiple times because their stinger is not left behind in the victim's skin. This makes them more dangerous, especially to people who are allergic to their venom. If you've been stung by a red wasp and have any sort of allergic reaction, seek medical attention immediately. Otherwise, you can treat the sting at home with ice and over-the-counter pain relievers.

How To Control Red Wasps

If you have red wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets nesting in the walls, roofline, or eaves of your home, you have a problem. These insects are capable of stinging repeatedly and can get fairly aggressive when their nests are disturbed. Mowing the lawn, playing with the dog, or simply entering the front door can trigger an attack by a swarm of angry wasps. The best way to control this type of situation is to hire a professional pest control company that specializes in eliminating wasp infestations. However, if you are handy and don't mind getting stung a few times, you can give it a shot yourself.

The first thing to do is inspect where the insects are coming from. You want to see if there is an opening where they are entering your home. If you don't see any openings but still have bugs flying around inside your home, then they could be getting in through small cracks in your foundation or even through weep holes in brick walls. In this case, you should caulk all visible cracks with a good quality silicone caulk. If you find a nest that is not near a doorway or other area where people pass by and can easily be avoided, leave it alone. The wasps will leave in late fall after they mate.

If you have found an active nest in a shrub or other area near your home, insecticides can be applied at night when they are less active. This can be done using a sprayer or compressed air sprayer with a long extension tube that reaches into the nest opening. The pesticide containing an insect growth regulator should also be used (e.g., Cyzmic CS). Follow-up applications may be necessary as new adult wasps enter the nest each day until no more emerge at night.

If you have found an active nest inside your attic or garage insulation where you cannot reach it, call a professional pest control company for assistance.

Control Products & Methods

Insecticide dust such as Sevin and Bayer Advanced Garden Multi-Insect Killer will kill wasps in the nest. Other products may need to be sprayed directly into the nest opening. A product like Spectracide Wasp & Hornet Aerosol is recommended to use at a safe distance of 25 feet away.

Some products contain pheromones to attract wasps and kill them when they enter the trap. Traps can be hung from trees or attached to fences or house walls where wasps forage for food.

Nest Removal

The most important part of getting rid of red wasps is to eliminate the nest. Without a nest, the wasps will have no place to live. That's what you should focus on first.

Remove their nests before they become large – the earlier in the nest-building process, the better the results. Use a water hose or a long garden tool to destroy them, making sure you keep as much distance between yourself and the nest as possible. Before attempting nest removal, plan ahead to make sure you have a good, clear path for escape just in case you need to retreat from any wasps that try to sting.

Wear protective clothing; use gloves and cover your arms, legs, and head with layers of clothes to prevent stings. If you are prone to allergic reactions, carry your epinephrine auto-injector with you. If one is not available, consider wearing a beekeeping veil over your face if you think it will help keep you calm.

If you get stung during the process, stay calm and immediately remove yourself from the situation.

Try To Work After Dark

The most important thing to keep in mind when getting rid of red wasps is that you should always work after dark since red wasps, like other bees and wasps, return to the hive when the sun goes down. They do this because they are cold-blooded and the temperature outside the hive gets too cold at night for them to survive.

Doing it at night also helps minimize the chances of being stung and gives you a better chance to completely destroy their nests. Nighttime is also a good time to get rid of red wasps because almost all of them are inside the nest. Red wasps are attracted to movement and smell, so you will need to wear clothing that covers up your body and use gloves when handling any materials. If you are especially worried about being stung, you can also wear a bee suit or other protective gear.

So if you plan on getting rid of red wasps, grab yourself a cup of coffee so that you can stay up until the early morning hours.

However, if you can’t get rid of red wasps at night, you will just have to be extra careful when working around the nest during the day.

Save Yourself The Risk - Natran Can Help with Red Wasp Removal

The best way to deal with a red wasp infestation is through professional extermination. A reputable exterminator will know how to identify their nests and destroy them without causing harm to you or your family. If you have pets or children at home, it's especially important that you take care of this problem as soon as possible because red wasps can cause severe allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

Hiring a professional to remove red wasps from your property can help you avoid the potentially dangerous task of attempting to get rid of the pests yourself. It can also often be cost-effective in the long run, as professionals have the tools and knowledge to ensure the job is done correctly and completely.

Insects like red wasps are not something that should be taken lightly; their stings can be deadly, especially to those with allergies. A pest control professional will have the proper equipment and know-how to remove these insects safely and effectively.

Your local Natran technician is trained to help manage red wasps and similar pests. Since every building or home is different, your Natran technician will design a unique treatment program for your situation. Natran can provide the right solution to keep red wasps in their place and out of your home or business.

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