paper wasp near a pittsburgh home

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Paper wasps! The name sounds too cool to be a big deal; I mean it sounds like an origami project or something you would create in a craft class. “Oh, look at the beautiful paper wasp you made!” Or, when visiting a crafting boutique, “How much is that paper wasp? No, not that one, I like the yellow and black one in the window? Great I’ll take it!” “Hmmmm, should I hang this paper wasp here on the deck or in the sun porch window?”

It really does sound like a ton of fun, but paper wasps are far from it. They are indeed a member of the wasp family; and, as such, they are equipped with stingers that they are not afraid to us if threatened. Not only that, but their stingers have the ability to be used over and over allowing one wasp to sting several times. These aggressive little wasps are on the defensive all the time and will attack anything that they think is a threat – including other wasps in the same genus. They are actually in the same classification as yellow jackets and hornets. It seems that the mean little fighter reputation runs in their family!

There are actually over 700 species of paper wasps world-wide with 22 species calling North America home. These pests build single-layer paper nests that hang from a single point. It somewhat resembles an opened umbrella with anywhere from 150-250 individual cells on the underside. When the female lays her eggs, each one gets its own ‘room’. The nests are hung above ground in protected or shaded areas but usually near humans. They love to tuck the nest away under eaves, protected over-hangs, porch ceilings, deck floor supports, and similar places. The nests can be found on the underside of tree and shrub branches too; so you should use care when trimming back branches around your yard.

Paper wasps are generally categorized as medium to large wasps - about ¾ of an inch in length with 6 long legs. They are typically black, brownish or red in color with yellow or red markings. They eat nectar for strength, and will eat caterpillars to feed the proteins to their young.

Extreme care should be used when dealing with paper wasps in and around your home or business. These wasps can sting several times and have a sort of built in alarm that alerts the colony if they are in danger – so, you generally don’t just deal with one wasp. This is bad news for anyone, but especially if you tend to have allergies to wasps.

The best and safest way to deal with paper wasps is to call on a trusted professional like Witt Pest Management. Here at Witt we have the equipment and training to deal with your wasp issues safely and effectively. We offer free pest identification and free quotes with several TopCare programs to choose from to fit your budget. We are even able to offer same day service in many instances! Give us a call today and find out for yourself why Witt Pest Management is Pennsylvania’s trusted pest control professional.

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