Many suburban residential areas in Charlotte reside near a forest edge. When you have neighborhoods placed in among these cleared out areas creating patchworks in the forest that creates habitat fragmentation. Populations normally residing in the forest will rearrange themselves due to the disturbance and eventually settle and encroach upon such neighborhoods. This particularly true for insect populations, especially more mobile species like the wasps who will monopolize on human structures such as a wall of a house or under a porch to build a nest with less competition for space and ease of access due to the openness of the new environment of your backyard.
If you’re especially unlucky, nests may even be made on the insides of your walls or even in your home itself. Such insects love getting into laundry air vents, crawl spaces, attics, and underneath floors to build a nest.
Reducing the ability for these insects to build nests in or on your home depends largely on preventative measures. These include treating the eaves under the edge of the roof as well as laying down a protective and comprehensive barrier around the perimeter of your home. If a wasp is deterred from landing, then a nest cannot be built. The added bonus is that such treatments have an all-encompassing pest control management effect across a multitude of home pest species. Such treatments should be carried out by a competent pest control company who utilizes safe treatment protocols. I know there are a lot of pest control companies out there in Charlotte particularly. Pest agencies that don’t know the basics of the biology, behaviors, and movement patterns for the pest they are treating, are not effectively providing a service which will help to ensure a preventative treatment from such insect pests such as the wasp from making their home your home.
A wasp starts their range from their nest outwards. You are far more likely to encounter them the closer you are to their home. If that home happens to be in your home, all the more likely. It is important to be able to differentiate between the types of nests both insects use. For instance, Paper Wasps generally create their nests in the corners of walls usually under the roof in suburban areas. These nests are generally open comb-like structures adhered to a wall. Yellow Jackets are a different example whom generally makes underground nests that are enclosed by an outer layer protecting the inner nest. These nests can be commonly found underneath porches, homes, and in dead trees. Yellow Jackets are generally the more aggressive of the wasp species to protect their nests, with increased activity in the Spring/Summer.
Wasps are generally solitary. The wasp species that are considered pests are usually the social wasps under the family Vespidae, with the exception of Mud Daubers. These wasps build large nests, sting, chew on wood from surrounding areas to build nests (like your deck), and usually have a hierarchy similar to ants and bees where there is a Queen. A lot of people confuse the fact that yellow-jackets, hornets, and paper wasps are all actually considered Wasps under the family Hymenoptera which includes bees and ants as relatives. It gets a little complicated how wasps are separated among even their own family, but in general it’s a cool thing to know.
The most common wasp you may encounter in your area is that of the European Paper Wasp (Polistes dominula). This wasp is an invasive species to the United States (most recently the South) and has established itself in great numbers due to the species ability to avoid predation because their nests are extremely hard to knock down (much to the annoyance of homeowners), they look similar to the much more aggressive Yellow Jacket species, and they reproduce fast and with large numbers successfully. This species is smaller than the larger native species to North America called the Northern Paper Wasp (Polistes fuscatus). Studies have shown that the European Paper Wasp actually has larger poison glands in correlation with how much brighter it’s warning coloration are.
There are many species to the genus Polistes, many of which with similar characteristics, behavior, and markings. If you can properly identify, know the behavior, and the biology of a pest species. Then you can properly treat for them. Many wasp species use wood to chew on as source in making their nests; this includes backyard decks and the trim of roofs. If you notice some of these telltale signs then you know you have a nest nearby, even if you don’t see them.
Yellow Jacket nests are usually the ones you do not see, which can be a danger since many Yellow Jacket species tend to be highly aggressive and protective of their nests. So when you do find one near or even under your home, you probably will wish you hadn’t. Yellow jacket nest removal depending on the location and size can be quite difficult. I would generally recommend hiring a competent pest control service in the safe treatment and removal of a Yellow Jacket nest.
A common species of Yellow Jacket you may encounter is an invasive species to North America. This species is called the German Yellow Jacket (Vespula germanica). It has managed to become the dominant species replacing the Eastern Yellow Jacket for the area. Instead of underground or under enclosed areas in which they build their nest, this species of Yellow Jackets is often found to make nests in the spaces between walls and in attics. This makes what would be a usually difficult treatment for normal Yellow Jacket nests usually seen, even more problematic for removal and treatment. This species is very aggressive, is known to chase threats to its nest far away, and it’s stings are very painful and carry the potential for an allergic reaction if stung in excess. Again I must stress hiring a good pest control company if you are in the Charlotte area and encounter a Yellow Jacket nest.
Lastly, but not at the least. Mud Daubers. One of the solitary wasp species widely considered a pest as much (if not more) than their close social relatives previously just mentioned.
Mud Daubers are a solitary wasp. They as the name suggests; use mud to make their nests. You will most likely encounter one of two species in the Charlotte area, each having their own nest structural differences. Both species utilize mud to make multi-chambered nests which are used to store insects they have captured to feed the pupae form of their offspring when they emerge. As time progresses these structures generally grow in size and become more elaborate as the Mud Dauber repeats its lifecycle over and over again on, in, or under your home. While either species rarely stings, it can happen if the nest is disturbed (One of the most common reasons for stings). The Mud Dauber itself is not a pest for the same general reasons as its close social relatives of wasp species like the Yellow Jacket, Paper Wasp, and etc. The Mud Dauber actually creates its nest in certain areas because of what it eats. What it eats generally being Spiders. The reason it’s considered a household pest in my opinion is due to the nests it makes. These nests are generally an eyesore, appear all over the outside and back deck of a home, and can damage exterior surfaces upon removal which may require repainting certain sections of the home. It’s a pest because it’s an expensive problem for some homeowner’s. You may not be in great danger from stings like other pests, but it may hurt the resale value a bit. Some would say a financial sting is much more offensive to a homeowner than an actual one.
I myself have had the pleasure of encountering and removing large numbers of organ pipe nests from under the deck of the same home. The owners having never usually gone underneath their back deck; had no idea how large in number those nests had reached. It was laborious, time consuming, and very difficult to completely remove all the cached mud from the nests on the structure. Such nests if made on the side walls or on the eaves of a house, may actually damage the paint if at the very least any weather sealant coating upon removal in entirety. The best measure is preventative treatment of those areas before a nest can be made.
One of the two common species of Mud Dauber is the Organ Pipe Mud Dauber (Trypoxylon politum). As the name suggests this species is responsible for those long mud nests side-by-side that resemble the pipes of an organ piano seen in older churches. The other common species of Mud Dauber you are likely to encounter is that of the Black and Yellow Mud Dauber, so named for its black body and bright yellow legs. This species builds nest in a more cylindrical fashion cell by cell, filled with dead spiders captured by the female and one egg per each cell of the nest. The young then hatch, feed on the spider, and continues the life cycle.
Wasps are a highly mobile species. The key to handling them as a pest species for your home, is to eliminate the chances from them building their nest/home on yours. Even if you don’t want to admit it, we both operate in the same fashion when it comes to our “nests”. We come in and out, and a large part of our lives revolves around where we sleep, eat, and have kids. The same is true for wasps, except it’s usually a paper nest stuck to the side of your house made from the chewed pulp of your backyard deck.
My point is if that you eliminate the nest for both these social and solitary wasp species, you then eliminate their presence from your own home. Preventive measure is the key. Have those problems areas where most wasp species may or have previously occurred be assessed by a professional pest control technician. Have those areas pre-treated so you won’t even have to deal with nest removal in the first place. If you don’t have a good pest control company yet, find one that want’s to remove that nest if you have one. That show’s they understand the biology and behavior of the insect pest they are treating for, and that they know to cease the life cycle in order to cease it being a problem for you, your home, and your family (Dogs Count).
A pest problem can occur in any kind of home.
Insect populations can fluctuate due too many reasons including seasonality, precipitation, and even construction in the area of your home. The life cycles of insects are different and vast, and they all generally co-inhabit the same space. A little disturbance such as abnormal temperatures and clearing land can both combine to a major change in the movement and activity of many insect populations for an affected area. What happens is that these insect populations will move and re-establish themselves elsewhere; many times upon an entire neighborhood area. You will suddenly see an entire small ecosystem of bugs appears in your area, and you haven’t encountered in such numbers before.
If you are suddenly seeing cockroaches, silverfish, spiders, beetles, and etc. in your home, chances are your neighbors are as well. The problem is most people aren’t going to advertise the fact that they are having a pest problem. It has an unsaid connotation that your home is unclean. You may openly complain about your spouse to your neighbors, but you aren’t going to talk about the silverfish in the bathroom.
A lot of time this sense of “shame” associated with having pests in the home also makes a person wait on getting a treatment done for the house. Sometimes not even bother seeking treatment at all. Pests aren’t going to wait for you to pick up a phone, they will continue reproducing in greater numbers. This is especially true of many insect populations when introduced into a new area without competition for space and greater access to the resources areas of human development provide, these bug populations will explode as they increase almost exponentially to a point unhindered before hitting their stride. Trust me, if a stray cockroach is going to bug you, you don’t want to see that explosive growth peak.
Believe it or not when your neighbors get around to getting treatment to their houses done on a service call, it makes it worse for those who haven’t.
Remember when I had spoken earlier about when a disturbance moves insect populations to settle into new areas. When these insect populations settle into your neighborhood and began reproducing, you generally start getting service calls for treatment of homes in that area. Then all those homes that get their houses treated first become micro-disturbances in a newly settled area. Those insects will then be pushed and move to houses that haven’t had a recent treatment or that are not protected at all. If that’s you, then be prepared. If you are late to the game, you are going to have a longer time and a harder problem getting rid of those pests for your home even after treatment. Insect populations cycle in waves, and this cycle timing changes depending on the species you are dealing with.
A good pest control company knows the treatment protocol based on an insect-to-insect basis. Still even they will tell you that it will take a couple weeks as the product they use eliminates the first generation, and then the offspring. Different stages of an insect’s life cycle require different treatment measures. Your best bet is to be proactive, be that first neighbor in your neighborhood to get treated when insects settle into it.