Wasps in Australia are more dangerous than scary spiders, venomous snakes, and jellyfish combined! In the company of their close cousins - bees and hornets, wasps in Australia cause more deaths than their venomous competitors combined, according to a report. Despite bees being famed for their dangerous effects on allergic individuals, wasps can actually be even more dangerous. But it's not all doom and gloom - Fantastic Pest Control will give you a bit more information about these interesting insects and what you can do to protect yourself from them.
The majority of the wasp species we have here in Australia is solitary. This means they don't build big nests but every female is fertile and builds her own nest, which is usually abandoned after reproduction. The nests can be built from different materials such as wood fibres, resin, or even mud.
When you spot a huge wasp nest, it's definitely a social species. Social species have a single queen that reproduces and the rest of the wasps in the nest are sterile females and drones (short-lived males whose only purpose in life is to inseminate the queen).
When you have an infestation, it's most likely social wasps - paper or European wasps, more specifically. European wasps are an introduced species to Australia. Their lack of natural predators allows them to multiply quickly at the expense of native Australian species. They are far more aggressive than native wasps.
Unlike bees, wasps can sting multiple times without dying. Each time, they release venom which is very painful (some species even have paralytic properties, though grown humans are too large to be paralyzed entirely). To top it all off, they also release a pheromone that marks you as a threat. This causes nearby wasps to also spring to attack.
Wasps have a relatively diverse diet ranging from nectar and fruit to small insects and even arachnids. In fact, some species paralyze big Huntsman spiders and lay their eggs inside the spider while the creature still lives. As a result, the eggs hatch and larvae begin to feast on the flesh of the unlucky arachnid. It's a very gruesome scene that inspires many a horror film.
Wasps are most dangerous if you're allergic. If you have allergies, you can go into anaphylaxis if you get stung. Your airways will close up due to the body's extreme reaction to the venom and measures are not taken immediately, the outcome might be lethal.
Even if you're not allergic, some species have an extremely potent venom. This can cause excruciating pain and even shock. Many wasp species are very aggressive.
Many people confuse bees and wasps. This is understandable since they are members of the same order and have many similar properties. However, there are certain distinctions that should help you confirm you're indeed dealing with wasps.
Honey sees live in hives. They use wax as their main building material and produce honey. Wasps live in nests that are mostly built from chewed up tree fibres to make a papery material. You can usually find their nests under eaves, on or in tree trunks, or in branches. Be careful while performing the inspection because social wasps are very aggressive. Book a professional inspection if you don't feel like taking the risk.
Wasps are usually attracted to fruit and sweet things. There is nothing you can do to prevent them if you have an orchard or even fruit trees in your garden. However, you can keep them away from your home by not leaving food lying around and taking out the rubbish regularly.
Depending on the size of the nest, you can attempt to remove it by yourself. However, we advise against that since wasps are very aggressive so act at your own discretion. For a bigger nest, you would do well to seek professional help.
Note: stay away from wasps if you're allergic!
What should you do in case of a wasp infestation?
The best course of action would be to seek professional help. You can handle a smaller nest on your own but it's not without risks involved. If you're allergic, the risks are huge. Even if you're not, being attacked by multiple flying venom injections is not the most pleasant feeling in the world.