The word wasp designates several kinds of hymenopterous insects. They are generally recognizable by their yellow abdomen striped with black. The female carries a poisonous sting. The Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) and the Germanic Wasp (Vespula germanica) are the most common species in Europe.
Social wasps are wasps belonging to the family Vespidae, comprising only the subfamilies Vespinae and Polistinae. The other subfamilies, Eumeninae and Masarinae, have a solitary behavior.
Their length usually varies from 10 to 19 mm. Wasps have a basic morphology close to that of bees. It is distinguished by a head with mandibles and a pair of antennae. Its six legs and four membranous wings are fixed on its thorax. His abdomen sporting bright colors with a sting connected to a venom gland at its end.
In social wasps, the adult is mainly nourished by its larva, which once fed, regurgitates a sweet liquid. When there are no more larvae in the colony and in solitary species, it feeds on all types of available sugars (ripe fruit, aphid honeydew, sap, sweet plant juice, etc.).
Their tongues are too short, which is why social wasps do not eat nectar and, in fact, are not pollinators. In order to feed the larvae, almost all wasp species are predators of other insects, even scavengers. Social species most often only keep the muscles, located in the insect's chest. After chewing them, they serve them for their larvae. Solitary species paralyze their prey before storing it in a nest where they lay an egg. The larvae are fiercely carnivorous and eat insects that worker workers catch.
Social life and reproduction
They form annual colonies founded in spring by a fertilized female, the queen.
A wasp colony consists of queens (fertile females), workers (sterile females), and males. At the end of summer, females and males reproduce; males and workers die and fertilized queens overwinter in a protected place. In spring, the nest is made up of "cardboard" cells constructed with a kind of paper pulp that the wasps produce by chewing wood mixed with their saliva.
Wasps guard their nest jealously, and even if they use it for only one season. Thus the nest can contain from 10,000 to 30,000 individuals.
How to prevent wasp nesting?
Put your waste in bins in good condition and hermetically sealed. In an outdoor bin, wasps will always find something to eat (fruit, sugar, meat, etc.).
If you have an orchard, to avoid attracting wasps, inspect all of your trees daily to collect mature fruit and remove rotten fruit.
To avoid attracting wasps, make a buried compost, deposit your fruit and vegetable waste to a minimum depth of 7 to 8 cm. You can also put dead leaves, straw or shredded cardboard.
If you drink sodas or fruit juices, avoid walking around with classic glasses, you will inevitably attract wasps. Pour your drink into a container with a lid.
How to spot a possible presence of wasps
Wasps like to build their nests in crevices in houses. You need to find all the holes and plug them with a waterproof sealant tape.
These insects are social animals with an instinct that pushes them to flee an area already occupied by fellow birds. Hang a false wasp nest, it must be hung in a place visible to wasps passing by.
Find wasp nests early in the year. Begin your search in late spring and early summer, when the queens settle. Primarily privileged awnings, roof overhangs, but also detritus with cavities. Gloved hands, possibly with a stick, destroy the already built nest.
There are commercially available glass wasp traps with entry from below. Inside, you’ll put sugar water or soda. Wasps enter attracted to sugar, cannot come out and die of fatigue. Every two or three days, throw the water in which the dead wasps float and add sugar water.
How to get rid of a wasp nest ?
Get professional help if you want to dispose of a wasp nest properly and safely. This measure becomes mandatory if you are allergic. It should be noted that some nests may contain only a few dozen wasps. However, in others you can find hundreds or even thousands. A high number of bites can cause you discomfort and even death.
A professional knows how to adopt effective methods and has the necessary equipment, especially if the nest is high up.
It is indeed strongly discouraged to use a ladder to reach a nest. During a wasp attack, you risk losing your balance and seriously injuring yourself.