Florida’s #1 Stinging Pests – Wasps

Stinging Pests can ruin your patio party quickly.  First, you hear a buzzing noise.  Then, you swat at the buzzing, flying noise, and soon, you and your guests are running for cover indoors.  The sad news is your outdoor party is over.  Wasps are the most feared of all the stinging pests here in South Florida.  Here’s why…

Unlike bees, that sting only once before they die, wasps can and will sting multiple times, especially if they’re stirred up or scared. Florida is home to basically two main types of wasps – the cicada killer and the paper wasp.

Paper wasps are social insects and their nests are made of a mixture of bits of wood and paper and wasp saliva and feature one or more honeycomb-shaped openings.  Paper wasps are known as the “sweets and meats” wasp – you might find one feeding on grilled meats or perched on the lid of your opened soda can while you picnic.  Paper wasps are not pollinators and are smaller in size – between ¾ and 1 inch – and they can be any color from reddish-brown to black.  All have yellowish marks on the abdomen and are often confused with yellow jackets.

The cicada killer wasp, as it’s name suggests, kills cicadas and buries them with larvae, or grubs, underground.  These wasps are large – up to two inches – and, unlike paper wasps and most others, they don’t live in large groups. These wasps nest individually.  They are striking in appearance, with yellow stripes on a black body.  The head and thorax are both reddish brown.

Though some are more aggressive than others, most wasps will only bother you if they feel threatened.  Keeping a safe distance from nests can help you. If you do find yourself near a wasp, remain calm – flailing, loud noises, or sudden motion may make a wasp feel threatened and therefore more likely to sting.

Often wasp nests need to be removed – if a nest has been set up inside your home, barn, or other structure, for instance, you may need to call a professional such as Vulcan Pest Control, to have the nest safely taken out. Remember, wasp removal is not a do it yourself job. You need a professional who has the right equipment and experience to do the job.

Remember that wasp stings are rarely fatal, though they can cause considerable discomfort.

If you are stung, icing down the sting site can help ease some of the pain and inflammation. Anyone who is allergic to wasp stings should call 911 immediately.

For the most part, wasps are peaceful, even beneficial creatures, and living in harmony with them can simplify your summer.