While they may get their name from the paper-like nests they build, there's nothing paper-like about the painful stings these wasps may inflict on you if you get too close. Here's what San Mateo homeowners should know about paper wasp identification in San Mateo, are wasps dangerous, how to prevent paper wasps, and the safest form of wasp and pest control in San Mateo.
What Do Paper Wasps Look Like?
What do wasps look like, and more specifically, paper wasps? While they may be easy to mistake for yellow jackets from a distance, paper wasps have a slimmer, thinner waist and mostly brown coloring. Some paper wasps can have yellow markings, and with some types of paper wasps, you may even find bolder colors like orange or red stripes on some individuals.
From the side, paper wasps may look almost triangular, and you can usually spot the antennae that protrude from their head. These stinging insects always have wings, and they can grow anywhere from ½-inch to 1 ½-inch length, with an average length of around an inch.
How Dangerous Are Paper Wasps?
Compared to more aggressive stinging insects, like yellow jackets, paper wasps don't pose as much of a threat, but they can still be dangerous if you encounter them on your property. What makes paper wasps more harmful or threatening than honeybees is that these insects can sting you as many times as they want without consequence.
Fortunately, paper wasps usually won't sting unless they feel like they're being threatened or the rest of their nest is at risk. However, if you accidentally stumble upon a paper wasp nest in your yard it is easy to be deemed a threat, and these wasps may attack in swarms and sting you multiple times. A few stings may not require medical attention, but if you're swarmed by enough paper wasps, this can become dangerous.
Paper wasp stings are especially troublesome if you're allergic to these wasps or other stinging insects. Some of the symptoms of an allergic reaction to a wasp sting might include:
- Swelling in your lips, throat, or eyelids
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid heartbeat that won't go away
- Faintness, confusion, or dizziness
- Hives or a spreading rash across your skin
- Nausea, vomiting, or cramping
If you begin to experience any of the symptoms listed above after getting stung by a paper wasp, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
Five Paper Wasp Prevention Tips
While it's natural for wasps to make the occasional appearance in your yard (or even your home), it becomes a problem when they build nests on your property. Here are a few steps you can take to discourage wasps from making your property into their own:
- Don't leave open sources of food or sugary drinks around your property, and keep garbage cans closed and sealed.
- Fill in any holes on your property as wasps may use holes as a burrow for their nests. Repair broken siding or panels around your property and home to ensure wasps don't make their nests there.
- Remove nectar or bird food that may be drawing wasps to your yard.
- Use natural wasp-repellent plants like spearmint, eucalyptus, and wormwood around your property.
- Buying a decoy wasp nest could deter other wasps from building their nest on your property if they think another hive has already made it their home.
Keep in mind that you should never try to remove a paper wasp nest on your own. As mentioned above, an encounter with paper wasps can turn dangerous, so you're always better off using the pros.
The Safest Form Of Wasp Control
Even if paper wasps aren't as aggressive as some types of stinging insects, that doesn't mean you want them living or building a nest on your San Mateo property. Given how dangerous they can be if you do encroach upon their territory, there's only one safe and effective way to get rid of paper wasps in San Mateo, and that's by enlisting the professional pest control help of Pacific Pest Management.
With consistent five-star ratings from our customers and award-winning service, we are the trusted choice for paper wasp management and nest removal for San Mateo homeowners. If you think you've stumbled upon a wasp nest or you're just finding more and more paper wasps around your San Mateo yard, there's only one thing to do. Contact us at Pacific Pest Management to learn more about our stinging insect control services or to schedule a free estimate.
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