Although useful sometimes – like in farming where they help control harmful pests by feeding on them – wasps are generally dangerous insects that could cause serious harm when they show up at your home. This is because like bees, wasps can sting – very painfully I might add. But unlike bees that can only sting once, wasps are capable of stinging repeatedly making them more dangerous. To people who are allergic to their sting, the symptoms could turn from mild to fatal within moments after the event.
Like all living things, wasps exist in different sizes and colours. The few features that are common to all the wasp species include: a petiole (small waist) that joins its lower and middle body segments and a lower abdomen that is pointed.
No matter their physical characteristics, all wasps fall into one of two large groups depending on their social behaviour. There are social wasps and solitary wasps. Social wasps prefer to live together forming large colonies with several thousand individual wasps. Solitary wasps, on the other hand, live alone and don’t form colonies. It is the social wasps that are most troublesome when they invade your home due to their large numbers.
The lifecycle of a wasp
After the female wasp has mated, she stores the sperm inside her body where she controls its release for each individual egg she lays. Since fertilisation determines the sex of the offspring (fertilized eggs become females while unfertilised eggs produce males), the female is able to determine the sex of her offspring.
A wasp colony usually starts from a single wasp; the queen. After she identifies a good spot to settle, she uses her saliva and chewed wood to construct a rudimentary nest that is roughly the size of a walnut. It is in this tiny nest that she will lay her first batch of eggs. In a few days, these eggs will hatch into larvae that the queen will take care of herself.
With time, the larvae will transition into the pupal stage otherwise known as the resting stage. They will be in this state for a few days as they develop and when done will emerge as adults. The females produced will then take over caring for the queen’s larvae and nest construction duties. Female wasps live for about 30 days while the queen can live for about twelve months. Males, also called drones, are transitory and live for only a few days.
How do you control wasps?
If you keep seeing wasps flying around inside your home, it means that there might be a nest somewhere close to your house. Follow the wasp’s flight path to identify the location of their nest. When you find it, then you can be able to take appropriate action.