Summer Stingers: Dealing With Wasps

Ah, summer - the season of sunshine, barbecues, and outdoor fun! As we soak up those warm rays, there's one unwelcome guest who can really put a sting in our summer plans: wasps. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the types of wasps that are likely to show up in Colorado Springs, Denver, Boulder, and Fort Collins, as well as throughout Northern Colorado. We’ll also identify potential nesting sites and risks associated with wasp stings and, of course, explain how to protect your family from stings this summer.

yellow jackets in denver at the entrance of their ground nest

Common types of wasps and where the nest

In Colorado, homeowners are most likely to encounter Vespid wasps, which include paper wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets, on their properties.

Paper wasp nests are built in protected areas such as roof overhangs, under decks, tree branches, shrubs, and even inside homes on attic rafters, inside wall voids, and behind baseboards.

Baldfaced hornets build their ball-shaped nests in shrubs, suspended from tree branches, hanging from the eaves or other parts of structures, and inside playhouses in the yard. If they find a way inside homes, they’re likely to build a nest inside exterior walls.

Yellow jackets build nests in a variety of places, including ground holes, abandoned rodent burrows, and tree stumps. They also nest in trees, shrubs, and man-made structures. Indoor yellow jacket nests are commonly found in wall voids and attics. The shape of their nests depends on the location – for example, a ground nest will be built to fit the space available, while aerial nests are more likely to resemble a football.

Wasps in Colorado are just getting started

This time of year, wasps are very active. They become more active in the spring, reaching their peak activity and population in early fall. Queens have already emerged from their overwintering sites and established new nest locations. They have laid eggs that have hatched into workers. Throughout this month, the queens will keep reproducing, and the workers will keep expanding their nests. Unfortunately, a single wasp nest can contain hundreds to thousands of workers, so we are more likely to encounter these stinging insects this month and throughout the rest of the summer.

Health risks associated with wasp stings

The good news for most Colorado residents is that aside from the local reaction of redness, swelling, and minor discomfort, they probably won’t be bothered by a wasp sting. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology, between 1.6% and 5.1% of U.S. citizens experience life-threatening allergic reactions. That includes stings from yellow jackets, paper wasps, hornets, and honeybees. They further estimate that 1% of hospitalizations and 0.1% of emergency room visits are fatal. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include:

  • Hives
  • Itching & swelling in areas other than the sting site
  • Vomiting
  • Intense nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Tightness in chest & difficulty breathing
  • Hoarse voice
  • Swelling of tongue or throat
  • Difficulty swallowing

So, how do you know if you’re experiencing a more severe reaction? Anaphylaxis can occur within minutes of a sting, with symptoms such as dizziness, a sharp drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, or cardiac arrest.

Wasp prevention tips

To discourage wasp activity in your yard this summer, we recommend the following prevention tips:

  • Keep food and drinks covered when eating outside.
  • Clear away food and trash immediately after eating.
  • Use trash cans that have tight sealing lids.
  • Fill in holes in the ground.
  • Seal openings on the exterior of the house.
  • Keep your grass and shrubs trimmed.

Don’t try to remove a wasp nest on your own

So, what’s a homeowner to do if they find a wasp nest on their property? Removing a nest on your own is risky business; one wrong move and you could have a whole swarm of stinging insects after you. It's not exactly the summer fun you were hoping for.

Contact EnviroPest for expert wasp control

Here at EnviroPest, we have highly trained pest control specialists who have the experience, tools, and safety gear necessary to remove wasp nests unscathed. Moreover, our pest control company has over 50 years of industry experience handling even the most stubborn wasp problems. If you’ve discovered a nest on your property, or worse, in your home, contact us today!

 

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