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Red Wasp: Identification, Sting & How to Get Rid of Them

Red wasp on a white background.

All wasps belong to the order known as Hymenoptera. They are also a part of the suborder referred to as Apocrita. Red wasp’s scientific name is “Polistes Carolina.” Red wasps are found in Eastern US expanding from Texas to Nebraska. They are one of the two forms of paper wasps.

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Red Wasp Identification

1. Body Structure and Size

Red wasps are an inch or two in length. They have a red colored body with dark wings of purplish-black color. They have a reddish brown head with brown stripes on the abdomen.

2. Diet, Habits, and Behaviour

A red wasp preys on hairy, striped caterpillars congregated on a leaf.Red wasps are found throughout the Eastern and central portions of the US. The male species of red wasps do not sting the female species, however, will sting if you threaten their nests. They build their nests in exposed locations such as outbuildings example storage sheds and house eaves. Red wasps eat flies and consume dead insects to feed their young ones with small sized insects.

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3. Nest and Colony

It is a type of social wasps who build nests and around 8000-9000 wasps live together. Red wasps are a form of social insects, and their colony consists of three different types of individuals which include fertile queen, males, and sterile workers. They start building their colonies in spring when a female who is mated emerges from her overwintering site where she was protected to search for a place so that they can build nests.

4. Reproduction and Life Span

Within each nest cell the fertile queen will lay their egg. As soon as the egg hatches a larva or grub-like stage is formed which is similar to the chewed body part of insects by wasps. Once the larvae transform to pupae and both of them have completed their cycle then an adult wasp is formed who help in protecting the nest and take care of the newly born larvae, this allows the fertile queen to lay down further eggs. Red wasps are usually active throughout the day but return to their nests at night.

They continue their seasonal activity during the warm weathers, and they start housing more than 800-900 individuals while growing their nests. In the early fall or late summers, the worker wasps die, and the reproductive females and males leave their nest and start mating. As soon as they are done with mating, the male species die while the females search for a protective place for winters. These females will gradually start the red wasp colonies during the following spring. Red wasps never reuse their nests. The males and the worker wasps live over the nectar which is collected from flowers or sweetened food wastes within the garbage cans or inside sweet liquid containers.

Red Wasp Sting and Treatment

1. Sting Symptoms

Following are the sting symptoms such as pain, swelling, irritation, an allergic reaction which may result in difficulty while breathing, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion and ultimately death.

2. Treatment

Every individual reacts differently to the wasp sting. Some immediate things which you should follow to relieve pain are: Use cold compresses which include cold flannel or ice pack. Take painkillers, for example, ibuprofen or paracetamol to provide you the soothing effect against any pain. Take antihistamines to help reduce the localized swellings associated with the sting.

If you are not sure about the wasp sting, then consult a medical professional or doctor. The anaphylaxis or allergic reaction can also occur if someone is sensitive to the wasp’s sting poison which is a rare reaction, but when it occurs, it is fatal.

If someone shows severe symptoms after being stung by the wasp so immediately call an ambulance.Following are the serious symptoms: Difficulty breathing, wheezing, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness, feeling faint, swollen mouth or face, problems in swallowing.

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3. Warnings & Precautions

Wasp nests should be removed which is the reliable way to get rid of wasps around your locality and prevents the risk of nasty stings. If you left your property untreated and the nest remains throughout the summer season, you will face the wasp problem.Call the professional exterminator to remove the wasps.

How to Control Them

Red wasps provide benefits to human by capturing small insects and feeding to their larvae which help to monitor the pest population.

1. Wasp Spray

Insecticide spray for insects.Purchase a pesticide spray which is highly effective against wasps and kills them readily. Active pesticides are efficient to kill wasps instead of the ones designed for small pests.Follow the safety measures and wear protective clothing and target the nest openings with the pesticide spray. Apply the spray for 15-20 seconds and then vacate the area immediately.

The spray will be effective overnight so leave it there. Repeat the process, if you observe any activity around the nest the next morning. Once the wasps stop the action and die, it is better to knock off the nest with a long stick. Use this stick to destruct the nest and saturate rest of the pieces with the help of pesticide spray. Discard the dead wasps and broken pieces as soon as you find them.

2. Mechanical Removal

It is a method which is highly effective for prevention and monitoring of red wasp issues. The red wasps may pick up a threatening location for their nests which should be removed before it converts into a larger nest. Try to stop the nest building process in earlier stages so that you can achieve the desired results.

3. The Water Hose/A Long Garden Tool

Long garden tool or water hose can be used to knock down the nests but keep in mind the distance between the nest and you as much as possible. Try to work at night so that all the members of the wasp colony are inactive and return to the nests; this will minimize the chances of you being stung by the wasps and allows to destruct the nest completely.Make a planning strategy and escape route plan before you try to remove the nest so that you can manage to run if the wasps start swarming over you and get ready to sting you.

4. Call Your Pest Management Professional (PMP)

However, control products and wasp freeze are readily available at hardware stores or gardens, it is recommended to contact the pest management professional (PMP) because they can efficiently and safely deal with the wasp colonies.

Red wasps that infest your homes should be removed by crushing, trapping or vacuuming but take precautions from being stung by the wasps. Although you can perform these steps, the best approach is to contact the pest management professional within your locality if you have following situation:

  • The nest is constructed in a hard-to-reach location under the concrete slab, wall or attic so that you will need professional help.
  • It is advisable to contact professional exterminator in conditions where you are sensitive to a wasp sting and may result in an allergic reaction. So in these circumstances avoid removing the nest on your own as it is dangerous. Even if you are not allergic, wasp sting is very nasty and dangerous that is why you should avoid knocking them down without any professional help.

How to Prevent Red Wasps Infestation

Avoid open or hollow spaces near your trees or homes because the wasps attract the dark and protected places. Wasps gather around food containers, opened waste bins and compost so seal the garbage receptacles and avoid access to the leftover food residue.

If still, the wasp infestation occurs there are a variety of methods to get rid of them which are easily available at gardening or hardware equipment store. Insecticides and pesticides are effective wasp control methods. Apply these sprays to the nest openings, but a distance should be maintained between you and the nest while spraying, although it is not safe and may put the pets and children at risk of poisoning.

There is another safe option to get rid of wasps by burning them while using a lighted match stick or torch.

Conclusion

Red wasps are in close link with the humans. They can be left untreated if not damaging the property. You should try not to hurt their nest while walking around the nest otherwise they are aggressive and sting you causing multiple wasp sting symptoms. They provide benefits to the ecosystem by helping in pollination and reduce the number of uncontrolled pests.

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