What do you do when you hear a loud crash in your house at night? Do you jump out of bed or sit dazed as your mind races to understand what you just heard? Do you ask someone else to investigate or take matters into your own hands? When fear strikes, we react in several ways. We may run from what is scaring us, take steps to avoid the problem, or figure out how to alleviate our fear. The last option is the most difficult but is the only way to conquer our phobias.
Encountering mice, rats, and cockroaches strike terror in most people, and most would put hornets and wasps into the same category. These small stinging insects cause people to run screaming into the house as they duck for cover. Many of us have unpleasant childhood memories of encounters with wasps, hornets, or worse, a nest full of them.
If wasps and hornets are on your property, disrupting outdoor family gatherings or striking fear into the heart of family members, you need the Houston pest control team from All-Safe Pest & Termite. Our independent pest control company has successfully battled these flying fortresses since 1984. Years of consistent quality and customer satisfaction have earned us thousands of five-star reviews, awards for customer service, and numerous service award honors from metroplex publications.
One key to combating fear is education. The more you learn, the more you understand how to diffuse a scary situation or respond appropriately. If you want to be proactive in your battle against these pests, please continue to read as we answer some common questions.
How To Identify Common Hornets And Wasps
A few years ago, the nation was on high alert for so-called murder hornets, and many have wondered if they are in Texas. Before we solve the mystery, let's get some basic facts about wasps and hornets.
Wasps and hornets are similar in many ways but have a few differences. Let's begin with the similarities. Wasps and hornets are insects, and as insects, they both have six jointed legs, a three-part body (head, thorax, and abdomen), two antennae, wings, compound eyes, and a stinger. Not only are wasps and hornets classified as insects, but they are in the same family (Vespidae) and order (Hymenoptera). To further confuse the situation, one can say that hornets are wasps, but not all wasps are hornets. For example, yellow jackets and cicada killers are wasps, although sometimes people mistake cicada killer wasps for hornets.
Since hornets and wasps are closely related, it can be difficult to distinguish between the two types of stinging insects, but hornets are different in these ways:
- Nest location
- Abdomen shape
- Body length
- Body marks
Hornets are social insects, which means that they live in colonies. Hornets create paper-like nests in trees, shrubs, underneath eaves, and other protected locations. Bald faced hornets in Texas average about 400 female workers in the nest. The size and location of a wasp's nest depend upon the species. Wasps may be social or semi-social (e.g., paper wasps) or solitary (e.g., mud daubers) depending upon the species; they may also create aerial nests (e.g., paper wasps) or build them in the ground (e.g., yellow jackets). The size of a social wasp's nest also depends upon the species. A yellow jacket colony may swell to 4,000 workers, while a paper wasp has only a handful of wasps in the nest.
The third part of an insect's body is the abdomen. This part of flying insects that sting is the most feared because that is where you will find the stinger. Wasps tend to have a slender backend, whereas hornets are plumper. Most wasps have a shorter body length (5/8 to 3/4 inch) than most hornets; however, the cicada killer wasp is an exception with its 1 to 2-inch long body, causing many to mistake it for a hornet.
Technically, hornets are not in Texas because the bald faced hornet is a yellow jacket, but since they are called hornets, we will go along with the crowd. Bald faced hornets are known as hornets because, like a true hornet (i.e., the European hornet), they create aerial nests in trees, bushes, etc., and have a rounder abdomen. Although they are technically yellow jackets, bald faced hornets do not have the same body markings. Instead of a black body with yellow stripes, bald-faced hornets have black bodies with white markings on the face, legs, and abdomen.
So what kind of hornet were people reporting as a murder hornet in Texas? What many thought was murder hornets flying on their properties were cicada killer wasps. These wasps have larger bodies than bald faced hornets (1 to 1 1/2 inches long) and have a yellow and black abdomen similar to a yellow jacket. How do you know if you have bald-faced hornets or cicada killer wasps in your Houston yard? Since cicada killer wasps and bald faced hornets have larger bodies than the typical wasp species, look at the shape of the abdomen, markings, and nesting locations. Cicada killer waps are solitary wasps who do not build aerial nests but create their homes in loose soil.
All-Safe Pest & Termite provides a wasp removal service in Houston. Whether you have paper wasps, mud daubers, yellow jackets, bald face hornets, or whatever the stinging pest, we can eliminate it and prevent a future inundation on your property.
Hornets And Wasps Can Be Dangerously Aggressive
The experience of a wasp or hornet flying toward you is scary. Nearly 500,000 people visit emergency rooms annually due to stings from these insects. Unlike honey bees that can sting only once because their jagged stingers get caught in the skin when they attempt to fly away, wasps and hornets have smooth stingers allowing them to sting victims multiple times.
When a hornet or wasp nest is disturbed, these insects will swarm to neutralize the threat. Hornets are more aggressive than wasps, but fortunately, the venom in their stingers is not as potent. However, because a hornet will sting its victim multiple times, an individual may experience more skin irritation and more powerful allergic reactions.
Although most people don't intentionally disturb a bald faced hornet's nest, they may accidentally do so because they tend to build pulpous, paper-like nests on low-hanging branches and in shrubs about three feet off the ground. On the other hand, yellow jackets and cicada killer wasps build their nests in the dirt (although yellow jackets may build them in attics), which may be inadvertently disturbed when mowing the yard.
Hornets and wasps are more aggressive in the late summer and early fall because their nests are becoming overcrowded. To avoid a trip to the emergency room or experiencing an allergic reaction, contact All-Safe Pest & Termite for your hornet and wasp pest control needs.
Five Environmentally-Friendly Stinging Insect Prevention Tips
The presence of wasps and hornets can ruin a relaxing picnic in the yard or disrupt a family gathering. To avoid panic, injuries, and disruptions from these stinging insects, here are five ways to prevent them from overtaking your Houston property:
- Remove items that collect water
- Eliminate fallen trees and yard debris
- Keep outdoor trash containers sealed
- Clean up fallen fruit in the yard
- Avoid planting flowering plants near the house
Keep food and drinks covered until you are ready to eat when hosting a party or event. Although these tips will make your property less enticing, a stinging insect may wander in, so to avoid a confrontation, avoid wearing sweet-smelling perfumes and colognes, wear protective clothing, and avoid floral print patterns.
Ensure window and exterior doors have screens and are hole-free, seal foundation cracks and crevices along the roof line, and cover all crawl space and attic vents with a fine wire mesh screen to ensure wasps and hornets don't enter your Houston home. When you contact All-Safe Pest & Termite for hornet control, we can advise you with additional tips based on your property.
The Most Effective Way To Keep Wasps And Hornets Away Forever
The best way to keep your family safe is to let All-Safe Pest & Termite protect your family from these stinging insects. Whether you need wasp nest removal in Houston or preventative protection, we can help. When you schedule an inspection, a trained technician will inspect your property for attractants and access points. We will investigate the property for nests in shrubs, trees, and eaves. We will share our findings with you so you can eliminate attractants, seal entry points, and minimize any risk from them in the future.
We will remove nests and use a residual product that stops the wasps and hornets from returning. If you choose a reoccurring plan, we will treat the eaves and other potential hot spots each time we visit to keep the different wasps in Houston away from your home. Contact All-Safe Pest & Termite today to learn about our service plans and get a free estimate.