Buzz, buzz, it’s that time of year again. Wasp season is here and stronger than ever, especially for the Alabama Red Wasp.
The red paper wasp, known as Polistes Carolina, is one of the two existing species of social wasps. According to National Geographic, these red wasps are in the Vespidae, or stinging wasp, family. The wasp is a small, inch-long flying insect with dark wings, a bright red body, and a stinger that can inflict severely painful stings. These devil-like insects have reddish-brown hair with brown stripes on their abdomen. They are most commonly found during the summer in Alabama but across the United States, from Texas to Nebraska.
What is so scary about these wasps? Well, they tend to be more aggressive than other species of paper wasps, with females being the ones that sting. (Not that we would ever know if the wasp that stung us is male or female, but okay insect experts, I’ll give you this one.) When a red wasp stings, it injects a tiny load of venom into the skin, resulting in a sharp painful burning sensation, with potential swelling. Not only do they sting when they feel attacked, they actually release alarm pheromones, alerting other wasps of danger. This can lead to swarming and more stings.
Yup, these social wasps live in colonies, with hundreds of other wasps living in a single nest at one time. These colonies are built in spring when the female, who is matted, emerges from the overwintering site, where she will proceed to search for a place to build their wasp nest. There are usually 8000-9000 wasps in the nest. These social insects are made up of three different types of individuals, including the fertile queen, males, and sterile workers. They build their nest by breaking down wood and plant fibers to form a papery substance. The substance is then shaped, forming a honeycomb cell structure when it dries. Wasps usually lie in hollow portions of trees beneath bridges, garbage cans, or storage sheds, and will sting whenever they feel their nest is threatened.
Our recommendation when you see a wasp nest? Stay away, run a fast as you can, and don’t look back. It’s best to stay away from this evil stinging beast. Why? If stung, you can expect severe pain and swelling, difficulty breathing, vomiting, dizziness, and nausea. The sting will also cause you to itch and irritate your skin. Although everyone reacts differently to the sting, some immediate methods to relieve pain are applying cold compression to the wound, taking ibuprofen to soothe the effect of the pain, and taking antihistamines to help reduce the sting. If you are allergic to wasp stings, or prone to severe allergic reactions, you should probably seek medical attention immediately.
Now, what can you do to when you encounter a nest full of these stinging insects and can’t just turn tail and run? Wasp spray! It’s as simple as it sounds. Go out and purchase foam pesticide spray. These sprays are usually highly effective on wasps and can kill them, unlike your regular ones designed ones from small insects. Make sure you follow the safety measures on the back of the can and wear protective clothing when spraying the nest’s opening. Make sure you leave the area immediately after applying the spray.. You can go ahead and remove the nest 24 hours after you sprayed the pesticide, but make sure and use a long stick to knock off the nest. DO. NOT. USE. YOUR. HANDS.
Now, we are not telling you to go ahead and use the wasp spray to solve all your problems. But, it might help to get rid of small batches. If things get out of hand, or you feel you need help you can always call your local Pest Management Professional so they can safely and efficiently deal with the wasp colonies.
This article was originally published on July 25, 2020.