Wasps don't have a lot going on upstairs. What we mean by this is that they don't look at your property the way you do. They have itty bitty brains. When they look at your property, they don't consider the view. They aren't wondering what schools are near your neighborhood. They don't select your property because the backyard is perfect for having family gatherings, like birthdays and graduations. Wasps go where food is found and where habitation is favorable. There isn't much more going on in their brains. If you understand the foods they eat and where they are likely to establish nests, you can deter them from living on your property. Let's look at wasp infestations in a new and fresh way. We'll discuss common wasps and their common habits, what wasps do in your yard, and wasp prevention tips that really work. At any time, if you'd like to speak to a professional about your wasp concerns, feel free to contact us. We're here to help you with all of your Orange County pest control needs.

wasp crawling on nest

Characteristics Of Common Wasps

We're often told, "I have a bee problem." However, when we show up, the insects aren't bees at all. The first thing to understand is how bees and wasps are different. First, bees are furry. Wasps don't have noticeable hairs, they're nice and smooth. Second, bees aren't as troublesome, it is much more common to have wasp problems in Orange County. Third, some bees are just passing through. A swarm of bees may appear in your yard one day and disappear the next. But if you see a swarm of wasps, there is no chance they'll go away. There are more distinctions, but these are the most important. 

When it comes to understanding the characteristics of common wasps in Orange County, it is important to note that there are different types of wasps. Some wasps are called hornets. While they have a different name, they do many of the same things, such as building ground or aerial nests and gathering into a swarm to chase you across your yard.

  • Ground nests are often found in landscaping. You can deter certain wasps from creating ground nests simply by filling in ground holes.
  • Aerial nests are above-ground nests. You may find one in a tree, on a utility pole, in a bush, or on the side of your home. They are egg-shaped and made of gray paper-like material.
  • Social wasps protect their nests. If you disturb a nest, the drones will release a pheromone scent that inspires the swarming behavior. When that happens, it is time to move quickly away without swinging your arms. You may look foolish, but it can reduce the number of stings you get.

Under the category of "wasp" pests, there are a few species to consider. They are somewhat unique in how they behave. Some create ground nests and others aerial nests. Some are social while others are solitary. Some prefer sugary food sources and others are drawn to protein. The most common wasps are paper wasps, yellow jackets, mud daubers, and cicada killer wasps.

  • Paper wasps and yellow jackets are social insects that swarm. Mud daubers and cicada killer wasps are solitary and don't swarm. All of these wasps eat nectar from flowers and are attracted to properties with lots of flowers. All of these wasps are also attracted to properties with drinking water resources.
  • Yellow jackets and cicada killer wasps eat nectar but are strongly attracted to sources of protein. Yellow jackets are drawn to properties by the scent of garbage. Cicada killer wasps eat cicada bugs and are attracted to properties where this food source is found. 
  • Paper wasps and mud daubers create aerial nests while yellow jackets and cicada killer wasps create nests in voids (often ground holes).
  • Cicada killer wasps are burrowing insects and will excavate ground burrows. Yellow jackets do not burrow. They use available holes such as holes created by small animals. 

Hopefully, you are starting to see the wasp control picture. If you are able to control any of these factors, you can deter wasps from living on your property. We'll get to the specifics of wasp pest control in a moment. First, let's talk about what wasps do in your yard and why it is important to catch a wasp problem early. 

The Problem With Wasps Hanging Around Your Yard

We don't have to tell you that wasps are stinging insects. That is the primary problem they present. What you may not realize is some of the unique ways their common habits increase the risks of you being stung. Understanding these behaviors will add to the wasp control and prevention picture.

  • Wasps that create aerial nests can sometimes get into your home. As they're checking your roofline or some other favorable location, they may go right in through your window. Screens can help to prevent this. They may also hide in your eaves and find their way into attic spaces or bedrooms and bathrooms on your second or third floor.
  • Wasps that create ground nests may also create a nest in a structural void. If you have a gap in your exterior, wasps can fill your wall voids with a nest. If the void provides access to interior spaces, you're in trouble.
  • Wasps that have a nest-protection instinct are more dangerous near their nests. It is okay to have these pests visit your yard, as they help with pollination and take care of spiders and other pests. But it isn't good to have a nest on your property. As a nest grows, the risk of getting stung grows with it.
  • Wasps create nests in places you or your kids may hang out in the yard. They are known to create nests on the ceilings of open porches, in newspaper slots on mailbox posts, in landscaping, under porches, and inside swingsets.  

Proactive wasp inspections and immediate wasp removal are key to preventing problems with wasps in Orange County. Let's turn our attention to some of the ways you can guard yourself against having wasp problems in your yard.

Ways To Prevent Wasps From Hanging Out In Your Backyard

You know a lot about wasps now, so these tips will make complete sense. Use this quick bullet list to help you evaluate the conditions on your property and make changes wherever possible. When you get ahead of potential wasp issues, you have fewer surprises while you're out in your yard working or relaxing.

  • Clean your trash receptacles with soapy water and make sure all of your receptacles have covers.
  • Don't overfill trash receptacles as this can cause the cover to have a gap that stinging insects can slip past.
  • Address lawn weed issues in your yard. All of those tiny flowers are a food source for stinging insects.
  • Remove anything that creates a sweet smell, like air fresheners. Wasps mistake some man-made scents for the smell of flowers.
  • Address moisture problems, such as damaged gutters, gutter clogs, and dense vegetation in your landscaping.
  • Consider removing hummingbird feeders. Sugary water sources are a treat for wasps.
  • Fill in ground holes in your landscaping and throughout your yard.
  • Patch holes in playground equipment and address holes in other objects in your yard.
  • Pest-proof your home to keep wasps out. The tools for this job are a caulking gun and a few cans of expanding foam. Wear gloves when using expanding foam, it adheres to the skin.
  • Consider removing sandboxes. Cicada killer wasps prefer sand because it is easier to excavate.

The above list is not comprehensive. It is meant to provide you with the building blocks you need to make decisions about the environment around your home. When you remove food and harborage options, wasps may decide to live on another property, instead of yours.

The Trick To Total Wasp Control For Your Home And Yard

When you want the best protection possible for wasps, it helps to have a year-round pest control service plan. One of the primary benefits of a professional stinging insect control plan is that you don't have to think about wasps. Your technician will come and routinely inspect your property and catch wasp activity and wasp nests early. Plus, your technician knows the best way to get rid of a wasp nest when one is found on your property. If you already have enough to think about and would prefer to not have to think about wasps, contact HomeShield Pest Control. When you have a customized pest control service plan for your home, you'll get protection from all of the pests that concern you, including wasps. We visit your home routinely throughout the year, apply appropriate treatments, and catch any potential problems early. There is no better way to maintain a wasp-free yard and a pest-free home. Call us or connect with us through our contact page. The service team at HomeShield Pest Control looks forward to helping you find the perfect fit for your pest control needs. We are a pest control industry leader in Orange County. You can count on our team for effective home pest control solutions and impeccable service, every time.