Some people – okay, the vast majority – hate wasps and hornets, and it’s all thanks to their reputation as reckless stingers. But there’s a lot more to the common yellow jacket, paper wasp, and bald faced hornet than their aggressive nature and piercing stingers – and by that we mean there’s so much more to hate.
For one, they have very little upside to humans; besides a bit of pollination (they’re inefficient in this regard anyway, especially compared to bees) and acting as a natural form of pest control in the garden, we could certainly live without them.
Knowing more about wasps and hornets will help you truly appreciate your dislike of them, affirming your bias towards the bugs all along.
We’re only half-joking when we say that, but you can make your final judgment on these airborne pests with these five wasp and hornet facts.
Hornets Love (to Eat) Bees.
There’s nothing a hornet loves more than a honey bee (because they’re so sweet!). Jokes aside, hornets are fond of their distant pollinator relative because they eat them. Bees are a source of protein, and after featuring as the main course, the honey they produce is a fine dessert post-bee brunch.
Giant hornets predominantly feast on honey bee colonies. It only takes a small number to wipe out an entire colony. Thanks to their size and strength, just one giant hornet can kill 40 honey bees per minute. Honey bees have developed a peculiar defense as a response, however; before a hornet scout can release pheromones to attract their friends, honey bees will swarm the lonesome hornet, vibrating their bodies rapidly against it until the hornet is roasted alive.
Despite the honey bees’ evolutionary defense, hornets will always adore the sight of honey bees, as they’re usually the ones taking in the relationship. So if you think your relationship is one-sided, just remember what honey bees need to deal with.
Some Hornets Nest Underground.
If you thought getting rid of wasps and hornet’s nests in trees or off your roof was troublesome, try removing them when they’re constructed beneath your feet.
Some hornets opt for shade and security, choosing to go underground and squat in abandoned rodent burrows. They can be under gardens, parks, or other human-populated outdoor hangouts, making them a real threat. Stepping on a nest will incur the wrath of the colony, resulting in a Benny Hill chase as the hornets try to sting you for destroying their home.
Wasps Never Wander Alone.
Is there anything more pleasing than walloping a wasp before they get the chance to sting you first? That moment of satisfaction is short-lived due to a wasp’s final way to infuriate you from beyond the grave.
When wasps and hornets die, they release pheromones, which is a distinct smell that acts as a call-to-arms for the colony. The other insects are warned of the impending danger, and will either flee – or more likely – fly in to support their fallen comrade.
Killing one wasp could create an angry mob of their friends, so make sure you’re adept at the classic hit-and-run technique.
Wasps Will Eat Just About Anything.
Wasps and hornets are omnivores in every sense. Not only will they chow down on nectar or fallen fruits, but honey bees, caterpillars, and other carrion as well. They also enjoy the sweet syrup secretion that their larvae produce. They’ll even eat garbage, making them true trash disposals of the insect kingdom.
Their food habits change depending on the time of year, too. This shift can be seen in the late summer and into fall, from August into October. This alteration of preference also changes their mood, as this is when wasps and hornets are known to attack humans with more frequency.
Wasps and Hornets Can Endure Winters.
‘Winter is coming’ means nothing to wasps and hornets. The fertilized queens in the insects’ colony are able to hibernate, or last via ‘overwintering’. Since wasps don’t store food, the queens rely on their own body fat to sustain them through the cold season.
The queens are relatively comfortable in the changing seasons; when the winter hits, they’ll build a brand new nest and cells to house in. All the other wasps in the colony perish in the winter, and the queen isn’t keen on living with carcasses of her fallen family for the next few months.
Having any sort of wasp or hornet population near your home, therefore, will never go away thanks to the queens’ ability to survive year round.
Wasp’s and hornet’s other hostile traits gives ample reason to dislike them for more than their stinger. All of these characteristics give wily wasps the uncanny ability to persist and linger – from living underground, to an adaptable diet, and even the ability to endure Canadian winters.
Getting rid of wasps – the yellow jacket, paper wasp, and bald faced hornet being prime examples – can be difficult without a proper pest control strategy. Magical Pest’s Wasp and Hornet Removal Division will create a wasp removal plan that will efficiently get rid of your pest problems for good. Call the experts at Magical Pest Control at 905-738-6676 or send us a message for a free phone consultation.