AMPM Exterminators can be kept busy taking care of the multiple colonies of yellow jackets and wasps at a single house or building complex.It turns out that Washington’s human inhabitants aren’t the only species benefiting from one of the most splendid early summers in years. The warm,sunny weather has also spawned a bumper crop of yellow jackets and other wasps in many parts of washington state. But despite their prickly nature, the state’s 15 wasp species serve a valuable function, consuming enormous numbers of flies, caterpillars and other insects.
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The biggest headaches are often caused by invasive species, such as the German wasp, a kind of yellow jacket that first showed up in Washington in 1980, but is now widespread. Unlike the native Western yellow jackets, which usually nest underground in abandoned rodent burrows or other cavities, the German variety is equally happy to take up residence inside the walls of houses.
Bald Faced hornets, which despite the name are actually wasps, are the architects of the distinctive, football-sized nests found dangling from trees and shrubs. Their ivory-and-black coloration sets them apart from most of washington state’s other common species.
The region is also home to several species of paper wasps. Distinguished by their slender bodies and habit of dangling their legs when they fly, paper wasps build small, umbrella-shaped nests with exposed combs. The paper wasps are less aggressive than yellow jackets, but some varieties, like the nonnative European paper wasp, seem attracted to human habitations.
This year’s mild spring and warm summer have been favorable to wasps in two ways. More overwintering queens survive when the weather is mild, and wasp metabolism and growth rates rev up at high temperatures.
But populations vary widely across the state. In some regions, the insects aren’t particularly plentiful this year.Invariably, wasps are most troublesome to people in late summer and earlyfall, as colonies which originate with a single queen reach their maximum.Some yellow-jacket nests can swell to 10,000 workers, all female, and all focused on feeding and protecting the larval brood.
That’s why wasps make a beeline for picnic lunches, particularly the meat course. Normally, the wasps would haul insects back to the nest, but ham or barbecued ribs might smell even better and are decent sources of protein. Wasps don’t discriminate and like it and will also zero in on sweets like rotten fruit, tree sap or cola.
Spraying often does not help. In the case of yellow jacket nests, most of the insects are inside and will not be contacted by the spray. They will be flying tomorrow! The effects of the spray on other organisms, especially pollinators, may be worse than the mild threat posed by the wasps. I always prefer direct physical removal. The wasps will all be in the nest at night. In a protective suit I carefully approach the nest with a double-thick plastic garbage bag. I quickly clasp the bag around the nest, pull it off its attachment point, and then seal the bag. Sometimes I have to clip off a few branches from the tree to reach the nest. Once in the bag, the nest can be frozen, burned, or buried. If it is small enough to freeze I later remove the larval combs and feed them to my chickens. Once I remove a wasp nest from a ceiling space or a wall I carefully seal up the point at which the wasps entered so another colony will not form there next year.
Unlike bees, which can only sting once, wasps are equipped with a syringe-like stinger that can deliver four or five injections before it runs out of venom. It’s a defense mechanism, to protect the nest from marauding mammals. It’s best not to smash the wasps. It can backfire.
Humans require a little patience to get past the wasp onslaught. As the weather cools, colonies die out but during the high onslaught of colonies call AMPM Exterminators to take care of the wasp and yellow jackets attack.
The queens stop producing new workers and lay eggs that will develop into next season’s queens and their male consorts.
After mating, the males die and the inseminated queens find a sheltered spot under a wood pile, behind tree bark or in an attic to wait out the winter.
Bottom line here is to identify the pests, the location around the home or business. Wasps and yellow jackets. Call AMPM Exterminators.
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Company Name: Bees, Yellow Jacket & Hornet Pest Control Services in Seattle, Redmond, Bellevue, Renton, Kent & Eastside, WA
Contact Person: Daniel Hunts
Address:3213 W Wheeler St. Suite 81
Country: United States