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Mistakes Westchester Homeowners Make to Attract Stinging Insects

Advice From Moyer Indoor | Outdoor

In our Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland service area, there are two extremely aggressive stinging insects. Those are the two we're going to be talking about today. And those stinging insects are the yellow jacket and the paper wasp. Here are some of the ways your property may be attracting these wasps.

When wasps are searching for a place to establish their nest on your property, there are two factors that will impact their decision to move in, food resources and harborage options. But these two factors vary slightly depending on whether you’re dealing with yellow jackets or paper wasps.

paper wasp on nest

Paper Wasp Harborage

These wasps build aerial nests out of wood fiber that they get from weathered wood. If you don't have any weathered wood on your property such as an old fence, deck, shed, etc., these wasps will have a harder time making nests on your property and may decide to go where they can find an excess amount of this resource. The queen wasps of this species prefer to establish their nests near wood material that they can chew and mix with saliva to create the paper for their nests.

Those queens will also be on the lookout for a proper location. Unfortunately, they have many options for this. They can build their nests under an overhang, under a roofline, in rafters, and in any other sheltered spot around your home. Their main goal is to find a location where their nests won’t be damaged by the rain.

Yellow Jacket Harborage

These wasps build both aerial nests and ground nests. However, their ground nests are particularly troublesome because the vibration from a lawn mower can set these wasps off and end up in an unfortunate encounter with these stinging insects and sometimes even a trip to the hospital. Yellow jackets often create their nests in holes abandoned by other animals, gaps in tree root systems, and sometimes inside cavities in the structure of a home. And the more holes you have in your yard, the more interesting your property will be to yellow jackets.

When they build areal nests, they usually chose a location that is close to the ground such as a shrub or the lower part of a tree. If you have shrubs in your yard, you may be offering a harborage option for invading yellow jackets.

Food Sources For Wasps

Both yellow jackets and paper wasps are drawn to similar food sources. And the more food your property provides them, the more likely they are to choose your property to establish their nests in.

  • Bugs: Wasps feed on other insects. One of the best ways to prevent wasp nests on your property is to have routine pest control treatments that address insect populations around your home.

  • Trash: Wasps can find a lot to eat inside your trash and are especially attracted to sweets and meats. It is important to make sure that all your exterior trash is kept in sealed receptacles and to keep those receptacles clean to reduce odors that can lure wasps in.

  • Fruit: If you have fruit trees or berry bushes on your property, wasps are likely to take notice. To prevent wasps from creating nests near this tasty food source, do your best to pick up fruit that has fallen on the ground.

Other Wasp Attractants

Along with a plentiful food source, those wasps will need a source of water. If you have puddles on your property due to rainwater collection or water sprinkled into flower pots, vegetable gardens, and landscaping, those wasps will take advantage of these water sources.

Wasps also eat the nectar of flowers. The more flowers you have on your property, the more interesting your property will be to stinging insects, including wasps. They're also drawn to bright colors and floral patterns as they remind them of the flowers whose nectar they feed on.

If you leave a cup of juice or a can of soda outside, wasps may take advantage of that source of sweet liquid just as they would a flower with sweet nectar in it. In addition, if you leave pet food outside, wasps will nibble away at it to get the protein they need.

How To Prevent Wasps

The best solution for wasps is ongoing pest control service because it doesn't just address wasps, but comprehensively deals with all the pest threats in your yard, especially pests that go from your yard to the interior of your home and spread illness, damage your property, and cause structural damage to your home.

If you live in Westchester, we'd like you to know about Exterior Guard, Complete Home Guard, and Complete Home Guard PLUS. These programs provide Westchester residents with ongoing protection from a wide range of pest threats, and they all come with wasp and yellow jacket protection. To learn more about these programs, check out our wasp & yellow jacket resource page.

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