Wasp Control for You and Your Horse
If you think you’re seeing more wasps than usual this year, you’re probably seeing a critter we inherited recently from Europe, the European paperwasp.
The European paperwasp Polistes dominulus was first recorded in the U.S. in Massachusetts in 1981 and has moved its way West since then, reaching Washington State in 1998. As Keith Seinfeld, KPLU News Seattle, reported in 2006, “So far there’s no sign of environmental damage done by the European wasps and it’s not particularly aggressive, in fact it may do a little good in the garden by eating other pests.”
These paperwasps are often confused with yellowjackets, another kind of wasp, because they have similar markings. The easiest way to tell the difference between the two is their nesting habits. European Paperwasps create nests that are only one cell deep forming a single comb and resembling a Dixie cup-sized upside down umbrella. Yellowjackets create large aerial nests that are entirely enclosed in paper. Yellowjackets will also construct nests below the soil surface.
Fortunately, there are some good things about both the European paperwasp and yellowjackets: wasps eat flies, aphids, caterpillars and other invertebrates making them an important insect-controlling predator. “We would have serious pest problems if it weren’t for yellowjackets,” says Todd Murray, an entomologist from Washington State University’s Extension program. In fact, yellowjackets are used as biological control agents in corn, cotton and tobacco crops. A few well-placed nests can clean acres of crops of any pests. It’s the wasp larvae that feed on other insects, supplied to them by adults. Adults feed on nectar, pollen, fallen fruit and other dead insects
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