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5 Fascinating Wasp Facts

5 Fascinating Wasp Facts

Wasps are one of the most aggressive stinging insects and can be a big problem around your home and yard. When dealing with a wasp problem, you want to act quickly. Most people are unsure how to get rid of wasps and safely remove a wasp nest, and that’s okay! Just call Fox Pest Control! Our professional exterminators specialize in wasp control and wasp nest removal. Wasps are included in our Home Protection Plan, which means that we’ll keep coming back until they don’t!  

These flying insects are best known for their paper mache-style nests and their painful sting, but they’re actually a very complex and intelligent species. Let’s uncover some of the most captivating facts about these incredible creatures.

There are about 4,000 different species of wasps in the United States!  Wasps are most active during the warmer parts of the day, usually from April to October, and can be found everywhere in the world except for Antarctica. They are more territorial during the late summer and early fall as their food sources grow scarce.  These flying insects are best known for their paper mâché-style nests and painful sting, but they’re a very complex and intelligent species.  

Can We Thank Wasps for Modern Paper?

Paper wasps build hexagonal nests by chewing wood scraps, mixing them with their saliva, then shaping them. Humans made paper from cotton and linen for centuries and experimented with other plant fibers. In the 1700s, paper usage increased dramatically as the first newspapers and magazines came into print, and soldiers began using paper to wrap musket balls and gunpowder. The result was a paper shortage, and new and improved paper was needed. 

In 1719, the French scientist René Réaumur came up with a solution. “Look at North American wasps — what you and I call paper wasps. They make fine paper for their nests by chewing up wood and exuding it. And if they can do that, why can’t we?” Although he didn’t invent paper, his idea gave rise to what we know as paper today. In the late 1800s, after experimenting with various fibers, papermakers began creating wood pulp and mixing it with water before flattening and drying it to make paper. Maybe wasps should be recognized as the first papermakers! 

Other Inventions Inspired by Wasps 

The Vespine Surgical Needle was designed based on the parasitic wasp’s needle. Researchers in the Netherlands created a surgical tool to remove blood clots or tumors, perform laparoscopic surgery, and even deliver medicine with pinpoint accuracy. 

Wasps also inspired FlyCroTugs, flying, micro, and tugging robots used in laboratories worldwide. Hoping to have an air vehicle that was fast, small, and highly maneuverable but also able to move large loads, the researchers looked to wasps. “Wasps can fly rapidly to a piece of food, and then if the thing’s too heavy to take off, they drag it along the ground. So this was the beginning inspiration for our approach,” says coauthor Mark Cutkosky, a professor of mechanical engineering.” 

Do Wasps Remember Faces?

Yes, there is evidence that wasps can remember faces! A study at the University of Michigan says they are more intelligent than we thought, even using a form of logical reasoning! Paper wasps exhibit facial recognition akin to humans, relying on holistic processing. Researchers tested this by presenting wasps with two pictures featuring identical legs, bodies, and antennae but different faces, associating discomfort with the “bad guy” face. After conditioning, the wasps consistently chose the “good guy” face, confirming their ability to recognize faces. Further experiments, displaying only partial faces, confused the wasps, highlighting their reliance on holistic facial recognition, mirroring human behavior. 

Do Wasps Hold Grudges?  

In studying wasps, researchers found that wasps would alert others to a threat, but we didn’t know how. We now know that when injured or killed, a wasp releases pheromones that alert other wasps of a threat. This is why other wasps seem to swarm around and seek revenge when you kill a wasp. Wasps can become especially aggressive when their nest is disturbed. Although there is no science backing the concept that wasps seek revenge, it has been proven that they will rally together to protect their territory and colony. 

Wasps Have an Oligarchy, Not a Monarchy

Unlike bees and ant colonies, which a queen leads, wasps have a group of Foundresses. They come together to create a colony and begin their reign. Each of these female wasps serves a similar role to a queen, and they compete to be the alpha reproductive member of the colony. This organization helps increase productivity and chances of survival. Only the females sting, with a formidably modified ovipositor – or egg-laying structure in their thorax.  And unlike bees, wasps can sting multiple times because their stinger doesn’t fall off. Most colonies consist of 100-200 members, and there is no size difference among wasps between foundresses and workers. 

What are Wasps Good For?

You’re not alone if you’re wondering what wasps do besides stinging and ruining a nice day by the pool (read more about wasp control for your pool here). Wasps are an essential part of the ecosystem. Here are a few of the good things that wasps do: 

  • Control caterpillar and beetle populations 
  • A small colony can eat up to 3,000 mosquitoes, flies, and spiders each day 
  • They pollinate flowers, although they do not make honey 
  • Wasps carry and transfer yeast by eating rotten fruit and feeding it to their young  

Need Wasp Control?

Even though wasps play an important role in our world, we don’t have to like them swarming around our homes and yards. Wasps can create nests in hard-to-reach places, posing risks to your family and pets. If you’re dealing with a menacing wasp problem, Fox Pest Control has the expertise to provide a safe and efficient solution.  

Give us a call today at (855) 943-1976

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