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WASPS

Wasp, common name applied to most species of hymenopteran insects, except bees and ants. Insects known as wasps include the sawflies, the parasitic wasps, and the stinging wasps, which are the best known. About 75,000 species of wasps are known, most of them parasitic.

Wasps are characterized by two pairs of membranous wings and an ovipositor (tube for laying eggs) that may be modified in various ways. In some species one sex may be wingless. In the vegetarian sawflies, the abdomen is broadly attached to the thorax and the ovipositor is rigid; in the higher wasps, the abdomen is flexibly attached to the thorax and the ovipositor is movable. The larvae of parasitic wasps consume the bodies of other insects or, in a few cases, consume plant tissue. Most stinging wasps are predators or scavengers; their ovipositors may be modified to inject venom used for killing prey or for defense.

Unlike social wasps, sawflies and parasitic wasps are free-living-that is, they do not build nests. After depositing their eggs on a host plant or animal, the adult wasps fly off in search of food for themselves or more hosts for their larvae. The eggs are left to develop and hatch on their own. However, some stinging wasps live in societies that are more complex than those of social bees and ants.

The stinging wasps rely on a nest from which they conduct many of their activities, especially rearing young. Wasp nests may be as simple as a straight burrow in the ground, like those made by the females of many digger wasps. Some wasp nests, such as those of mud daubers and potter wasps, are above ground, constructed of mud cavities attached to twigs, rocks, or human structures. The simplest mud nests contain only one or a few larval cells and are not used by the adults. Wasp’s nests may be found in roof spaces, wall cavities and air grates of buildings, hanging from trees, as well as underground. A normal wasp’s nest can contain from 3,000 to 5,000 individuals depending on its size, by late summer. They can be very beautiful, with layers of coloured pulp used in their construction.

Other mud nests contain many cells arranged side by side. Among the most intricate nests are those made of paper fibers collected from dry wood and bark and mixed with the wasps' saliva.
Wasps are one of the most disliked groups of insects, but fear is misplaced as wasps rarely sting unless they are aroused or frightened. Wasps have a narrow waist in the middle of the body. The needle-like sting queens are produced according to the diet of the grubs. Workers are smaller than queens and never lay fertilized eggs. Male wasps, which are also smaller than queens, develop from unfertilized eggs laid by queens or workers.

Wasps are predators, feeding insects and other arthropods to their young, which develop in the nest. They are beneficial because they prey on many insects, including caterpillars, flies, crickets, and other pests. The best time of the year to control wasps is in June after the queen has established her colony and while the colony is still small. But because nests are small, they are also harder to find. The best time of the day to control wasp nests is at night, when they are less active. At temperatures below 50° F, wasps have difficulty flying. We limit their mobility and also use pesticides for their control.

All female stinging wasps can defend themselves and their nests by using their ovipositor to inject venom. Males do not have a stinger. No species will attack a human except in defense. If the colonies of some yellow-jacket and hornet species are disturbed, they may respond by releasing more than 100 defending wasps, each capable of delivering several stings. The nests of these species should be left alone or removed professionally if they are considered a nuisance. Wasp venom contains factors that release histamine, which dissolves red blood cells. Most people can survive many stings, responding with only temporary pain and swelling, but to hyperallergic individuals-about 1 percent of the population-a wasp sting can be fatal. If you are stung by a wasp, seek medical attention. If your pet is stung, find a nearby animal hospital. Otherwise we have quite methodologies of their control which we have developed through our experience.

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