Red Wasp

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Red wasp identification

Red wasps are given their name due to the reddish-brown color of its body and head. They have long blackish-purple wings and a brown stripe on their abdomen.

A red wasp is a type of paper wasp and they tend to make umbrella shaped nests and they tend to hang from things like branches, trees and other structures. A red wasp is considered more of a nuisance pest than a dangerous one, but they will attack to defend and their stings can be dangerous, especially to those allergic to insect stings.

If you have a red wasp problem, contact Western Exterminator for a property inspection and to discuss red wasp treatments.

Red wasp characteristics

Red wasps are one of two types of paper wasps. Be careful trying to remove a red wasp nest on your own. Red wasps will sting if they feel threatened but typically aren’t aggressive if left alone.

Like other wasps, the red wasp is known to be territorial. They do not attack people just because they want to, but people who attempt to remove their nests, or damage their nests, can incite red wasps to attack.

Like bees, hornets and other species of wasp, a red wasp sting will inject a small amount of venom which those sensitive to insect stings can react to, so a red wasp sting should be monitored and taken care of like other stings. Also, like other wasps a red wasp can sting someone multiple times, which can be very dangerous for those allergic to sting.

The red wasp have distinctive looks between the males and females. Females are usually completely reddish or rust in color. Sometimes female red wasps have black markings around their eyes and dark stripes down the length of their bodies and other areas on their bodies.

A male red wasp often has more noticeable black markings and sometimes have areas of yellow, too, like other species of wasp. Most of the time the yellow marks on male red wasps are around their face and their faces are more square than females, and with hooked antenna.

Where can you find a red wasp?

Red wasps can be found in the eastern U.S., from Texas through Nebraska. They are found around homes and populated areas. A red wasp nest might also be found in wooded areas, hanging from trees, or in gardens. 

The red wasp nest

Red wasps create elaborate, paper-like nests. They are social wasps, meaning each nest houses a single queen wasp who lays eggs for the rest of the colony and other female wasp workers help the leader with nesting.

A red wasp nest is usually shaped like an upside down umbrella. A red wasp nest looks like other wasp nests, but they are not totally enclosed like some wasps, allowing those who look at them to see the honeycombed shaped chambers inside. A red wasp nest can get quite large and actually, left unchecked, a red wasp nest can be enormous, becoming some of the largest nests of the wasp species.

What does a red wasp eat?

Red wasps eat caterpillars, flies, bees, ants, spiders and sometimes other wasps. Like other wasps, hornets and bees, a red wasp will also eat nectar from flowers and plants. A red wasp is usually fond of sweet foods, so they are sometimes found around discarded food from humans and they might just stop by to check out your picnic.

Red wasp biology & lifecycle

The female and male red wasp will mate once a year. After mating, the female red wasp goes into hibernation in the ground until winter passes. The red wasp male will then die. Some female wasps in the nest are sterile, so their only job is to tend to the eggs and larvae. As spring continues, the nest develops and more eggs and larvae are produced. Male wasps grow from unfertilized eggs and fertile females will then begin mating.

Red wasp damage

Red wasp nests can grow to massive proportions. They can become aggressive and will sting in self-defense. Red wasps can build nests around homes and the nests can get so big they can extend into walls and this can cause damage. Red wasps can also get inside if they build their nests around doorways or within walls or roofing tiles.

Red wasp infestation

Red wasps prefer nesting in the openings of trees. They can be found hanging on porch ceilings, window and door frames, deck floors and attic rafters. Red wasps prefer to be outside, but they can come inside through open doors, windows and holes in screens. A red wasp nest can get very big and there can be so many insects that they become a problem and the risk of someone being stung increases. 

Get rid of red wasps

It is not recommended that homeowners attempt to remove red wasp nests themselves. Contact a pest control provider like Western Exterminator to safely remove the nest. 

A trained technician will be sure to look around your property to locate all nests. If possible, technicians will avoid removing nests during the day, when wasps are most active. Technicians will often wait until evening to treat or remove the nest. When the temperature drops to 50 °F or lower, wasps become lethargic in cooler temperatures. 

Commercial wasp spray may be used by pest control professionals to remove wasp nests. 

Before trimming shrubs or hedges or picking fruit, inspect the area for wasps to protect yourself from getting stung.


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