Wasps and Hornets
Wasps and Hornets are some of the most misidentified insects. Are they bees, wasps or hornets? In Texas, it will probably be a bee or a wasp. There is actually only one species of Hornet found in the US. The European Hornet, (vespa crabo) is the only Hornet found in the US and is never above the 63rd parallel. The European Hornet can actually help control many other insects around your home and some people will actually leave the hornets in place to help control the insect population around their home. This is not a good idea if you have small children or pets. Hornets are not as aggressive as a wasp, but they pack a punch with their mandibles and they will aggressively defend their homes. Wasps and hornets have the ability to sting many times. The bees venom has more toxins in it than a wasp or hornet, but hornets has a substance that causes more pain.
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A wasps diet mainly consists of other insects. They eat spiders, caterpillars, flies, ants, bees and other invertebrates. It’s only when they reach adulthood do they acquire a sweet tooth and feed on nectar. They are not as effective pollinating other plants as a bee because their body does not have as much hair as the bee and will carry less pollen from one plant to another. Wasps are also used as a pest control as their diet helps reduce the population of other nuisance insects.
Yellow Jackets are one of the most common wasps in San Antonio. They are very aggressive and they have the capability of stinging multiple times. Yellow Jackets are named due to their black and yellow coloring. They are scavengers who eat meat and sugary substances which makes them a nuisance around parks due to the variety of trash available. They are pollinators, but not as effective as bees as they are hairless. A colony of yellow jackets can quickly build from a few to thousands if not treated. They nest in a variety of areas. Under eaves of your home is one of the more common places we find them, but they can also nest in the ground.
These wasps look more frightening that most other wasps, but they are less aggressive that yellow jackets. They defend their homes by buzzing the intruder, but they will sting when threatened. Mud daubers get their name from the mud homes they construct. Mud daubers are solitary wasps that do not live in colonies. They are meat eating wasps that will use their stinger to paralize their pray and bring it back into their mud home. They usually build their mud nests in a sheltered site, such as under eaves, porch ceilings, in garages and sheds. Mud daubers are considered beneficial as they help control spiders and very rarely sting.