It is certainly worse than a bee sting, that’s for sure. While a bee can only sting you once, thereby committing hari-kari to preserve the hive, wasps can sting multiple times – and they still won’t die.
Can they kill a human? Given the right conditions – namely the person has allergies to bees/ wasps/ ants and other stinging insects – they certainly can, and have done. It’s not that common and in most cases a wasp sting will only result in painful nausea and/ or swelling.
These garden pests can become a real nuisance. They will congregate around pools of water and will delight in opened soft drink cans. Being nectar collectors, like bees, they will be attracted to anything sweet and sugary. So, keep an eye on the kid’s drinks left around the patio – especially if they intend to go back for it.
At our previous home, our carport was a magnet for wasp hives. It was enclosed, cocooned from the elements and fairly dark making this the perfect nesting pad for these insects. Their hives consisted of dried mud attached to the walls with a hive like tunnel system entwined in its architecture.
The only way to control them was to keep knocking down their hives while they departed for more mud or food. And trust me, this is something you will want to do. If you leave them in place they can, over a few seasons, produce more than 100,000 offspring and become a major problem for you and your neighbourhood.
As their natural habitat declines I’m sure we’re going to see more and more of these pesky insects find lodgings at our homes to their liking. However, I’m not sure we’re going to be as affable.
If you’re interested in reading more on these little critters there are some great websites that offer help;
- An Information Bulletin on Allergies to Stings and Bites
- Facts on European Wasps – they are fast becoming a serious problem here in Australia
- Common Paper Wasps
- The Social Biology of Wasps – (aff.)