Fall is the favorite season of many midwesterners. With our hot, humid summers and harsh winters, fall is one of the only times of year that feels comfortable. Not to mention, we can enjoy all the fun activities of fall! Apple orchards, football season, Halloween. Just like every season, however, fall has its downsides. Summer has heat, winter has snow, fall has wasps.
It’s not just you: wasps really are significant more active than they tend to be in spring or summer. In fact, they’re even more aggressive than usual! If you’ve ever wondered why it seems like you’re running into wasps everywhere this fall, we have you covered. Here’s what you should know about “the season of the wasp,” and what you can do about it.
Why are wasps more active in fall?
During the summer, wasps have a singular focus: feeding and protecting their colonies. Adults spend summer searching for food and bringing it back to the nest for larval wasps to eat. Meanwhile, larvae create a nectar for adults to consume so they’ll have the energy to continue hunting. As young wasps grow up, the queen continuously fertilizes eggs. This ensures that there are always enough wasp larvae–and nectar–to keep the colony going.
When summer becomes fall, the queen stops fertilizing eggs. No new larvae means no new nectar for adults. Instead, the last generation of larvae grow up and have to hunt for food on their own. To replace their beloved larval nectar, wasps have to find foods with more sugar and fat than usual. They’ll fly further, stay out longer, and guard their spoils more aggressively to do that. In other words, the wasps you run into this fall are hangry.
What are they looking for?
Larval wasp nectar is rich in sugar and carbohydrates. This fall, wasps need to find a way to replace those sugars and carbohydrates by altering their diets. To accomplish this, wasp diets become quite varied in the fall. They’ll consume fruit, honey, and nectar, small insects, some plants, garbage, sugar water, and even meat. You’ll probably see a lot of wasps gathering around your garbage dumpster this fall. Human garbage is often a great source of sugar and carbohydrates.
Different wasp species tend to have different food preferences. Paper wasps ingest wood and wood pulp to build their nests. Mud dauber wasps have been known to target and hunt spiders. Yellowjackets will eat the same types of meat humans do if they can get their hands on it. Whatever the particular wasps near you want, just keep in mind that they’ll want more of it this fall.
What damage can they cause during fall?
The main damage a wasp inflict is psychological. Human beings see wasp’s nests and immediately panic. Their stings hurt, and when they swarm they can inflict a significant or even dangerous amount of pain. Wasps are more inclined to attack you in fall than they are during the summer.
If you run into a wasp between September and November, try to keep your distance. Move away from the wasp slowly and steadily. Don’t make sudden movements, lunge or throw something at the wasp, or otherwise react aggressively.
How do I keep wasps away during fall?
There are a number of ways to keep wasps out of your home or business during the fall. Start by:
- Watch for nests. Wasps usually build their nests in lofty, inaccessible, covered areas. Around homes, they’re common on roof eaves, rafters, lofts, or in garages or sheds. By fall, wasp’s nests will be large and established. Most wasp’s nests are built of regurgitated wood pulp and look like paper or wood. If you see a wasp’s nest, do not attempt to remove it yourself. Not only is this dangerous, it will likely be ineffective. Instead, call in the pros. Removing a wasp’s nest from your property is the best way to reduce wasp presence near you.
- Limit their access to your food. Wasps are all about food in fall. If they can’t get food near you, they’ll have to find it elsewhere. Secure your trash cans, clean up outdoor spills, and avoid eating meals outdoors during fall. The harder you make it for wasps to eat near you, the fewer wasps you’ll have to deal with.
- Clean up yard debris regularly. This is a good tip for all deterring all pests, not just wasps. Pests use yard debris as a way to hide as they approach your home. If you clean up yard debris like leaves regularly, you’ll make your yard far less appealing to potential pests. Proper lawn care in fall makes a big difference when it comes to pest prevention.
Wasps can be scary, especially during fall. If you ever suspect you have a wasp problem, you should call the team at Griffin Pest immediately. We’ll send someone out to assess the situation and apply an integrated pest management plan. That way you can enjoy the season instead of spending it worried about stings.