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wasp picture

Yesterday while moving a chair in my garden I got stung by a group of wasps. During the night I went hunting for their nests and managed to neutralize 3 of them: one was in the chair's legs, about the size of a child's fist and with a dozen on them inside. It was made of grey hexagonal cells, similar to paper in appearance.

Nasty (Sorry for the blurry image, I was a bit scared :-P)

Then I've found another one in a water hose tube that was slightly smaller, but quite active.

And finally a third one in a vase, it was very small, only had a couple of cells in it and wasps were working on it, almost as if they were building it from scratch.

Given the number and size of the nests I'm afraid that they could be spreading in the garden. I have already noticed that a couple of them survived the massacre of last night and I'm worried that unless I kill every of them they might keep nesting.

I don't know much about the hierachical society of wasps, but I was not able to identify the queen (although I haven't checked every single one I've killed). Reading online I've found that killing the queen might mean that the worker would eventually die.

So what kind of wasp is this? What can I do to make sure that they do not keep bothering me?

EDIT: by the way, I live in northern Italy

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    $\begingroup$ For species identification questions, you should also mention the geographic location of the object in the picture. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Jul 11 at 14:25
  • $\begingroup$ Long hind legs, two yellow spots on the otherwise striped bum... I would just ignore these, for two reasons: First, depending on where you live it may cost you a lot of money if you are caught killing them, and second, this particular type is quite harmless and non-aggressive, and most importantly, they feed on mosquitos. My enemy's enemy is my friend, so... $\endgroup$ – Damon Jul 12 at 16:41
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    $\begingroup$ @Damon I wouldn't say harmless and non-aggressive. Just by moving that chair around I got stung and it was quite painful $\endgroup$ – Mauro F. Jul 12 at 17:15
  • $\begingroup$ Where is your chair and garden located? $\endgroup$ – fileunderwater Jul 16 at 10:01
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These are European paper wasps.

(They look very similar to yellowjacket wasps but you can notice the antennae; they are brown here whereas they are black in case of yellowjackets. There are other subtle differences too.)

See this post on Gardening & Landscaping stackexchange about getting rid of wasps.

(This part is probably not really on-topic here and I don't want to copy-paste an existing answer in another stackexchange site.)


If you are upvoting this post then please also upvote the original one in G&L SE

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  • $\begingroup$ Do European paper wasps count as "dangerous" for the purpose of the accepted answer on the question you linked to? $\endgroup$ – T.E.D. Jul 12 at 18:20
  • $\begingroup$ @T.E.D. I haven't faced them myself. In general wasps are more aggressive than bees. This one is less aggressive than yellowjackets. $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG Jul 12 at 20:51
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Stay vigilant. As you've noticed, once wasps get established in an area, they'll reproduce and spread out. Continue to watch for and eradicate nests. Hardware stores will sell a variety of chemical sprays, but a mix of liquid soap (dish detergent) and water works just as well.

Use wasp traps to prevent wasps from establishing new nests in your area. You can buy them from most stores or make them yourself using directions similar to those provided here: https://www.bobvila.com/articles/homemade-wasp-trap/.

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Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

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To keep these pests away from your house and other areas, on the underside facing up use a sky blue paint, along soffits, including the bottom of some patio furniture. When these see the sky blue they think its the sky and will go some place else to build a nest. It's a common practice down in the South such as NOLA or other Southern places.

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