Many people consider wasps, yellow jackets and hornets to be seperate insect groups, but in actuality, both yellow jackets and hornets two types of wasps. Several wasp species in Georgia are considered potentially dangerous to humans, some of which are well known for frequently establishing nests on residential properties, including the exterior and interior of homes. Most medically harmful wasp encounters occur after humans accidentally disturb nests that may be well hidden within shrubbery, below decks, beneath eaves, or on the corner of door frames. Thousands of wasp species in North America are capable of stinging humans, but few species are considered medically threatening.
Venomous bee and wasp stings kill between 40 and 100 people in the US each year, with Africanized honey bees, European honey bees, and various yellow jacket species being the most common perpetrators. Most people killed by wasp stings had an allergic sensitivity to venom, and venom sensitivity can increase each time an individual sustains a sting. While sustaining a wasp sting is painful, stings inflicted on the neck and head are particularly painful. Generally, a wasp sting will result in pain localized around the site of the sting wound, but “large local reactions” occur when pain and/or swelling extends two inches beyond the site of the sting. Large local reactions to wasp stings are not usually life threatening, but five percent of all people who experience them will suffer anaphylactic shock the next time they are stung.
Paper wasps are the most common group of wasps found nesting in, on and around homes. These wasps are between ¾ and 1 inch in length with reddish-orange or dark brown coloring. Paper wasps nests are most commonly found below the eaves of houses, but it is not uncommon for residents to find their nests in attics, shrubs, garages and sheds. Several yellow jacket species inhabit nests constructed below the ground surface in residential yards, but the southern yellow jacket frequently nest in trees, beneath eaves, attics, decks and wall voids. Wasp nests should always be removed by a pest control professional.
Have you ever encountered a wasp nest within your home?