silhouette of wasp

How to Get Rid of Wasps

17-20 Minutes to Read

Wasp sitting on nest

Wasps are one of those critters that sometimes people aren’t able to get the results they want without the assistance of a professional. Since wasps are flying insects, treating their nests quickly is critical for real control because larvae and other colony members can quickly expand the total population. However, if the nest can’t be located, or it isn’t on a homeowner’s property, proper control can be hard to achieve.

Most of the time, Oklahomans will begin seeing growth in wasp populations and nests throughout the fall and spring. In the fall, wasps will begin venturing away from their nest to begin performing mating rituals and collect food for winter. During this time, homeowners may start seeing wasps buzzing around their homes, but the nest may not be able to be located. But, in the spring, a much different situation causes new problems.

During the spring, wasps will begin emerging from their hibernation and start looking for new places to build a nest. If a pre-existing nest is already on your property, new wasps won’t utilize it and they will start building new ones from scratch throughout the season. As you may imagine, the only way to treat nests is to spray them with a contact insecticide and remove them whenever they are located.

Many times, Emtec Pest Control is able to achieve control without even locating the nest. To do this, our team inspects and treats soffits and porches, inspects shrubbery, and treats attic spaces with a dust or fog insecticide. If a nest is discovered, it is also treated and removed. Many times, there is a nest in the attic that is not in an area where it is visible to our techs, but it ends up being exposed to insecticide anyway when the attic treatment is performed.

Unfortunately, wasps are one of the few pests that Emtec Pest Control is unable to guarantee services on because we may not be able to locate the nest during a service call or the nest may be in an area that makes it unable to be located. In some cases, the nest may also not even be being built when the service call is placed. In those instances, performing the service again may not yield better results than the first time. To remain safe, here are some tips that homeowners should keep in mind throughout the fall and spring seasons:

Wasp Identification

One of the best ways to protect your family from wasps is by being able to identify them. 

According to the National Pest Management Association, stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room annually. Below you will find information about common wasps found in the State of Oklahoma to help determine which you are dealing with around your home.

Yellow Jacket Wasp

Yellow Jackets

Perhaps the most easily identified species of wasp; yellow jackets are characterized by their yellow and black color pattern. Yellowjackets are often slow to sting an individual unless they feel their nest is being threatened. Like other wasp species, any nest that is near a living area or door should be removed to ensure the safety of those around the area so that no unintentional contact occurs.

Yellowjacket nests are constructed from a paper carton material that can grow incredibly large if left alone. In some cases, yellowjacket nests can reach the size of a basketball or bowling ball. Unlike other exposed nests, yellowjackets prefer to create layers to envelop the previously constructed ones. Yellowjacket nests are often found near the ground on areas like sheds or the foundation of a home. Although, they may nest inside of walls is access is available.

Paper Wasp

Paper Wasps

Often characterized by their unique nest-building habits, paper wasps are a common species found around Oklahoma homes. Typically taking on a dominant brownish color with yellow or red markings, paper wasps are an incredibly aggressive species if they or their nest are disturbed. If these wasps are found near a structure, control is typically warranted and should always be done by a professional to avoid stinging.

Paper wasp nests are composed of a paper-like material and take on an umbrella-like shape that remains unenclosed. Many times, paper wasp nests are constructed on porch ceilings, railings, eaves or doorframes for added protection from the elements. However, they may also be found hanging from shrubs or tree branches. If these nests are disturbed, there is a good chance that the person who disturbed the nest will be stung.

Bald-Faced Hornet

Bald-Faced Hornets

As a relative of the yellowjacket, the bald-faced hornet received its name from the mostly black color of its body and white-patterned face. Unlike other wasps that may only sting when they feel threatened, bald-faced hornets will attack anyone that encroaches on their space. For this reason, the removal of bald-faced hornets should be left to a professional for both the safety of the individual and the difficulty associated with removal.

Like the previous wasps, bald-faced hornets build their nests out of a paper-like material. Often, the interiors of these nests contain hexagonal combs that are encased in a mottled gray paper envelope. Because this species prefers an aerial nest, they will often be found near overhangs, utility poles, sheds or other large structures. Nests can range in size; however, a large colony’s nest could reach up to 14” in diameter. If a nest is located, avoid it to limit the chances of being stung.

Mud Dauber Wasp

Mud Daubers

As a solitary wasp species, mud daubers do not live in colonies. Mud daubers are generally long and slender and have a black color with pale markings or a metallic luster. Although considered beneficial insects because of the role they play in keeping spider populations down, a professional should remove nests located near high-activity areas. Any nests in secluded areas may have control spider populations.

Female mud daubers will often construct their nests from mud by creating short 1” long tubes under eaves and outdoor ceilings or in protected areas like attics or along walls that have coverage from the elements. While the female builds the nest, the male will often guard it against flies or other wasps that will attempt to lay their own eggs within the nest. Once the nest is completed, eggs are deposited and the nest has been sealed, the male will then leave the nest location.

Mahogany Wasp

Mahogany Wasps

Mahogany wasps often have a red-brown coloring and can only be found in a limited geographic area that includes Oklahoma and Texas. Many gardeners love mahogany wasps because they will chew caterpillar larvae and feed it to their young to help improve the welfare of plants. However, adult wasps will prefer to gain nutrition from aphids or plant nectar from flowers. Although not naturally aggressive, mahogany wasps will sting when they feel threatened.

Because they are a type of paper wasp, will compose their nests of paper-like materials created from nectar, wasp saliva and wood. Nests will typically be located hanging from branches or trees in the wild but can also be located on windows and door frames in more urban areas as well as underneath deck flooring. Finding and eliminating nests early can ensure that no accidental contact with these wasps occurs that could lead to a sting; however, mahogany wasp stings rarely require medical attention.

Red Wasp

Red Wasps

As you might imagine, red wasps derive their name from the dominant red color they possess. And, although their sting may be painful, it rarely causes lasting effects for most people unless an allergy exists. Red wasps are not as aggressive as yellowjackets and will only sting when they are provoked into doing it or their nest has been disturbed. In this species, male adults are unable to sting and females will often protect the nest from damage or intruders.

Red wasps create paper-like structures from chewed plant materials, saliva and wood much like the mahogany wasp. Nests will be attached to a structure with a small stem that connects to many other nest cells as it begins to expand. Because they are so similar to mahogany wasps, they too will often create nests inside eaves, under decks, around sheds or outbuildings and near windows or doorframes. Once the season ends, the nest will not be reused by red wasps.

Not sure what type of wasp you have?

Give us a call!  One of our certified technicians can identify your wasps and provide a free estimate.

Wasp Prevention

To remain safe, here are some TIPS that homeowners should keep in mind throughout the fall and spring seasons:

  • 1

    Seal Entry Points

    As the weather in Oklahoma shifts with each season, your home may have new cracks and crevices that weren’t previously available. Unfortunately, wasps and hornets can easily take advantage of these entry points and, therefore, nesting activity. Pay special attention to roofing and attic areas to ensure nests aren’t forming and spray or remove them as soon as possible.

  • 2

    Remove Food Sources

    Wasps are generally attracted to food sources that contain protein or are sweet. This could include pet food or leftovers from your grill that may have been left behind. Once wasps identify a food source, they will imprint it and will conduct future searches even if the food is gone. Flying takes a great deal of energy, so wasps will typically switch to sweet foods in the summer and fall to recoup expended energy.

  • 3

    Avoid Solitary Wasps

    Solitary wasps can confuse brightly colored or floral patterned clothes for flowers that produce nectar. Sweet-smelling cologne or perfume may also draw in solitary wasps during the summer months. Because wasps are capable of stinging multiple times, avoiding them and taking precautions can help protect you from potential allergic reactions or painful stings.

  • 4

    Install Fake Nests

    Wasps and hornets will often avoid the nests of other wasps and hornets, making deterrent products that mimic their nest-building behaviors incredibly effective as a deterrent. Most of these products are incredibly affordable and can easily be installed. However, placing them around your home at the start of spring is critical for it to be effective.

  • 5

    Seal Trash Cans

    Wasps and hornets can use trash and recycling cans as a food source if the right precautions aren’t taken to seal them properly. This can also be a problem for homeowners that choose to compost outdoors. If possible, make your trash cans inaccessible if you aren’t able to seal them properly.

When to Call a Professional

Emtec staff taking calls in the office

If you have taken all the precautions to prevent wasps and you still see large swarms around your property, it is time to call a pest control professional, Emtec Pest Control.

At Emtec Pest Control, we are committed to safe and responsible pest control. We understand that your family’s safety is your number one priority, so we make it our priority, too. If you have any other questions about any of these pests or pest control for your home or business, contact your Oklahoma pest control experts at Emtec Pest Control by calling us or by filling out our online contact form. Our service areas in Northeast Oklahoma include Bixby, Broken Arrow, Catoosa, Owasso, Jenks, Sand Springs, Sapulpa, Skiatook, Stillwater, Tulsa and the surrounding areas. In Central Oklahoma, we service Edmond, Moore, Oklahoma City, Yukon and the surrounding areas. You can also connect with us on social media for more helpful pest control tips and information.