As you may already know, May is national barbecue month. Although the month is coming to a close, barbecue season continues year-round in Houston – so there’s plenty of time to load up the grill with ribs and brisket.
Unfortunately, nothing can ruin a classic summer barbecue quite like the intrusion of stinging pests such as hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets. It seems that some of these pests enjoy the same meals we do (can we blame them?) and simply won’t go away when we’re trying to eat. However, there are a few measures you can take to prevent these pests from ruining your day and your dinner.
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Wasps & Hornets
If you have a problem with stinging insects, it’s likely because your property has a food source or nesting area. The queen will emerge after winter in search of nesting places – typically near pollen/nectar. They also gravitate towards water sources – like ponds, bird baths, and pools. Some kinds of wasps, including yellow jackets, also like protein.
Are they Dangerous?
Wasps and hornets transmit venom through a stinger which can vary in severity depending on the individual. Usually, there is just some mild swelling and pain which can be addressed by over-the-counter antihistamines, such as Benadryl. In some cases though, individuals may have more severe allergic reactions. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience difficulty breathing, or swelling around the eyes, mouth, or throat after being stung.
Handling a Wasp Infestation/Nest:
It can be alarming to discover that you have a breeding ground on your property, especially before an outdoor event like a barbecue. No one wants their guest to have to suffer through their meals. If you discover a nest, you should immediately contact a pest professional for an inspection. Do not attempt to destroy the nest yourself!
Be careful not to swing at or brush off a stinging insect – they can produce pheromones when they feel threatened, which will attract more of them.
Wasp & Hornet Prevention Tips:
- Keep food sources indoors. Some common household food items that attract wasps are meat, pet food, and sugar-rich foods such as juice or fruit.
- Grow plants that deter wasps, such as wormwood, eucalyptus, mint, and citronella.
- Put up fake nests. Wasps are very territorial and may be less interested in your property if they realize they’ll need to cohabitate.
- While outside, cover open food items so they do not attract stinging insects.
- Keep trash receptacles covered and away from entertaining areas.
Ask a Professional
Eliminating wasps and hornets from your property can be a difficult task. There is the possibility of being stung, and if you do not destroy the entire colony the remaining insects will most likely come back and rebuild their nest.
Holder’s offers a variety of residential services, including our Envirogaurd Total Home Protection Plan, to help keep your home free of pests.
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