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How Aggressive Are Paper Wasp Species In Arizona?

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How Aggressive Are Paper Wasp Species In Arizona? Should Their Nests Be Removed From Properties? How Can Their Nests Be Identified?

When most people see a wasp or yellow jacket, they immediately turn in the opposite direction and flee from the notoriously aggressive insects in order to avoid getting a painful sting, which can become lethal if the person happens to be allergic. Arizona has its fair share of these dreaded, stinging pests. Paper wasps in particular are quite common throughout the state, with species of this type of wasp including yellow and brown paper wasps, western paper wasp, European paper wasps, and Navajo paper wasps. Just how dangerous are they, though, and how should residents handle their presence?

Paper wasps are an average of 1 inch in length, and come in various colors depending on the species, but most of the southwestern species are varying shades of brown and yellow. Their long and slender bodies are easy to spot, with yellow paper wasps standing out due to their bright yellow bodies, contrasted with their dark wings. Navajo paper wasps are instead a deep chocolate-brown color, with only the end of their abdomen being colored yellow. Their nests are noticeably smaller than the nests of yellow jackets, containing no more than 250 individual wasps. They build their nests under suitably protected spots such as the rafters of homes and buildings, under eaves, in attics, or under tree or shrub branches.

Paper wasps are mostly a nuisance to homeowners when they nest in or near said homes. Compared to other wasps, paper wasps are actually quite docile and rarely aggressive, but they are still protective of their nests and will go on the attack, stinging perceived intruder when they sense too much movement near the nest. This often happens when people are trying to work in their garden or prune shrubs and other plants in their back or front yard landscapes. When people try to prune a shrub that a paper wasp nest happens to be hidden under, the wasps will send out several comrades to sting the threat in defense of their nest. Stings can be painful, resulting in pain and swelling around the sting, but sensitive individuals may have a more serious reaction, requiring them to get medical attention. In light of these possible dangers, any paper wasp nest/s found inside or near a home should be removed by a pest control professional.

Have you ever found a paper wasp nest in or near your home?


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