“Angelus: Fun fact about wasps. They have no taste for the undead…”~ “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” I Only Have Eyes for You (1998)
I first came in contact with Paper Wasps about sixteen years ago when I moved to Hampshire. Multiple nests were being built along the eaves of the house. I called the ‘bug guy’ in Hampshire. He listened to my ramblings of the Wasps and how I wanted them gone.
I tried to explain how dire the circumstances were. “They were trying to get into the house.” With a sound in my voice that was verging on hysteria, I added, “They were getting stuck in the windows and they chased me out of the yard!”
“Nests are built from wood fiber collected from posts and occasionally from live plant stems” ~AgiLIFE EXTENSION Texas A&M System
When he found out I was a city person who now lived in the country, I could hear the heavy sigh on the other end of the phone. I surprised the ‘guy’ didn’t laugh.
“Relax,” He said. Then he told me to ignore them, adding. “Winter is right around the corner, they will be gone by then.”
I took the phone away from my ear and stared at it like it was one of those large, yellow and brown Wasps invading my territory. I shuddered into the receiver and said, “But, they have stingers!”
His response, “Don’t get stung.”
I responded with a long drawn out, “Whhhaaaat!”
Then, he said something that I took to heart. “They won’t hurt you. They just live to make nests. They are paper wasps. Not yellow jackets which are mean.” I could hear in his voice he wanted off the phone. He ended with. “If you get any yellow jackets give me a call, otherwise enjoy your paper wasps.”
Enjoy ‘my’ Paper Wasps! The ‘guy’ must be bonkers!
I stood at the window and watched a Paper Wasp bouncing against the window until it decided to fly away, seemingly with a brain injury. I looked at the phone and wondered what I should do. I called some friends. I got some information on what bug spray to buy. By the time I got off the phone I had decided not to start a war with nature. Instead I grabbed a chair and pulled it outside so I could watch those Paper Wasps working away at connecting to the side of my house.
Since that first encounter we have more of a comical friendship. They bounce around trying to connect to everything, and I learned that they have trouble getting a grip when I spray cooking oil where they want to nest.
“wasps attack when the nest is disturbed and each can sting repeatedly; stings typically cause localized pain and swelling, but in sensitive individuals or when many stings occur (as with most arthropod stings) whole body (systemic) effects can occur including allergic reactions that may result in death; males are incapable of stinging because the stinger on the females is a modified egg-laying structure (ovipositor) and it is not present in males; wasps feed on insects, including caterpillar pests, and thus are considered to be beneficial insects by many gardeners.” ~AgiLIFE EXTENSION Texas A&M System
Two days ago while cleaning out the grill I found some Paper Wasps. They flew out at me! I stepped back! Then for added comfort I walked away from the wasps, but only to grab the hose and drag it back to the grill, where I washed away the Wasps and their beginnings of multiple nests they were creating inside the grill. Paper Wasps buzzed me! I moved away. They never really tried to sting me, only warn me away. Always vigilant of not getting stung, I kept walking away, giving the wasps a chance to forget about me, then I returned to my work on the grill.
“Do not kill a single wasp; for then a hundred will come to its funeral.”~ Russian Proverb