Wasps have over 20,000 different species and are related to bees in the insect family Hymenoptera. A wasp can sting multiple times, unlike a bee, whose stinger usually falls out after a single sting. However, only female wasps sting, while male wasps bite. Wasps come in a variety of colors, but the majority have yellow or orange stripes. A few wasp species are known to be particularly aggressive. Each year, approximately 50 people die as a result of allergic reactions to wasp stings.
The yellow jacket wasp is a vicious wasp. Yellow jackets are most common in the late summer and early fall months, particularly August, making them a nuisance and a danger at outdoor picnics, festivals, and barbecues, where the smell of foods can entice the insect into close proximity to humans. This wasp is predatory and can live in colonies of 4,000 to 5,000 individuals. Yellow jacket nests are commonly found in protected areas such as trees, shrubs, near roof gutters, and under house awnings. Yellow jackets will attack in swarms if they believe their nest is being threatened.
Aggressive Hornets Hornets, like yellow jackets, are fiercely protective of their nests, which are typically found in the ground, hollows of trees, tree branches, and near roof gutters, among other safe places. Certain hornets, such as the bald-faced hornet, will protect their nest by sending two members of their team to circle around it, surveying the area for threats. When these “watchmen” sense that their nest is in danger, they alert their team inside, and they all attack as one.
Paper Wasps, which are found throughout North America, are a type of aggressive wasp that builds their nests out of chewed wood pulp, hence the name “paper” wasp. The insect can reach a length of one inch and has a distinctive reddish-brown body with yellow rings and long legs that dangle during flight. The paper wasp is a social insect that is most active in the spring, summer, and fall. By November, all males and the original queen have died within the nest, while the new queens have burrowed into the ground to wait out the winter.
Cicada Killer Wasp
Cicada Killer Wasp Though this wasp is not generally aggressive, mating male cicada killer wasps can be extremely aggressive and easily disturbed. The insect gets its name from the cicada it hunts and eats. This wasp is most commonly found in hotter climates with cicadas during the months of July and August.
Mud Daubers They are a solitary insect that lives in nests that can hold up to 20 wasps. These structures are typically a tube-like nest made of mud that is affixed under eaves, in attics, ceilings, sheds, and garages. They can sting, but not as frequently as more aggressive wasps.
Interestingly, mud daubers are excellent pest control agents because they feed on spiders and other insects, but they are considered the mortal enemy of the dreaded black widow spider. Although mud daubers are typically black and yellow, they can also be metallic blue and black, with the blue variety being known as the Blue Mud Wasp. The mud dauber can be found all over North America, including Hawaii and Bermuda, with the highest concentrations in Michigan, but it can also be found in places like India.