Wasps | Des Moines, IA

Wasps are typically social insects that spend the spring and summer building their nests and preparing to grow their colonies. When a wasp nest is built on or in a home, it's important to get rid of it immediately before a wasp infestation develops.

What Types of Wasps Are Common in Iowa?

There are several different species of wasps, but the most commonly found wasps in Iowa include yellow jacket wasps, cicada killing wasps, paper wasps and mud dauber wasps. Each species has unique habits when it comes to building a wasp nest or laying eggs, but almost all wasps in Iowa are not aggressive and will usually not sting unless agitated.

Yellow Jacket Wasps

Yellow jackets can be identified by their bright yellow and black bodies. Similar to bees, they live in large social colonies that are built by a queen wasp. Her offspring becomes worker yellow jackets that spend their time building the nest and feeding the larvae of the queen. Yellow jacket wasps construct papery nests found either above or below ground. This species is most dangerous in late summer and early fall when their colony size is at its peak.

Cicada Killer Wasps

The largest wasps in Iowa are the cicada killer wasps and can grow to up to two inches long. They have black and yellow markings on their thorax and abdomen. Cicada killer wasps usually will not attack unless they are threatened, and only the females have the ability to sting.

The cicada killers are a solitary breed, known for the large amounts of dirt they dig up when making their nests. Each tunnel reaches down 24 inches or more into the ground and is approximately the size of a quarter in width. The female cicada killers will lay a single egg in each of the deep holes and include a paralyzed insect or two for them to eat. After closing the nest, she will fly away and never return. Since the cicada killer wasps do not live in a colony or build a nest, these wasps can be trickier to detect.

Paper Wasps

These social wasps tend to build their nests close to homes. They prefer creating their colonies underneath overhangs, soffits and other protected areas. Paper wasps build their nests by chewing up dead leaves and pasting the pieces together to form a wasp nest with an "open face" design that leaves the individual cells exposed. A paper wasp will not sting unless disturbed.

Mud Dauber Wasps

The mud dauber wasps get their name from the unique, tube-like cells, made from mud they use to store their eggs. This is another solitary type of wasp, meaning they live independently from each other and are generally not aggressive. Once the offspring is secure with food the nest will be sealed off and abandoned. The larvae will stay cocooned in their mud pod overwinter and emerge in the spring.

How Do You Treat a Wasp Sting?

Remember, wasps generally don't feel the need to be aggressive until they are harmed or feel they are in danger. Unlike bees, who can only sting once, wasps can deliver several stings in one attack. Since they don't strike until you do, it's best to just leave them alone. However, if you are stung by a wasp and you're wondering what to do about wasp stings, we have the answers.

The sting will most likely have a sharp pain or burn initially, and could follow with redness, swelling and itching. You could also develop a raised welt where the stinger punctured your skin. Usually, the pain and swelling should go down within hours of the wasp sting.

Unless you're allergic, wasp stings can be treated at home. Simply wash the sting area with soap and water to remove as much of the venom as possible. It's important to keep the wound clean and dry to prevent infection, so we recommend covered the sting area with a bandage. Applying a cold pack can also help reduce the swelling and pain.

Severe reactions to wasp stings should be handled by a physician. If you have allergic reactions, such as swelling of the face, lips or throat, hives, difficulties breathing, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea or vomiting, stomach cramps or a weak or racing pulse you should seek immediate medical assistance.

How Do Wasps Get Inside?

Wasps generally enter a home because there is a crack or small opening in some part of the house. Additionally, they can sneak in on clothing, bags or through doors, as you are leaving or entering a building. Once inside, they are looking for a way out and will typically end up near windows and other light sources. You can usually vacuum them up with a hose extension on your vacuum. If you notice a wasp infestation, seek professional help to get rid of it and ensure your safety in the wasp removal.

Des Moines Wasp Removal

Does your home or business have a wasp nest problem? Preferred Pest Control can help! As the leading Des Moines exterminator, our technicians will take care of your wasp problem safely and efficiently. Don't put yourself in danger - schedule an appointment online or call us at (515) 415-5550 today!