What do wasps look like?
Wasps are yellow with black stripes. Their body consists of three parts; the head, the chest and the abdomen. The abdomen ends in a sharp point, where the sting comes out when they sting. Between the thorax and the retarded is the “wasp waist” characteristic of wasps. Wasps have three pairs of legs and two wings.
Life cycle of wasps
The queen starts the construction of the wasps’ nest in the spring. From the first eggs come the workers, who further expand the nest and take care of the larvae. The queen now only lays eggs, up to a thousand a day and the nest doesn’t come out anymore. The young queens come from the last eggs. These can be fertilized and overwintered by more than one male. The rest of the wasp population dies as soon as it becomes winter.
Development of wasps
In the hexagonal combs in the wasp’s nest the wasp queen puts her eggs. Before she went to hibernate, all fifty thousand eggs were fertilized in her body. From the eggs come the wasp larvae that are fed by the workers. After pupation of the larvae, the wasps were fully developed. The wasp queen also places unfertilized eggs, from which come the male wasps.
Wasps live in a wasp nest. They build this nest entirely by chewing wood fibers very finely into paper-like pulp. The places where they build their nest are very different. From old mouse holes in the ground to the cavity wall of your house or under your roof tiles. A wasp nest has multiple entrances. Wasps have fixed flight paths to the nest.
What do wasps eat?
Wasps are always working from sunrise to sunset to get food for the wasp larvae. A fed larva separates a drop of liquid which serves as food for the maid. Wasps catch many insects and love sugary products. They also like to eat protein-rich foods such as meat and fish. However, all the food that the wasps collect is for the larvae.
Most common types of wasps
Lemonade wasps are the most common wasps in the Netherlands. There are two types of lemonade wasps, namely the common wasp and the German wasp. Other common wasps in the Netherlands are the hornet and the digger wasp. Horns are larger than the lemonads and always build their nest above the ground. Digger wasps live alone and only come together to make a nest. They make their nest in the ground or in hollow stems.
A wasp sting is usually innocent despite the pain. Wasps only stick when they feel threatened or if you threaten the wasps’ nest. Wasps therefore mainly stand out of defense. The sting of a wasp has no barbs and does not stay behind in your skin. A wasp can therefore sting several times. A small amount of poison is injected into the victim during stabbing. This poison also acts as an attractant for the other wasps of the colony. They attack massively in the event of a major threat. Wasp poison is, in principle, not harmful to health for most people.
Treating wasp sting
If you are stung, there are a number of things you can do to treat the wasp sting:
- Try to suck out the poison immediately, make sure that this happens immediately after the stitch. You can do this with your mouth. Make sure you do not swallow the poison.
- Keep a close eye on the spot where you are stuck. Is the swelling too red and large? Then call a doctor.
- Cool the spot with ice, this reduces the swelling.
- Place a wet aspirin on the spot where you are stuck. This causes the poison to pull into the tablet and the substances in the aspirin just in the wound. This reduces the pain and passes it faster.
- Rub the place with vinegar. This ensures that the poison does not spread further in your body. The itching then becomes less intense.
How do you prevent a wasp sting?
You do not just get a wasp sting. A wasp only stands out of defense. It is possible that a wasp sees you as a threat. This happens, for example, if you fall short of the wasps’ nest or if you start to beat around you wildly. It is therefore important to remain calm when a wasp comes at you. The insect then flies away automatically. Make sure you cover sweet drinks and if you drink from cans or bottles, do this through a straw. A wasp can get stuck in your drink and end up in your mouth. A stitch in your mouth is extra painful and dangerous.
Allergy to wasps
A wasp sting can have different consequences. The poison is in principle not harmful to your health, but everyone responds differently to a stitch. You may be allergic to the poison. The stitch then has an extreme effect. For people with an allergy to wasps, wasp sting is potentially fatal. Symptoms of the allergic reaction are:
- Red spots, severe itching and swelling of lips and / or eyes
- Tightness, shortness of breath or wheezing
- Becoming unwell or (imminent) loss of consciousness
The symptoms of an allergic reaction to wasp venom usually occur within a quarter of an hour after the stitch. This is called an anaphylactic shock.
What should I do in case of an allergic reaction after a wasp sting?
The Rode Kruis tells on their website more about first aid with wasp, but in fact these are the most important steps:
- The people who are known to be allergic to wasps usually carry an adrenaline pen. It is important that the dose of adrenalin is given as soon as possible by puncturing with the pen in the leg.
- People who develop an allergic disease for the first time after a wasp sting need medical help as soon as possible. Then call 112 immediately.
- Even if you are not familiar with an allergy to wasp venom, it is sometimes wise to visit the doctor. For example if you are stung in your mouth, throat, nose, neck or tongue or if swelling occurs in places other than where you were stung.
Food poisoning from wasps
Wasps like to eat with us from our food. They mainly depend on sugar-containing and high-protein foods. Wasps, however, carry bacteria and pathogens. They also leave their urine and excrement on our food. When we eat this, it may cause food poisoning. Therefore, always cover food and drinks outdoors well.
Professional wasp control
If you aren’t sure whether you are suffering from wasps, contact a pest controller nearby or have this examined by the local GGD, but KAD can also help you with this. Our local wasp controllers professionally remove the wasps in your home within 24 hours. Find your pest controller here in your neighbourhood.