There are many different types of wasps found in South Africa but one type, that many people are familiar with, is the Paper Wasp. Why are they called “paper wasps” you may ask? The answer is to be found in their paper-like nests that they make. These nests feature a number of cells, or compartments, and are normally hung from a spot under a roof. You will often find them making nests under awnings, car ports and verandas.
Generations of female wasps
A new nest is started by a single female who is already fertilised. She builds a few cells and lays one egg in each. The wasps that emerge from the cells are all female who are sterile. Their job is to expand the nest and to tend to the next generation of larvae. Eventually, after several broods of sterile females, the initial female will lay eggs that develop into fertile males and females. The unfortunate males die after mating while the females find a safe spot where they can remain dormant until the next summer.
Are Paper Wasps dangerous?
These wasps do not bother about you unless you bother them! If you knock a nest by accident, or on purpose, they are going to come after you! Unlike bees they can sting you multiple times. Their stings are painful, and so it is best not to disturb these little creatures. It is understandable that you may want to get rid of a nest that is very close to your house. What you need to do is knock the nest down with a broom or stick. Before doing this, I spray some insect spray in the general area of the nest and stay at a distance until the wasps have moved off. Only then do I knock down the nest.