There are many stinging insects in Colorado and wasps are among them. Wasps are known to repeatedly sting any perceived threats, making them more troublesome. Today, we at Effective Pest Services would like to discuss the wasps of Northern Colorado.
Social Wasp Species Found in Northern Colorado
Generally, social wasps are more aggressive since they work together to attack. Social wasps develop a protective colony. Their nests are look like they are made out of paper and cardboard. Nests that are built above ground it will appear as a tiny umbrella-like structure with catacombs in the spring. By fall it will evolve into a larger, enclosed structure, usually oval or bulbous in shape.
Western Yellow Jacket – Similarly looking to bees with its bold black and yellow coloring, the Western yellow jacket will swarm around areas where there is open trash, or exposed meats and sweets. Though yellowjackets in the state are aggressive, Western yellow jacket is the most aggressive. Because many nests will have up to 200 individual wasps in them, these fierce insects are more of a threat in fall. Their nests are usually found inside ground holes that have only a small opening where the yellow jackets enter and exit.
Western Paper Wasp – In Colorado, the Western paper wasp and European paper wasp are also common. They create these nests in different areas and the wasps build open cell nests that do not have a papery casing. Under overhangs is where the Western paper wasp prefers to build nests. Inside small cavities on buildings, inside pipes and gutters, and in manmade items that have cavities, like outdoor grills is where the European paper wasp will develop nests. Because of their yellow and black coloring, these wasps can be mistaken for yellow jackets.
Bald Faced Hornet – The bald-faced hornet is actually a wasp. These wasps build large nests under overhangs, on eaves, in trees, and inside bushes, which are usually fairly easy to spot. They are brought close to human since their temperament and scavenging habits are similar to yellow jackets. They have mostly black bodies and their mostly pale faces.
What Kind of Solitary Wasps Live in Northern CO?
Solitary wasps are not usually aggressive. They usually only sting when they are handled, or when they accidentally come in contact with the skin. Their nests are constructed to accommodate offspring and dead insects give as food for their developing young. Depending on the species, hunting wasps have different nesting habits. Some will excavate nests in the ground, other create chambers in the pith of plants and few hunting nests will use pre-existing holes to develop a nest in. Some solitary wasps will build a structure made from mud.
Mud Daubers – The most common hunting wasp in the state are mud daubers. These wasps are black and yellow with a thread-like waist. Though they look intimidating, they are not aggressive wasps and are black and yellow with a thread-like waist.
Spider Wasps – With tan wings and bluish-black wasps are spider wasps. These wasps hunt spiders, paralyze them, and take them back to their nest to provide food for developing young. These wasps tend to reuse abandoned mud structures made by mud daubers or in ground holes. They have a very painful sting and should be avoided, though this wasp isn’t likely to sting you unless you handle it.
Velvet Ants – More common to prairie areas, velvet ants are an unusual wasp. The females are wingless and extremely active. They can cause a painful sting if they come in contact with humans. Their furry exterior makes these wasps can be distinguished.