A warm spring day in the month of April, you wake up go into your living room and see these large reddish brown wasps coming out of your fireplace in the living room. I know what you’re thinking call an exterminator right, he can find the nest and spray it?

Unfortunately there is no nest to treat, and your about 8 months behind from correcting your problem. Polistes paper wasps are a very common type of paper wasp. Large eusocial wasps with long legs, usually brown, yellow markings. Build distinctive paper nest attached to a surface upside down (such as roof eaves of houses and hollow trees) by a stalk. No outer covering of cells. The nests are built from a mixture of wood tissue and saliva. The queen heads up the nest followed by smaller female workers that are non reproductive. They will defend their nests with a very painful sting.

So why am I seeing these wasps now right after winter? In the temperate areas, future queens from an established nest emerge and cluster to overwinter in sheltered sites. Most commonly on homes around the chimney area, and always on the side of the house that gets the most sun during the day. When outside air temperatures start to warm up in the 70”s for several days in a row, the new queens emerge out of hibernation and start new nests. Usually every year they pick the same area to hibernate in.

So what can I do?

  1. You must try to seal off any openings in the house to keep them from swarming inside. Vacuuming and swatting wasps can be used to kill and remove any trapped wasps in the house.
  2. Locating the area on the outside of the house where they appear to be coming out of. This is important so that when the swarm is over, you can have a contractor close off the area they are overwintering in.
  3. You can either wait for the swarm to end which usually takes about a week, or call a professional pest control company to treat the areas around the exterior of the house where the swarm is coming out from.