Wasps Working Overtime in Northern Nevada

A wet winter and spring may be the reason you’re seeing more wasps right now in Northern Nevada. Commonly known as “meat bees” they tend to cluster around dog and cat food, BBQs and even dead animals.

These days these wasps are as busy as bees. But they aren't bees at all.

“Normally they are out there picking up caterpillars, aphids, larvae, other insects, things like that. At this point they are starting to be more like scavengers and starting to go after hamburger, hot dogs, dog food, cat food, and that's when they start to be a problem,” says Nevada State Entomologist, Jeff Knight.

Knight says most likely the wasps in most abundance right now are the Bald Face Hornet, the Western Yellow Jacket, and the European Paper Wasp.

The western yellow jacket usually has an open nest in eaves, fence rails, or door frames.

“They take food back to the colony to the nest, and feed the larvae. They are very important in picking up other insects, scavenging other insects, cleaning things up,” says Knight.

For nests, Knight says you can use spray designed to kill the wasps. Just make sure you apply it early in the morning when it’s cooler and they are in-active, and make sure you have an escape route.

The wasps should be around until the first cold snap. Then Knight says all of them die off except the queen who hibernates until the weather heats up again.

He says they’ve been known to eat through wood, or find their way into bedroom, living rooms, and kitchens.

By that time they aren’t too happy and they’ll let you know about it.


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