Earth wasps: how dangerous are they?

Ground wasps in the garden are not uncommon. Many species of wasps build their nests in the ground. There is a large and well protected area. Two species of short-headed wasps in particular – the common hornet (Vespula vulgaris) and the German hornet (Vespula germanica) – prefer to build their nests in the garden. The proximity of humans suits insects. Here they will find plenty of food and practical nesting sites. On the other hand, gardeners are not very enthusiastic about wasp nests in their immediate vicinity. How dangerous are ground wasps – and what can you do against them?

Ground wasps are common

Ground wasps begin to build their nests as early as spring. Shaded and well-protected places in the garden are favorites. Proximity to feeding sites is another factor, which is why ground wasps nests are found near backyards, in flowerbeds, in compost sites, or next to garden sheds. Animals love to be around people and are attracted to their food and drink. If there are already gaps and holes in the ground, they are often used to build the nest. Old rat holes are also accepted as shells for ground wasps’ nests. Nests are carefully looked after throughout the summer. Wasps die in the fall – only the queen spends the winter and establishes a new colony the following spring.

What makes earth wasps dangerous?

Basically, terrestrial wasps are no more dangerous than other flying insects. If the nest location allows, cordon off the area and leave the insects alone. However, due to the proximity of humans and the construction of nests in the ground, there is a high risk of walking barefoot on animals in a high-frequency garden area. Wasps also like to be intrusive when they are looking for food on the balcony. Then there is the relative size of the state. Between five and ten thousand animals panting in a ground wasp’s nest. If the state frightens, things can quickly become difficult. Ground wasps are not aggressive in nature, but they will band together to defend themselves. Trampling a nest is rarely a single bite. Unlike bees, wasps can pull their guilt after a sting. Animals can sting multiple times. If you get caught in a ground wasp attack, it can easily become dangerous, especially for children and the elderly. Dogs are also at risk of extinction, as they like to stick their noses into the holes of wasps.

How toxic are ground hornets?

The venom of the earth wasp is comparable in strength to the poison of other hornets. The puncture site turns red, itching, burning and swelling. Depending on how sensitive a person is to hornet venom, complications can also occur. The sting of a ground hornet becomes life-threatening if there are too many of them at once, if you sting in the head or if you have an allergic reaction to insect venom. The puncture site should be cooled immediately. Antihistamines help reduce the inflammatory response in the body. If palpitations, cold sweats, breathing difficulties, or swelling of entire parts of the body occur, an emergency physician should be called immediately. Children should always be checked by a doctor if they have had a wasp sting.

Ground wasps and ground hornet nests in the garden are not only dangerous, but also difficult to remove. Here you’ll find tips from fighting to moving.

Can you remove the nests of ground wasps?

Wasps are under the protection of nature and should not be destroyed in this way. Therefore, refrain from buying hornet venom and contact an expert to remove the nest or move the hornet. In the private sector, you will usually have to contact a pest controller. Every once in a while, the firefighters jump in, too. Some communities offer an “emergency wasp service” that can advise on this topic. Never remove a wasp’s nest alone! Simply damaging the nest is a criminal offense and can be very serious. However, abandoned nests may be filled in in late fall. This could prevent the animals from resettling next year. Some plants also prevent wasps from building their nests. The scents of lavender, frankincense, basil, tomato and garlic repel insects. Watch wasps on their spotting expeditions in the spring and seal any interesting cracks before they start building their nests. Regular plowing of the soil, for example in bedding, ensures that the animals do not feel comfortable and do not settle in the first place.

Have you discovered a ground wasp’s nest in the garden? Here’s how to remove a nest and drive out ground wasps.


iStock / sarahdoow

iStock / Leonid Eremechuk

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