Common Stinging Pests in the U.A.E.

Arabian Paper Wasp

Latin Name - Delta Campaniforme.

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?
Arabian Paper Wasps can be identified by the characteristic three black spots on the head. Large compound darker yellow eyes.
LENGTH: Reaches up to 25mm in size.
COLOR: Antennae are yellow, rather long.
WINGS: Wings are clear with a yellow color.

 

Facts

Do they sting?

Unlike Yellow Jackets and hornets, which can be very aggressive, Arabian Paper wasps will generally only attack if they themselves or their nest are threatened. Since their territoriality can lead to attacks on people, and because their stings are quite painful and can produce a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction in some individuals, nests in human-inhabited areas present a hazard.

What do they eat?

Paper wasps feed on nectar and other insects, including caterpillars, flies, and beetle larvae. Because they are a known pollinator and feed on known garden pests, paper wasps are often considered to be beneficial by gardeners.

Where Do They Live?

Arabian Paper wasp nests are mostly constructed between rocks or in cracks and in urban sheltered areas, such as the eaves of a house, the branches of a tree, on the end of an open pipe, or on an old clothesline or on walls. Nest contains no fewer than two dozen cells. Commonly found around the UAE, coastal areas and in well vegetated areas. Active from March to November. They are a noisy flying wasp and on warm days will congregate around water, both to quench their thirst and carry water supplies back to the larvae at the nest.

Reproduction

A single fertilized queen is responsible for starting a new paper wasp nest. Once her first brood matures, they will expand the nest as needed. This brood becomes workers that forage for food and care for new larvae as the colony grows. In late fall or winter, the nests are abandoned. Fertilized queens are the only paper wasps to survive until spring, when those that survive establish a new colony. The queen finds a suitable nesting site and constructs a small comb nest in which she raises her first brood of larvae. These larvae mature into adult workers which then begin to forage for food, care for the new young and enlarge the nest.

Colonies

The key to identifying paper wasps is the shape of the nest – a round, upside-down paper comb that is attached by a single stalk to a horizontal surface in a protected location. Most paper wasp colonies number only a few dozen workers, but under the right conditions, a colony might produce more than 100 workers. In early fall, the colony produces queens which fly out to find a site to overwinter. Paper wasps have colonies that do not survive the winter. Instead, they all die at the end of the season and only the fertilized queen survives the winter and goes on to establish a new colony the following spring. Each nest is used only once and is completely abandoned in late fall. Both hornets and yellow jackets are territorial and are not likely to build a nest near an existing one (whether it’s occupied or not).

 

Yellow Jackets

Latin Name - Vespula spp. and Dolichovespula spp.

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?
Yellow jackets, genera Dolichovespula and Vespula, are wasps that can be identified by their alternating black and yellow body segments and small size.
LENGTH: They measure 10 to 16 mm in length.
COLOR: Most yellow jackets are black and yellow, although some may exhibit white and black coloration.
THIN WAIST: In contrast to the bee, the yellow jacket’s waist is thinner and defined.
WINGS: Their elongated wings are as long as the body and fold laterally when at rest.

 

Facts

Do they sting?

Known to be aggressive defenders of their colonies, yellow jackets are otherwise not quick to sting. However, the sting of a yellow jacket is painful, and each insect is capable of delivering multiple stings. Because they are equipped with lance like stingers with small barbs, compared to the larger barbs in honey bees, yellow jackets are capable of stinging repeatedly. Yellow jacket stings may induce severe allergic reactions in some individuals.

What do they eat?

Yellow jackets are pollinators and may also be considered beneficial because they eat beetle grubs, flies and other harmful pests. However, they are also known scavengers who eat meat, fish and sugary substances, making them a nuisance near trash receptacles and picnics.

Yellow Jackets vs Bees

They are often mistaken for bees, although their bodies lack the same amount of hair, rounded abdomen, and the expanded hind leg used for carrying pollen of the bee. These social wasps live in colonies that may contain thousands of insects at a time.

Where Do They Live?

Many yellow jackets are ground-nesters. Their colonies can be found under porches or steps, in sidewalk cracks, around railroad ties or at the base of trees. Sometimes the queen uses a wall void of a building as a nesting place. Some yellow jackets build aerial nests in bushes or low-hanging branches or in the corners of buildings and other manmade structures.

Reproduction

A queen yellow jacket starts a new nest by building a small paper nest in which she lays the first batch of eggs. After hatching, these eggs are fed by the queen until they are ready to pupate and mature into adult yellow jackets. Adults live through one season and feed on caterpillars, grubs and other insects. They also enjoy nectar and sweet substances such as fruit and tree sap. Yellow jackets are attracted to garbage and other human foods, particularly meats and sweets.

 

Colonies

A colony may contain 1,000 or more workers by fall. All of the workers are sterile females. In late summer males will begin to appear. When they become adults, they will mate with the females that will become the next year’s queens. The fertilized females will hibernate through the winter. The workers and the males will perish when the weather turns cold.

 

Red Potter Wasp

Latin Name - Delta Dimidiatipenne.

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?
Easily recognizable by its large size, reddish brown body and large black compound eyes. Short antennae that is about the same length as the thorax. Long mandibles, crossed when not in use.
LENGTH: They measure 30-40mm in length.
COLOR: Reddish brown body with a mostly black abdomen.
WINGS: When these wasps are relaxed will keep their wings folded. Wing tips are black.

 

Facts

Do they sting?

Potter wasps are capable of stinging, but rarely do so unless extremely provoked. Even still, they should be treated with caution, as potter wasp stings are painful and, like any other wasp sting, will cause redness and swelling.

What do they eat?

Potter wasps are solitary, and feed on flower nectar and hunt caterpillars to feed their larvae.

Where Do They Live?

Potter wasps are so named for their characteristic nest building behavior. The nest is contracted by the female from sand or mud which is mixed with saliva in the wasp's jaws to form a wet clay. The wasp then creates pellets of this material by dribbling the wet clay from its mouthparts on to the nest to mold a small pot shaped vessel. These nests consist of several chambers. Builds clay nests on the side of the walls in populated areas, on rock and between trees stumps. It is the most common Potter wasp in the UAE. Most commonly sighted in April and active during the day and early evening.

Reproduction

Potter wasps make mud nests for their eggs and larvae or use abandoned burrows of other insects. Potter wasp adults collect small caterpillars to feed their young. The caterpillars are paralyzed with the wasp’s sting and piled into the brood cell which is the compartment in which the wasp larvae develops. The female wasp then lays an egg on the stored caterpillars. The Potter wasp larvae consumes from 1 to 12 caterpillars as it grows. Potter wasps are important in the natural control of caterpillars.

Colonies

Potter wasps are so-called solitary wasps, with each female building a nest entirely on her own. Potter wasp nests vary widely in shape and location; some are built underground, some are pasted to hard surfaces, and many are built on or around the stem of a plant. Potter wasps have nests on the smaller side. This is because the two are not social wasps, and thus only create a habitat for their offspring, not an entire colony.

 

European Hornets

 

Latin Name - Vespa Crabro (Linnaeus).

WHAT DO THEY LOOK LIKE?
Adults somewhat resemble Yellow Jackets, but are much larger and are brown with wide yellow markings rather than black with yellow markings.
LENGTH: The European hornet is a large insect. The adults range in size between 2 and 3.5 cm in length.
COLOR: They are brown with yellow stripes on the abdomen and a pale face.
WINGS: They have two pairs of wings that are reddish-orange.

 

Facts

Do They Sting?

The insects are not especially hostile towards humans, but they will strike multiple times if threatened. Despite a European hornet’s large size, the pest’s sting feels similar to a common honey bee or wasp sting. Hornet venom can cause allergic reactions in some people.

What Do They Eat?

European hornets feed on large insects, such as grasshoppers, yellow jackets, and bees. Because of this, most people consider them to be beneficial. They also gather sap from plants.

Where Do They Live?

European hornets seek out natural cavities located 6 or more feet off the ground. Typical nest locations include tree hollows, wall voids, attics, and inside barns or other outdoor buildings. Outdoor light fixtures may draw these nocturnal pests to homes at night. Sightings of large workers indicate the presence of European hornets.

Reproduction

In late summer, male hornets and fertile females begin to hatch. The males mate with the fertile females. These will be the queens for the following spring. The fertilized females seek a hiding place to spend the winter. The males and the workers die as winter approaches.

Colonies

The European hornet is a social insect. This means that it lives in a colony. The colony starts in the spring with a fertilized queen that spent the winter hibernating. She finds a place to build a nest. She uses chewed-up cellulose from decayed wood to make the nest. At first, the nest only has a few cells. The queen lays an egg in each cell. When the eggs hatch, the queen feeds the larvae nectar and insects. When the larvae have developed into adults, they take over the work. The workers are sterile female insects. The queen’s job is to produce eggs. Through the summer, the number of workers grows. They expand the nest and bring food for the larvae.