Wasps are known as beneficial insects because they prey on other small animal pests, pollinate flowers and produce honey for human consumption. However, they carry a venomous sting that can be very painful and may cause extreme allergic reactions in some people.
Wasps do not sting unless disturbed; which sometimes happens accidentally, and thus they are also classified as pests.
Female solitary wasps build mud nests where they lay their eggs. They prey on small insects by paralysing them with stings. They then stock their prey in the nests so that the young larvae can feed on these paralysed, but live, victims. The sting of the solitary wasp can be quite severe; fortunately, they do not sting unless severely provoked. They never inflict multiple stings and therefore are not dangerous.
Social wasps will defend their nests aggressively and will attack if their nests are approached. Multiple stings from the larger wasps such as hornets are dangerous, and the victim needs to be hospitalised immediately. Some victims have died from hornet stings.
In Singapore, the common hornets are the banded hornets, the lesser-banded hornets and the slender-banded hornets. These are black with an orange band on the body Other social wasps are smaller than the hornet and will also attack if their nests are disturbed. The night wasps nest in bushes and enter our homes because they are attracted to light. They will sting if they land on one’s skin. They usually sting just once.
Although wasps do not sting unless disturbed, they pose a threat to humans when they build their nests near our habitats because sometimes they can be accidentally disturbed