Are wasps taking over? Tennessee Valley residents report unusually high wasp activity

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TENNESSEE VALLEY -- A concerned viewer contacted us about wasps swarming around her house and neighborhood that are making it hard to go outside.

Kym Fredricksen lives in Hampton Cove and says the wasps are so bad she can't make it to her mailbox without being attacked by the flying pests.

When she contacted the WHNT News 19 newsroom, several people here chimed in, saying they had similar experiences all over the Huntsville area.

We reached out to Ken Creel with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System to help shed some light on what is driving the insects wild.

"It's perfectly usual. Whenever the weather cools down then warms up, that signals wasps to prepare for the winter," Creel told us.

Our meteorologists say that highs will reach the middle 80s Monday, which is a whopping 15° warmer than normal! This warm weather is exactly what wasps look for to prepare for winter.

There's little need to worry, though. As soon as the weather cools down again, the wasps will retreat for the winter.

Creel also said this is also the peak time for ladybugs to prepare for winter. Watch out for those critters trying to make it indoors!

Find out when the weather will cool down -- and when the wasps will subside -- on our weather blog, Valleywx.com, by clicking here.

18 comments

  • Ray

    I noticed an unusual amount of wasps yesterday in Jones Valley on a tree. They were buzzing all around the tree. It might be a normal thing but I have never noticed them in such large numbers before though..

      • ken creel

        Google is fun and very confusing and very misleading most of the time. The wasp in the photo here is actually a European paper wasp (Polistes dominula). Google away

  • Misty Williams

    I got stung last night by a European Hornet, I think. It was in my kitchen. Don’t try to swat them with your hands! It was as big a a quarter.

  • Elizabeth Millard

    They must be taking over! My son and wife have a newborn baby and were infested with wasps inside their house on Sunday (wasps had many nests inside their gas log fireplace). Thanks to “The Bug Doctor” they sprayed yesterday and hopefully the house will be safe to re-enter tonight. My husband and I have enjoyed having them at our house for two nights!…..so this situation hasn’t been all “bad”!!! (Guntersville, AL)

  • KB

    I live in Hazel Green and I had a HUGE (I mean its lower body was over an inch long) wasp fly into my garage!! I’m allergic to bee and wasp stings and had my son kill it. I’ve never seen a wasp that big before! Not even when I lived in Florida.

  • Kayla

    We had these in our yard so we took one of the ones we killed to the co-op and they said they were Japanese hornets and very dangerous!

  • Reggie

    I live near Charity Lane and Pulaski Pike in Toney and the big red wasps (someone else can look them up if they want to) seem to be looking for water. I have a couple of 5 gal buckets set out in the yard to (drip) water my small trees. There is a layer of dead wasps on the top of the water and more are swarming around the buckets. They seem to be landing on the outside spigots and hoses as well. I did not notice this all summer but now they are all over. I ignore them until they get in the way or land on me. I am not allergic to bees, wasps, or bugs in general so they are more a bother then they are a danger. I do work to keep them from the house since I have family members who are allergic.

  • Tim Gledermite

    I had 1-200 wasp in my front yard Sunday. They were fighting and carrying on. It’s absolutely time to panic. I sprayed a can of wasp spray and it merely stunned a couple while 30 were right there waiting to attack. The only thing that repeled them was loud music; they hate loud music. Panic!

  • Susan silva

    My uncle said that he poured gas into a yellow jacket nest and lit it, and the wasp actually extinguished the flames and then set his gas can on fire. They are out of control!!!

  • B

    I don’t know if I have necessarily noticed more this year, but wasp are always out when the it’s sunny and nice. Especially where there is shelter that’s no often disturbed for them.
    Now yellow jackets, I haven’t had much problem with in the past. This year they seem to be everywhere, the Yorkie puppy I bought for my girlfriend a couple of years ago for her birthday was stung over 30 times about 2 weeks ago. Luckily we noticed he wasn’t acting right on the way out the door for work that morning and took him along to keep an eye on him. Once in the car, my girlfriend began noticing the stings on the way to Huntsville. By the time we made it to South Parkway from Arab he was barely breathing among other things. Thankfully we got him to Animal Care Clinic on South Parkway in time and they were able to stabilize him and saved his life! Very greatful for their help!
    I guess I just wanted to share to remind people that wasp, yellow jackets, etc aren’t just a threat to humans. They can kill your loved pet just as quick. We still have not been able to locate the source of the yellow jackets that stung him though. It happened about 3 weeks ago.

  • Candace Seaton

    I have seen them, but they are no threat. One flew right into my forehead yesterday…bonk…and flew away, no harm done. I enjoy watching nature and never get stung or bitten.

  • Turk McGee

    I took to defending myself against these ol wasp. Covered myself in tar and six layers of thermal underwear and a gallon zip lock bag over my head. I took my bow staff and a 6 foot ladder and was gonna womp em but the bag fogged up and all I saw was black. Point being don’t be no hero!! They tore apart my pants and ate my money. Hire a pro. And I herd that story about gas can 2, ol boys be smart

    • B

      Did it ever cross your mind that breathing can be quite difficult with a plastic bag over your head? lol be glad it only fogged up and you didn’t sufocate while you were on your ladder lol.
      They make a very effective wasp killer, spray that sprays about 15′ or better for hanging best. I recommend that route next time. As far as the gas, if it’s yellow jackets in the ground. Diesel fuel or kerosene is much safer. It doesn’t have the vapors like gas, that you can’t see and spread all around you before lighting. Deisel or kero will only burn what you poor it on. 👍

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