The southern United States is home to the greatest diversity of insect pest species in the country, but surprisingly, researchers have concluded that residents of Massachusetts struggle with insect pest problems more often than residents of most other states. After researchers thoroughly analyzed the social media comments and conversations posted by Americans in all 50 states during 2017, they found that residents of Massachusetts discussed arthropod pest issues more often than residents in 40 other states, leading researchers to declare Massachusetts the tenth most “pest-iest” state in the US. The most common pests discussed among residents were bed bugs, silverfish, spiders, and strangely, scorpions. However, these arthropods were only the runners-up, as hornets were of the greatest concern to Massachusetts residents.

While hornets are often assumed to constitute their very own insect genus, hornets are actually a type of wasp. Wasps species also include yellow jackets and cicada killers. It may not be surprising for residents of Massachusetts and other northeastern states to learn that wasps were the most discussed insect pests among social media users in the region, as numerous wasp attacks have occured in New England over the past five years, and several homes in the region have been found to contain enormous, and in some cases, active wasp nests. During the spring, summer and fall of 2014, several wasp swarming incidents occurred in populated regions of Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. According to one expert who removes wasp nests from northeastern homes for a living, 2014 saw 50 percent more wasp pest issues than normal for summers in the region.

The northeast is home to numerous wasp species, the most dangerous of which are baldfaced hornets, which nest within trees and on the eaves of buildings. Another wasp species of concern in the region, the German yellow jacket, is well known for establishing nests within people’s homes.

Another wasp scare gripped the northeast during the summer of 2017 when, according to Marj Rines, a naturalist at the Mass Audubon Society, stated that residents had been reporting wasp nests within and around homes at unusually high rates. This was the same year that a 48 year old Foxborough man succumbed to a yellow jacket attack while conducting yard work on his property. While several over-the-counter insecticides can be used to control wasp populations around a home, it is highly recommended that residents contact a professional pest controller upon finding active nests on their property.

Have you ever found an active wasp nest attached to the exterior of your home?