Other news from Diagnostic Services

Editor’s note: This article is from the archives of the MSU Crop Advisory Team Alerts. Check the label of any pesticide referenced to ensure your use is included.

Wendy Marek, Administrative Assistant, in the Mason County MSUE office emailed me some very nice photos of a termite swarmer that showed up in a client’s home. (Never a good thing!). Swarmers or winged termites, also known as alates, are members of the colony’s reproductive caste. These typically issue by the 1000’s from mature colonies following a warm spring rain. The presence of winged termites in or around a structure indicates that a colony has been present for a minimum of 5 to 7 years.

European paper wasp nest building is well under way in Southern Michigan. I found four small nests attached to the top of my bird feeder this week and have spotted several more in outdoor lights and under the eves of the house. Now is time to destroy the nest and kill the wasps because the colonies are small and wasps are much more timid than they are in August.

European paper wasp, Polistes dominulus, is an Old World species that has a native range from Europe to China. The species is by far the most common Polistes in Western Europe. It has successfully invaded the New World, both in South America ( Chile) and North America--and is rapidly expanding its range in the United States. It was first discovered in the United States in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1981. Since then it has spread west to Wisconsin and at least as far south as Virginia. It was recently discovered in Sacramento, California and Washington State. It was first found in Michigan in 1994. The European paper wasp has a high reproductive rate, and therefore is an excellent invader. The European paper wasp is colored black and yellow like a yellowjacket and is slightly smaller than our native brown and tan paper wasp (Polistes fuscatus).

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