Jack Spaniard

Jack Spaniard: Bold wasps around your home

Sharing your home with the Jack Spaniard is a mind-boggling experience. These brazen wasps build their nests in plain sight which hang from the awning or ceiling of your house. They zig zag frantically in large numbers around their comb-like paper nests and basically mind their business as long as you mind yours. If you pay them any mind, then they would attack you fiercely with a sting that leaves your face swollen for days.

What attracts the Jack Spaniard to your home?

These wasps choose to build their nests at your residence when you have everything they need. A UWI article states that the Jack Spaniard is found in habitats where there is an intermediate amount of vegetation in the nearby surroundings…in countries such as Trinidad and Tobago; located in the Caribbean and some parts of Peru and Brazil; in South America. If you live in the tropics or have a lot of trees, plants and bush around your home, then you may be familiar with these wasps.

Jep and Jack Spania in the Caribbean

People in the Caribbean are all too familiar with the wasps which they call Jep or Jack Spania. Most of them have a story to tell about being stung by one or a swarm of Jep or Jack Spania when they were children. Although they were warned by adults to leave the wasps alone, they usually find out the hard way for themselves. As adults, they keep their heads straight and comfortably pass near a Jack Spaniard nest without worry.

Why keep the Jack Spaniard around?

Just like keeping the house lizard around to eat flies, some people leave the Jack Spaniard alone because they hunt caterpillars to feed their families. Also, while the wasps protect your plants from the pesky caterpillars, they help to pollinate the flowers in your garden. In return, they get a place to stay at your home. It may sound like a sweet deal but the truth is you really have been extorted by the Jack Spaniard with no choice in the matter.

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How to pass the nest without being attacked?

Many people simply ignore the dangling nest of the Jack Spaniard outside their home. If it is not that simple for you, then turn your head in the opposite direction of the nest and walk pass quickly and silently. To feel even safer, you may wear a hoodie to cover your face or use an umbrella to shield yourself as you pass the nest. The wasps commonly attack people when they feel threatened. Passing too close to the nest while staring, shouting, waving or clapping is reason to be attacked.

What to do when stung by a Jack Spaniard

When the wasp stings you, it burns and the area swells almost immediately. According to WebMD, take acetaminophen (Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Motrin) for pain relief as needed. Wash the sting site with soap and water. Placing hydrocortisone cream on the sting can help relieve redness, itching, and swelling.

In the Caribbean, the common home remedies to sooth wasp stings are rubbing petroleum jelly, toothpaste or urine on the affected area. While these may offer some relief or even just a placebo effect for many people, they are not recommended for persons with an allergic reaction to stings. These persons should visit the ER as soon as possible if they get a fever, respiratory problems, dizziness, nausea or have a history of allergic reactions.

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How to get rid of the nest for good

Getting rid of the nest is easy if you have no intention of keeping them alive and setting them free in your backyard. You can simply spray the wasps and the nest with a pesticide or torch them with an alighted newspaper wrapped on a stick. Then, remove the nest because if you leave it, in exactly two hours, the other members of the colony would rebuild it right there again.

If you intend to keep them alive, then you need to gear up before attempting this stunt.

– Cover your head, face, arms, hands and the rest of your body with a hat, wrap, mask, goggles, gloves, turtle neck, long sleeves, trousers and sneakers

– Get a step ladder if the nest is too high, slowly take it under the nest and walk away

– Grab a medium sized bag and open it wide as you walk towards the nest and climb the ladder

– Guide the opened bag gradually under the nest while capturing the furious flying wasps

– Go closer to the nest until the bag reaches the ceiling

– Close the bag and tighten your grasp to scrape the nest and the petiole inside

– Take the bag far away from your home near a tree and set them free. They will rebuild somewhere else and still have access to the caterpillars in your yard.

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