BEE AND WASP CONTROL
|Fig. 1 Yellowjacket||Fig. 2 Baldfaced hornet||Fig. 3 Paper wasp|
Wasps and bees are beneficial insects, although they are generally considered to be pests because of their ability to sting. Wasps, in particular, can become a problem in autumn when they may disrupt many outdoor activities. People often mistakenly call all stinging insects “bees”. While both social wasps and bees live in colonies ruled by queens and maintained by workers, they look and behave differently. It is important to distinguish between these insects because different methods may be necessary to control them if they become a nuisance.
Wasps have a slender body with a narrow waist, slender, cylindrical legs, and appear smoothed-skinned and shiny. Yellowjackets, baldfaced hornets, and paper wasps are the most common types of wasps encountered by people (figs. 1, 2, 3).
|Fig. 4 Honey bee||Fig. 5 Bumblebee|
Bees are robust-bodied and very hairy compared with wasps (figs. 4, 5). Their hind legs are flattened for collecting and transporting pollen. Bees are important pollinators. Honey bees are responsible for more than 80% of the pollination required by most fruits, legumes, and vegetable seed plants as well as many ornamentals that are grown in our landscapes. Bumblebees are important pollinators of native prairie plants.
Wasps are predators, feeding insects and other arthropods to their young, which develop in the nest. They are beneficial because they prey on many insects, including caterpillars, flies, crickets, and other pests. During late summer and fall, as queens stop laying eggs and their nests decline, wasps change their food gathering priorities and are more interested in collecting sweets and other carbohydrates. Some wasps may become aggressive scavengers around human food and may be common around outdoor activities where food or drinks are served.
Bees feed only on nectar (carbohydrates) and pollen (protein) from flowers. Honey bees sometimes visit trash cans and soft-drink containers to feed on sugary foods.
|Fig. 6 Cutaway view of underground yellowjacket nest|
(Courtesy Arthur Antonelli, Washington State University)
|Fig. 7 Paper wasp nest|
(Courtesy Roger Akre)
Yellowjackets, baldfaced hornets, and paper wasps make nests from a papery pulp comprised of chewed-up wood fibers mixed with saliva. Yellowjacket and baldfaced hornet nests consist of a series of rounded combs stacked in tiers. These combs are covered by an envelope consisting of several layers of pulp (fig. 6). Paper wasps construct only one comb without any protective envelope (fig. 7). These insects are sometimes known as umbrella wasps because of the shape of their nest.
Yellowjackets, baldfaced hornets, and paper wasps nest in quiet, out of the way places. Unfortunately, in urban areas this may conflict with people and their interests.
Yellowjackets commonly build nests below ground in old rodent burrows or other cavities (figs. 6, 9). They can also build nests in trees, shrubs, under eaves, and inside attics or wall voids (fig. 10). Baldfaced hornets commonly build nests in the open in trees (fig. 8) as well as under eaves and along the sides of buildings.
Paper wasps build nests under any horizontal surface and are commonly found on limbs, overhangs, eaves of buildings, beams and supports in attics, garages, barns, sheds, and other similar places (fig. 7).
Honey bees make a series of vertical honey combs made of wax. Their colonies are mostly in manufactured hives but they do occasionally nest in cavities in large trees, voids in building walls, or other protected areas.
Bumblebees use old mice burrows, cavities in buildings, and other locations to make their nests. Like honey bees, bumblebees make cells of wax.
Life Cycle of Wasps and Bees
and bumblebees have annual colonies that last for only one year. The colony dies in the fall with only the newly produced queens surviving the winter. The new queens leave their nests during late summer and mate with males. The queens then seek out overwintering sites, such as under loose bark, in rotted logs, under siding or tile, and in other small crevices and spaces, where they become dormant. These queens become active the following spring when temperatures warm. They search for favorable nesting sites to construct new nests. They do not reuse old nests.
Honey bees are perennial insects with colonies that survive more than one year. Honey bees form a cluster when hive temperatures approach 57° F. As the temperature drops, the cluster of bees becomes more compact. Bees inside this mass consume honey and generate heat so that those in the cluster do not freeze. As long as honey is available in the cluster, a strong colony can withstand temperatures down to -30° F. or lower for extended periods.
Wasp and Bee Stings
Wasps and bees sting to defend themselves or their colony. Stinging involves the injection of a protein venom that causes pain and other reactions.
Wasps and bumblebees can sting more than once because they are able to pull out their stinger without injury to themselves. If you are stung by a wasp or bumblebee, the stinger is not left in your skin.
Honey bees have barbs on their stinger which remain hooked in the skin. The stinger, which is connected to the digestive system of the bee, is torn out of the abdomen as the bee attempts to fly away. As a result, the bee soon dies. If you are stung by a honey bee, scratch out the stinger (with its attached venom gland) with your fingernail as soon as possible. Do not try to pull out the stinger between two fingers. Doing so only forces more venom into your skin, causing greater irritation.
Most people have only local reactions to wasp and bee stings, although a few may experience more serious allergic reactions. Local, nonallergic reactions range from burning, itching, redness, and tenderness to massive swelling and itching that may last up to a week. These local reactions can be treated with ice, vinegar, honey, meat tenderizer, or commercial topical ointment to relieve the itching. An allergic reaction may include hives or rash, swelling away from the sting site, headache, minor respiratory symptoms, and stomach upset. These allergic reactions are not life-threatening and can be readily treated with an antihistamine.
Very rarely, a person may suffer a life-threatening, systemic allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting, which can cause anaphylactic shock (fainting, difficulty breathing, swelling, and blockage in the throat) within minutes of being stung. These systemic symptoms are cause for immediate medical attention. People with known systemic allergic reactions to bee or wasp stings should consult with their physician to obtain an Epi-PenTM or Ana-Guard Sting KitTM to carry with them at all times. The venoms of bees and wasps are different, so having a severe reaction to a wasp sting does not mean a person will have the same reaction to a bee sting.
Control of Nests
The first step in wasp or bee control is to correctly identify the insect and locate its nesting site. An experienced pest control service such as Natures Way Pest Control may provide wasp or bee control service. Please dont try to knock down the nest yourself!! Call us we will do it for you!!
The best time of the year to control wasps is in June after the queen has established her colony and while the colony is still small. But because nests are small, they are also harder to find. Inspection is key! The best time of the day to control wasp nests is at night, when they are less active. At temperatures below 50° F, wasps have difficulty flying. Never seal a wasp nest until you are sure there are no surviving wasps inside. If a nest is not discovered until fall, control may be unnecessary as imminent freezing temperatures will kill the colony.
|Fig. 7 Paper wasp nest|
(Courtesy Roger Akre)
|Fig. 8 Baldfaced hornet nest|
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