Bee removal in Mesa, AZ or in any other part of the state is often sought because while bees are an essential part of the ecosystem and do a ton of work pollinating (including billions of dollars’ worth of crops), unless you’re a beekeeper you probably don’t want to live with them.
If you or a family member is allergic to bees, it even becomes dangerous to leave them alone. While there are a few ways you can get rid of them yourself, we would recommend getting in touch with a professional pest control company for larger hives. And if you’re allergic to bee stings or think you may be, do NOT attempt to remove or kill them yourself.
Some symptoms of being allergic include the following:
- Tightness in throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Nausea or vomiting
If you’ve been stung and experience any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away. While rare, you may also go into anaphylactic shock.
Now, if you see bees around your home it doesn’t automatically mean you have a beehive on your property. These could be scouts who are still looking for that new location.
If you spot a lot of bees all huddled together, this may be a swarm of bees en route to a new location and just stopping to let the queen rest. If you see a lot of them forming to look something like a deflated football and you don’t see a hive anywhere, they’re likely just passing by. It’s recommended that you leave them alone since they’re at their most docile without honey or a nest to protect and will leave in a day or two.
If you find a lot of bees coming and going through an opening in your house, then they’ve likely set up shop there. Roofs, attics, wall cavities are some places they can build a hive, which means places that aren’t easily accessible to you.
Before getting rid of them yourself or calling a pest control service, may want to find out if there’s a beekeeper in your area. If there is one and the hive you have isn’t too troublesome to remove, they may do it for free and take it home with them, safe and sound.
Before attempting to deal with bees yourself, make sure you’re wearing protective clothing and cover as much skin as possible. Gloves, scarf, hat, and even goggles would be a good idea.
Some things you can do to repel bees:
- Bees don’t like moth balls. Placing them around the hive will encourage the bees to relocate.
- Sprinkle cinnamon around their hive. The smell of it would also encourage them to relocate.
- Plant bee repelling plants – mint, citronella, and eucalyptus are some of the more popular choices.
If you’d rather kill the bees, some methods may be:
- Cut a soda bottle in half, and leave it full of very sweet soda near where a lot of bees are. They’ll be attracted to the sweet liquid and drown in it.
- Mix one part dish soap and four parts water in a spray bottle and shake well. Spray the bees you see and the hive if visible. This will agitate the bees though and they’ll try to sting you, so make sure you wear protective clothing, and do this sporadically while seeking shelter indoors between sprays.
- Spraying them with insecticide will also work – make sure you get one for specific for bees.
Because there’s a good chance they’ll end up stinging you while you attempt to deal with them, we would recommend getting in touch with a professional pest control service to take care of it for you. Since bees are also important to our ecosystem, whenever possible have them removed and not killed. Note though that removal services are typically more expensive than having pest professionals kill them.
If their hive is left attached to your house, make sure to properly dispose of it. Otherwise, you might find honey oozing through your ceiling or walls once no bees are left to maintain it.
Another thing to note is that once they’re removed, it’s also important to seal their entry point or points – you don’t want new bees in the future finding it and leaving you with the same problem again.
Depending on what kind of bee it is, there may be different methods needed to repel or kill them. It’s also possible that you’re mistaking wasps for bees – and wasps are much more aggressive so you should know what you’re dealing with first! For more information on wasps and bees, check out our blog entries for them here.
Flying bugs freak most people out – especially ones that can sting.
Bees can look a little bit cuddly, sure, but they can still sting. Wasps have a reputation for being more aggressive, and unlike bees, the same wasp can sting you multiple times. This is because once a bee stings you, their stinger gets stuck on your skin and the bee actually dies after. Wasps don’t have this problem though so people are understandably more wary of them.
Anyone would undoubtedly be dismayed to find a bug’s nest on their property. But a nest full of aggressive, flying creatures that sting too? Zero shame in noping right out of there.
WASPS ON YOUR PROPERTY:
Obviously if you see wasps on your property that’s a good indication you may have a nest nearby. So you don’t mistake bees for wasps – they have much less hair on their bodies and look shinier. They also have rounder legs, versus the flatter legs bees have. The yellow jacket wasp is common in Arizona and is frequently mistaken for the honey bee. These wasps have yellow and black markings, but they have a brighter yellow as well as the other differences mentioned earlier.
When you spot these wasps on your property, try to determine their flight path to see where their nest is – of course, from a safe distance.
If you hear a lot of buzzing, that may be another sign that you have wasps on your property, albeit not where you can readily see them (for example, if they’ve established a nest in your attic).
If you’ve seen wasps or you hear them, do a perimeter check on your property to spot a wasp nest.
IDENTIFYING A WASP NEST:
The nest you are likely to see on the external surfaces of your home or place of business would a paper wasp nest. These nests are made out of regurgitated wood pulp and saliva, and as such look papery. They’re typically gray or straw-colored.
Wasp nests may start out as small as a golf ball, and during the summer as the wasp population increases, grow to be as big as a football or even bigger. These are smooth on the outside, but on the inside may contain hexagon-shaped cells where wasp eggs are deposited.
They’re usually found in attics, porch ceilings, the undersides of a deck, or in tree branches.
Other species of wasps build nests in the ground, and other solitary wasps prefer to lodge in natural or man-made recesses where they’re protected from most of the elements.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
These wasps will eventually go away on their own. Or rather, they’ll mostly die off during winter months. It’s only the queen that survives and she’ll be off to find a new home come spring.
Unlike a beehive, leaving an abandoned wasp nest right where it is won’t leave you with any significant property damage. Nor will it attract other wasps – and may even deter them from the site. Unlike other pests, wasps don’t re-use nests.
That said, you can still get new wasp nests on your property. Because they are more aggressive and can sting you repeatedly, we would recommend getting in touch with a professional to have them removed.
For more information on wasps, check out our other blog entries here.
If you picture yellow and black furry little flying creatures when you think of the word “bee”, that’s because you’re probably thinking of honey bees and bumblebees which are some of the most popular types of bees in the United States.
What’s called the Black Bee actually refers to a number of bee species that are black or mostly black in color. Common types of black bees found in the US are types of carpenter bees, of the genus Xylocopa, which includes around 500 types of other bees.
Many species of Xylocopa are difficult to tell apart, but most of them are all black or primarily black in color with some yellow or white hairs.
Some people even confuse carpenter bees (ones with less black coloring) to bumblebees, but a key difference is that carpenter bees have a shinier abdomen, whereas bumblebees have a much hairier abdomen.
Unlike the honey and bumble bee, the carpenter bee only has a small portion of hair on its middle abdomen, while their lower abdomen has little to no hair and appears to be black and shiny. As mentioned earlier, most carpenter bees are all black or primarily black with some yellow (or white) coloring, typically only on their head.
They have mandibles or chewing parts on the front of their head used for drilling through wood where they make their nests.
They have 4 hairy black legs, antennae, and are typically about an inch long.
The female Valley Carpenter Bee is slightly smaller at about a quarter of an inch long. They are black with a metallic sheen (male valley carpenter bees are a more golden brown in color).
Both male and female Mountain Carpenter bees are black (though males may have yellow or white hairs on their heads) and are about half an inch long.
Other notable black bees that are not carpenter bees are the Leafcutting Bees and the Mining Bees.
Black bees such as carpenter bees are solitary, so that means they don’t gather and form a colony. The female will tunnel into wood – usually a dead tree, or firewood, or the side or wooden part of a house – and lay her eggs there. She’ll create small circle “apartments”, about 6 to 10 in total, laying eggs in each one and closing off each excavated cell with regurgitated wood pulp. These cells house individual eggs, and in each one she leaves behind a ball of pollen which serves as a food source for the larvae that hatch and mature over several weeks. Eventually, they’ll chew their way out of the place.
While the female bee is setting her kids up for eventual success, the male bee will be out and about patrolling and guarding the area even though, interestingly, the male carpenter bee doesn’t have a stinger and is harmless to humans.
Once this is all done, the pair move on and will die within a few weeks.
You may spot an entrance to a carpenter bee nest by its opening, which is an almost perfect circle about the size of the diameter of your little finger.
BEHAVIOR AND DIET:
While they chew a lot of wood, they don’t actually eat it for nutrition. They eat pollen and nectar from flowering plants.
HOW DANGEROUS ARE THEY?
Male carpenter bees don’t have stingers, and as such, can’t sting humans. Females do, but they’re very docile creatures and will rarely sting – only if they feel extremely threatened.
HOW DO YOU GET RID OF THEM?
Carpenter bees may reuse old tunnels and sometimes expand them in the process, so if they’ve chosen to nest in your home, this could be significant wood damage over the years.
It’s a good idea to close off any old nests they have – plug the holes with carpenter’s glue or any suitable sealant so future carpenter bees won’t be able to reuse them. This also eliminates moisture intrusion and helps against wood decay.
Another thing to keep in mind is that carpenter bees prefer to tunnel through bare wood – they typically stay away from painted wood. While less reliable, wood that’s been treated with chemicals like stains and preservatives also fare better than bare wood.
If you have a bee problem on your property, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local pest control for help.
Hornets commonly get confused for wasps, and that’s because they’re actually a type of wasp themselves. They’re the largest of the social wasps, and can reach over 2 inches in length.
If you’ve read our previous blog entry Bees Versus Wasps, you’d know wasps are essentially bigger and meaner than bees. Well, hornets are essentially bigger and meaner than wasps! The good news is that the only hornet species to live in the US is the European hornet, and they aren’t as aggressive as other hornet types.
In this blog entry, we’ll be taking a look at some of the key differences between the two in several key categories.
Wasps – while they can range in size depending on age and species, they’re typically a quarter of an inch to an inch long. They vary in color, but one of the most common wasps are yellowjacket wasps (often mistaken for bees), and they have shiny yellow and black striped bodies. They have 2 antennae, 2 sets of wings and 6 legs, and an hourglass or “pinched-in” waists.
They have mandibles or chewing mouthparts, and ovipositors or stingers which they use to sting when threatened, and to lay eggs.
Hornets – while other hornet species can grow to be over 2 inches, the European hornet can grow to be about an inch and a half long. They’re brown with yellow and orange stripes. They have 2 antennae, 2 sets of golden-brown wings, and 6 legs. Similar to wasps, they also have an hourglass or “pinched-in” waists.
They also have mandibles and ovipositors.
Wasps – they can build nests on the ground (such as yellowjacket wasps) or they can build nests hanging from trees (such as what paper wasps build). These nests are typically straw-colored or grayish, and may appear papery depending on the species. They are typically ball-shaped.
There may be hexagonal cells inside the wasp nest, but you really shouldn’t go close enough to look (even if you think it’s an abandoned nest).
Hornets – very similar to the wasp nest described above, hornet nests are oval-shaped and may appear to be made out of paper. It’s not actually paper though, but is a paper-like substance made from a mixture of their saliva and wood. Unlike some wasps that can build their nest on the ground, hornet nests are usually high above ground, such as a tree or utility pole.
Both wasps and hornets can be found nesting in attics, verandas, ceilings, and similar structures in and around people’s homes.
BEHAVIOR AND DIET:
Both wasps and hornets are generally scavengers, and will feed on other insects, decaying fruit, or human food left lying around. Wasps generally have more of a sweet tooth than their hornet relatives.
HOW DANGEROUS ARE THEY?
Both wasp and hornet stings may be painful and cause redness, swelling, and itchiness. If a person is stung and they develop a rash or they start to wheeze and have trouble breathing, they may be having an allergic reaction – in which case, they need immediate medical attention.
Unlike bees (they can only sting once), wasps and hornets can sting multiple times, making them so much more dangerous. The more there are in the area, the more danger you are in – so avoid “threatening” them by going near their nests.
HOW DO YOU GET RID OF THEM?
Don’t have readily available food sources in and around your home that makes your property just a little bit more inviting for them. Other than that, we strongly suggest not taking care of the problem yourself – get in touch with your local pest control company so they can safely get rid of wasps and hornets for you.
Polistes Carolina, or the red wasp, is one of two types of red paper wasp. The Red Wasp is native to the United States, most prevalent in the Eastern and Mideastern regions of the country. Their common name is because of their reddish-brown coloring, and they have dark-colored wings, a brown stripe on their abdomen, and very restricted yellow markings. They are about an inch in length, with females having more triangular faces and shorter antennae.
They’re known to construct some of the largest nests of any wasp species, their umbrella-shaped honeycombed- looking nests hanging from branches, trees, and other such structures and they often prefer protected spaces so you may find them around your home.
These wasps create their papery nests from chewing and regurgitating harvested wood and plant fibers. They don’t actually eat these wood and plant fibers – their diet consists of flies, spiders, caterpillars, bees, and other wasps. They also eat nectar from flowers and plants, and are actually fond of sweet foods so you may find them hanging around discarded human food as well.
The Red Wasp is a social wasp and will attack to defend, though they are considered to be a nuisance pest and not dangerous unless you’re allergic to stings – regardless, their stings are painful (may be a sharp, burning sensation for you), so it’s best you stay clear of them altogether. An interesting sting about Red Wasps is that they release pheromones to alert other wasps in the area of danger, and they can quickly swarm you – so if you’ll attempt to get rid of their nest by yourself, be very careful! Or better yet, get in touch with a professional pest control company to do it safely for you.
They are most active during the day, so it’s best to attempt to remove the wasp nest during dusk and nighttime hours, and they are more lethargic in cooler temperatures.
If you get stung by a wasp and you have an allergic reaction, some of these symptoms may be: hives, itching, flushed or pale skin, swelling of throat and tongue, difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. If you experience these, seek medical attention immediately. More extreme symptoms may be a weak, rapid pulse and loss of consciousness. While these extreme symptoms are rare, they can be fatal.
The young and the elderly may be especially susceptible to the effects of a Red Wasp’s sting, as they do inject venom into their victims when stinging. The more stings a person gets, the more their risks of such shock increases. If you’re not exhibiting an allergic reaction, relieve the pain using cold compresses and take painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol. If you experience localized swelling from the sting, take an antihistamine to reduce it.
Open or hollow spaces on the outside of your house may attract wasps seeking to build their nests, and open waste bins, garbage receptacles, and compost serve as food sources for them so make sure you keep those covered properly. If you have a Red Wasp infestation, be safe and have them professionally removed.
The Great Black Wasp, scientific name Sphex pensylvanicus, is a species of digger wasp found across most of the Continental United States and northern Mexico. They are also called the Katydid Hunter and Steel-blue Cricket Hunter, though the latter name is also shared with a different wasp species.
Male black wasps are about 1.1 inches long, while females black wasps are slightly larger at about 1.3 inches long. They have entirely semi-gloss black bodies with thin waists and very spiny legs. Heavy-duty mandibles decorate their large heads, and females sport stingers on the tips of their abdomen (males do not have stingers). They have large, iridescent wings that can be folded flat over their abdomen.
They are solitary hunting wasps, and you’ll find them most active during summer peacefully sipping on nectar and munching on pollen. Their young though are a different story – they’re carnivores. An adult female black wasp will lay her fertilized eggs in an underground nest then go off to hunt katydid, cricket, grasshopper, or another similar insect to take back to the underground nest, alive but paralyzed from the mother wasp’s sting so they can be as fresh as possible for their intended purpose. Wasp eggs are then glued to the underside of the paralyzed insects, and once the egg hatches, the emerging larvae have instant access to food which they will devour as they grow and develop. Before the mother wasp leaves her eggs to their own fate, she closes the nest chamber and surrounding tunnels by filling it with soil and systematically tamping it down, often vibrating her abdomen to effectively act as a jackhammer. An interesting thing that happens is, sometimes the mother wasp may use tools such as a small leaf, twig, or pebble to aid in her efforts.
The mother wasp will spend a significant amount of time hunting food for her offspring, and while carrying paralyzed insects, she will be vulnerable to birds – particularly the house sparrow and catbird – stealing her victims. This is known as kleptoparasitism, which is when one organism benefits from another organism by stealing their caught, collected, or stored food.
Solitary wasps such as the great black wasp are much less aggressive than your average wasp and will not sting unless they feel very threatened. Their stings are painful, but will not swell like the stings from other wasps. Their stings are generally considered not dangerous, unless you have an allergy to insect stings – in which case, seek medical attention immediately.
If you find a lot of these wasps on your property and want to get rid of them, make sure you cover as much skin as possible – wear gloves, long-sleeved shirts, jeans, shoes, etc. – then spray them using a wasp or hornet insecticide spray can that shoots from several feet away so you can stay as far away as possible.
Find wasp nests on your property by keeping a lookout for the burrow entries they fly in and out off. Then saturate the burrow entries with insecticide spray or insecticide dust at dawn, just before these wasps wake and fly off for the day. Make sure you don’t hang around in the area – you don’t want angry wasp survivors exacting revenge.
If you have a wasp infestation on your property and have difficulty locating their burrows, get in touch with a professional pest control company to get rid of them safely and thoroughly for you.
Bees are flying insects known for their role in pollination. They’re closely related to wasps and, you may be surprised to know, ants. There are over 16,000 known species of bees and they are found in every continent except Antarctica.
The most commonly known bee species are social and therefore are territorial – they will sting to protect their colony from any perceived danger, though there are plenty of other bees that operate solo and essentially just want to be left alone.
Arizona is home to many social bees including honey bees. They have brownish gold hair all over their body and have black stripes on their abdomen, and can grow to around ¾ of an inch in length.
According to the University of Florida, up to 90% of all bees in Arizona are Africanized Honey Bees (originally produced by cross-breeding East African lowland honey bees to various European honey bees). The Africanized honey bee, known colloquially as the killer bee, is much more defensive than other varieties of honey bee and reacts to disturbances more aggressively and often attack in large swarms.
Regular honey bees aren’t usually much of a threat, but they will still sting you if they perceive you as a danger to their hive and colony.
Bumblebees have round bodies covered in soft hair, and have black and orange, yellow, or white bands on their bodies. While honey bees have many stripes of yellow and black, bumblebees usually have blocks of color variable among species, most species having areas of black hair. They’re hairier, and their abdomens have a more rounded tip.
They can grow to be an inch long, typically bigger than honey bees, but their colonies are smaller, growing as few as 50 in a nest.
Unlike honey bees that can sting only once, bumblebees can sting multiple times. They are however not aggressive bees and generally ignore humans and animals alike unless they perceive a threat to their small colony.
Carpenter bees resemble honey bees, but typically have a shiny, black abdomen that lack hairs like the other two bees we’ve discussed. They’re bigger, growing up to be about an inch long. They have large jaws that help them chew through wood where they make their nests.
Also unlike the previous bees discussed, they are also traditionally considered solitary bees, though a mother and her daughters may cohabit. In this scenario, a division of labor occurs where they share in foraging and nesting duties, or one does all the foraging and nesting while the others guard.
They’re docile and rarely sting unless directly provoked. Male carpenter bees may approach other animals, but they’re harmless as they cannot sting.
Bees are essential to the planet. While there are others that help cross-pollinate flowers and plants such as birds, butterflies, bats, and beetles, bees are responsible for pollinating approximately 1/6 of the world’s flowering plant species. They’re responsible for pollinating billions of dollars’ worth of crops, and produce more than a hundred million dollars’ worth of honey.
If you find bees or a hive on your property, get in touch with an expert for help.
You’re outside on the porch, enjoying a cup of coffee when you hear the lazy drone of a flying insect nearby. You might think nothing of it, maybe absentmindedly swat at it before you feel that hot, stinging, and likely familiar pain.
In 2001 to 2010, an estimated 10.1 million Americans visited emergency departments for non-canine bite and sting injuries, and that doesn’t account for everyone that just stayed at home while their faces were red and swollen!
As you take one last look at the culprit merrily buzzing away, you might wonder – was it a bee, or a wasp?
Let’s take a look at some of the key differences between the two.
If you were stung more than once, it was likely a wasp. Female bees can sting only once (male bees don’t), as it is ultimately fatal for them when their stinger gets ripped from their bodies and left in ours – but wasps can sting multiple times to their hearts content, and they’re also by far the more aggressive
creatures, often chasing their prey for hundreds of yards.
While both are territorial, and while bees do sting when provoked, they tend to focus on flowers and not on people peacefully sipping coffee on their porch.
Both bees and wasps belong to the insect order Hymenoptera. There are more than 100,000 species of wasps, including the common yellow jacket wasp that can be found in Arizona. They have yellow and black stripes, and are often mistaken for honey bees. In fact, most experts think that people coming in to complain about a honey bee sting, were in fact bitten by a yellow jacket.
While both insects are yellow with black markings, wasps are shinier, have a brighter yellow color, and thinner waist. They have smoother bodies, while bees are hairier. They also have rounder legs versus the flatter legs honey bees have.
As for their nests, wasps have no wax-producing glands so instead they create nests that are a paper-like substance from wood pulp. Bees on the other hand build their hives in cavities that are protected from the elements, like hollow walls, trees or attics. When honey bees build their nests in your home, the damage done isn’t usually structural – however, when they do leave to find a new home, the honey and wax comb left behind will ruin drywall,
insulation and sliding, so it’s always best to ask an expert.
While most people know bees are essential to the environment, not all wasps are bad – wasps can act as a natural pest control, preying on crop-killing insects. So if you find what you think are honey bees or wasps on your porch, make sure you have an expert come by and take a look – so you can sip your coffee in peace.