The main reason to be able to identify different kinds of wasps is to know which ones are aggressive and which ones won’t give you a problem. What do wasps do, and how can we identify them properly?
In other words, to distinguish between wasps that can be safely removed and those that must be eradicated while wearing protective clothing.
Wasps belong to the Superfamily Vespoldea. There are several lesser categories within this group. The family Eurnenidae is a non-aggressive, solitary creature that preys primarily on insects.
These are among the most beneficial wasps for the environment since they do play a role in controlling the ecosystem.
Belonging to the Subfamily Polistinae are docile wasps from the:
- Tribe Polistini (found all over the world),
- the Genus Polistes (also known as the docile paper wasps),
- the Tribe Polybiini (found in South America and Africa), and the
- Tribe Ropalidiini (found in tropics of the Old World).
The Subfamily Stenogastrinae is another group of docile wasps while the Subfamily Vespinae is the most aggressive. Genus Folichovespula is the name given to very aggressive hornets that make aerial nests.
There are four species found in North America:
- Wasps of the Genus Provespa family are nocturnal and there are three species found in Southeast Asia.
- The Genus Vespa is a docile but giant hornet with only one species found in North America. The Genus Vespula has twelve North American species.
These aggressive yellowjackets build large colonies and are deemed quite dangerous. All social wasps are predators, build nests, and thrive in colonies.
Yellowjackets, hornets, and paper wasps are the most aggressive and the most opportunistic in terms of what they prey upon. Feeding on insects, spiders, and even small animals, they are also the most likely to sting.
Social wasps build their nests from a mixture of wood pulp, saliva, and, in some instances, mud. They have working groups that are responsible for collecting food, building and guarding the best, and looking after the Queen and her hatching eggs.
The paper wasps, which are considered the most docile of the Vespidae family, are distinguishable from the other types of social wasps because they have thinner waists.
In particular, they have thinner waists than the yellowjackets and hornets. Paper wasps are most likely to be seen in the house or the garden.
Those with thin and long bodies, covered with bright yellow and black markings are likely to be mud-daubers.
These wasps, as their name suggests, build nests from mud. They predominantly prey on spiders. Yellowjackets typically grow to be around the same size as bees (between 13mm and 19mm on average).
They are great scavengers, which perhaps explains why they are particularly pesky. They bite as well as sting, although the sting is both the more painful and greater in terms of impact. Hornets have thin waists as well and behave similarly.
They are distinguishable from yellowjackets mainly because they build aerial nests and are also slightly less aggressive in the sense that they prey upon large grasshoppers, horseflies, flies, bees, and even yellowjackets, being less preoccupied with scavenging and, incidentally, less likely to attack human beings.
Bees and their relatives pollinate flowering plants, including fruits and vegetables. With proper small bees and wasps identification, anyone will know that some of both species are parasites to many of the pest insects humans encounter.
Most people only focus on one attribute of these insects – their stingers, which they use to capture prey and defend their nest.
Though they are primarily a beneficial insect when their habits collide with people pest management may be required.
Bees and wasps are grouped based on their behavior, social or solitary. Social wasps live in large colonies associated with a paper nest and only exist for one season. Each colony consists of an egg-laying female and many sterile females called workers.
The males are produced only prior to mating swarms. Even though these wasps capture many different types of insects and thus are beneficial, the destruction of colonies is needed when they are in areas of high human activity. Solitary wasps do not produce workers that tend to their nest.
Each female is a “queen” and will make one nest or many nests for her offspring and then she abandons them. Solitary wasps do not readily defend their nests, so they are much less likely to sting.
One example of a social wasp is Yellow Jackets. These are only about 1/2 inch long and they normally build their nest underground nest. Their nest is usually constructed in an abandoned mammal nest or a small underground cavity.
These cavities are typically located under shrubs, logs, and piles of rocks. When the nest is disturbed yellow jacket workers can become extremely aggressive. There can be as many as 10,000 workers produced in a single colony in a single season.
Entrance holes are easily located by watching for fast-flying workers that are entering and leaving the nest.
Honey bees are very social and communicate with each other to relay information about the direction and distance of nectar and pollen sources. Honey bees build nests of combs with many waxen cells placed side by side that provide spaces to rear young and store honey.
Bees colonies are normally found in hollow trees but can work their way into wall voids of homes. A colony inside a home can cause major problems. Not only does the stored honey attract other bees and wasps, but their detritus (dead bees, wax caps from combs, etc.) attract beetles and moths.
Unlike wasps honey bees have barbed stingers that are strictly used for defending their nest. When a honey bee stings the stinger and its venom remain in the victim, and then die.
Cicada Killer wasps and carpenter bees fall into the classification of solitary. Both of these are very large in size and can look very intimidating, but neither one tends to aggressively guard their nests, which means they very rarely sting people.
Both will make a large hole for a nest to lay their eggs in. A cicada killer’s hole is typically in the ground and is about 1/2 inch wide, and the carpenter bee hole is found in exposed softwoods in areas like porches, decks, and eaves of homes.
There are over 20,000 bee species. Majority of these nest underground. In the United States, many of these bees start getting active early in spring. Nests of this kind are easily identifiable. They build in dry sandy soil. They have a conical mound of soil above ground with a hole in the center. This hole is the entrance to the bee’s nest. There are many burrowing bees. The most common are leaf cutters and mining bees.
Ground nesting bees are solitary bees and have mild character. They are not as aggressive as their cousins , the African honey bee. However they may sting a person or a pet if provoked.
In as much as theses bees are not aggressive they make their nest in your lawn and if you have little children you can’t let them play on the lawn and risk them getting stung. Ground nesting bees also ruin your yard when they dig their burrows. For these reasons you might need to get rid of these bees.
Before you start dealing with the bees you need to don protective gear. Put on jeans trousers with boots. Wear a long sleeved hoodie, gloves and a balaclava to cover the lower face and protective goggles for the eyes
How to get rid of ground bees
Bees are essential to many ecosystems. They are great agents of pollination and therefore very useful to agriculture. So there is no need to kill them. Because ground bees build their hives in dry soil, when you water the yard regularly these insects will move away.
Cover the burrows
Cover their burrows with stones and soil. This will force the bees to seek shelter elsewhere and you won’t have to exterminate them.
Bees cannot stand cinnamon. Put cinnamon sticks or sprinkle cinnamon powder at the entrance of the burrow. This will keep them away from your lawn. You can also place chloroform or mothballs near the nest’s entrance. They will keep bees away.
Peppermint castille soap
Mix water with two cups of peppermint castille soap. Pour some in a spray bottle and spray it near the holes. This kills other harmful insects also not only the bees.
Mix water and vinegar in equal portions. Put it in a spray bottle and shake thoroughly. Spray it near all the nests at night.
Bee repellent plants
There are many plants that are repellent to bees such as peppermint and eucalyptus to protect your garden and yard plant these herbs and trees. Plant thick grass on your yard to make it difficult for burrowing bees.
DIY Herbal spray
Mix tea essential oil, canella oil, baby shampoo and mint oil. Shake this mix thoroughly and pour it into a spray bottle. Spray around the burrows. After a few days you will observe that the bees have left your yard.
Soda bottle trap
Cut a plastic soda bottle in half. Pour sweet juice in to the bottom part. Place the top half of the bottle inside the bottom half in an inverted position. Place it outside near the burrows. The bees will fly through the inverted top half of the bottle right into the juice and be unable to find the narrow exit. They will drown.
If despite all these options the bees don’t leave call a pest control professional to effectively sort out the problem for you.
HOME REMEDIES FOR BEE STINGS
Bees are one of the most useful insects in the world. There are more than 15000 species of bees. With the exception of Antarctica, Wherever, there are flowering plants, there is need for insects to aid in pollination. You will often find bees buzzing from one flower to another, transferring pollen. Some bee species such as the honey bee produce honey.
As useful as bees may be to us, they will sting if provoked. When you get stung you will feel a sharp pain, warmth, itching and swelling at the site of the sting and that’s about it. No major problems.
For these mild reactions to bee stings try some of these home remedies after removing the stinger from your skin by scraping it off with your nail and thoroughly washing the sting site with soap and water.
Mix a baking soda and water into a paste and smear a thick layer on to the sting site and hold it in place with a bandage. Let it stay on for 20 minutes. Re-apply if you need to. This will neutralize the bee toxins and help relieve the swelling, itching and pain.
Apply a small amount of toothpaste on the stung area. Honey bee venom is acidic and apparently toothpaste neutralizes it. This is a cheap easy remedy.
Wrap ice with a towel and press on the affected area alternating on and off every 20 minutes. This will reduce the pain, swelling and itching.
Apple cider vinegar
Apply a bandage soaked in vinegar to the sting area for 20 Minutes. Re-apply as needed. Vinegar will neutralize bee toxins.
Honey has wound healing properties. It will also sooth the itchiness and pain. Smear a bit on to the sting site and tie a bandage loosely over it. Remove after an hour.
Mix four parts water and one part meat tenderizer. Apply the solution to the affected area let it sit for half an hour.
Itching and pain is caused by a protein in the bee venom that is broken down by papain, an enzyme found in meat tenderizer.
Tea tree oil has natural antiseptic properties and can relieve bee sting pain. Apply directly to the sting site.
Aloe Vera has been used since ancient times to alleviate pain and soothe skin. Apply aloe Vera gel on to the sting directly.
If you are stung by a swarm of bees it could be life threatening. Bees have a barbed stinger. After a bee stings you the stinger is ripped from the bee still attached to its venom sac and left embedded in your skin. This venom sac keeps pumping toxins into you. This may result in extreme allergic reactions such as, swollen throat and tongue, breathing difficulties, hives, severe itching, rapid pulse, diarrhea, dizziness, loss of consciousness and nausea.
If you exhibit any or a mix of these symptoms call emergency services immediately.
Avoiding confrontation with bees to ensure you don’t get stung. When outdoors stay away from bee hives,
Wear neutral colors like gray, Khaki and white avoiding flowery prints because they attract bees. Cover your food. Wear closed shoes and you should be fine.
How to Kill Wasps
Wasps and hornets can greatly impact the outdoor activities in your home, and their elimination can be tricky. Their populations normally peak late in the summer. Ensuring that they don’t invade your home in any season of the year is paramount. Although early intervention is necessary, most of these wasps and hornets don’t annoy unless they are disturbed. Furthermore, most of them will perish during the fall. What can you do if they become annoying? The good news is that there are effective ways to kill and eliminate wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets that always hang out near your household.
You can purchase and place a lure trap in an area where wasps frequent in your home. Place the trap along your property line away from protected areas or patios. It is important to regularly check and replace the traps whenever they fill up or according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. You can buy lure traps from online suppliers, department stores, or local stores within your residence.
Alternatively, you can use glue traps to capture the wasps during the early stages of nest development. The wasp population is usually smaller during this time and can easily be managed.
Use Fake Nests
Hanging a fake nest around your home away from your house will help to keep wasps away from you. This method is only effective early on in the summer and may not be helpful late in the season. You can buy fake wasp nests from online suppliers or big-box stores. Alternatively, you can use brown paper bags or paper lantern.
Knock Down the Nest
Adequate precaution and gear should be observed if you opt to kill the wasps yourself. This technique can be efficient if you had applied an insecticide or when the nest is still small. You can knock down the nest using a long-handled tool such as a rake or broom. If the wasps are alive, ensure to knock it down several times. However, knocking down a wasp nest even when sprayed is never the best way. There is always a chance that one is alert. In case you had applied an insecticide earlier on, and most wasps are dead, apply more insecticide after knocking it down before you break it apart.
Drown the Nest with Hot Water
Drowning the nest with boiling water especially at night is another effective way to kill wasps instantly. You should closely monitor the nest behavior for a few days to identify their frequent entry and exit points. You should then head to these points at night when the insects are asleep and drown them with hot water. Stuffing some soil inside the holes of the underground nests after flooding with hot water is advisable to prevent their reemergence.
If wasps are a nuisance in your home, getting rid of them soon is a good idea. It can prevent you or your family from getting stung when outdoors. Seeking the help of a professional pest controller is most recommended. They know wasp behavior and more importantly, have the right gear.
Hornets are bad news. They are common in fiery situations where one gets the full brunt of a bad decision. Hence the phrase, ‘Don’t poke a hornet’s nest’.
The bald faced hornet gets its name from its shiny, black and white head. The largest of its species, the bald faced hornet is in fact not a true hornet, but a wasp. It belongs to the yellow jacket wasp family, with noticeable differences in pigmentation.
Bald faced hornets are distributed throughout the United States and Southern Canada. They are most common in South Eastern part of the United States. Forested areas and vegetation provide a suitable habitat for the bald faced hornets to build nests.
Their nests are located in trees and bushes, rocks, overhangs and human buildings. Bald faced hornets are very aggressive and easily agitated. If a human strays within the hive’s territory, bald faced hornets will not hesitate to attack.
What bald faced hornets eat largely depends on the stage or cycle they are in. Worker bees are omnivorous. They will prey on flies, caterpillars and spiders while feeding on flower nectar.
Adult bald faced hornets are carnivorous and prey on different insect types. They have also been observed scavenging for raw meat, spiders and fruit.
A bald faced hornet can squirt venom from its stinger into the eyes of prey or nest intruders. This makes the eyes water and causes temporary blindness.
Queens are responsible for building new colonies. A colony’s life cycle runs for close to four months. New nests are founded during spring and early summer by queens born and fertilized the previous season.
The queen selects a location, begins building it herself before laying the first eggs. She will also feed the growing larvae, which become the working force that expands the nest.
In late summer, the queen lays eggs which will become drones and new queens. These fly off to mate when mature. The queen dies with the drones and workers at the end of the cycle.
A full sized nest is the size of a basketball and shaped like an inverted tear drop.
Incredibly, bald faced hornets have good facial memory and recognition. If an intruder happens to pass by a second time, the bald faced hornets will attack.
Bald faced hornets love to eat bees. The bees provide protein for future queens and sweetness of sugary honey. A bald faced hornet is nearly five times the size of a typical bee. It would take a small amount of giant hornets to wipe out an entire honey bee colony.
Bald faced hornets prefer to eat live prey and watch it struggle for its life. Don’t be next on the menu.
In Japan, bald faced hornets are considered a delicacy. The hornet’s larvae is eaten raw or deep fried.
Bald faced hornets are attracted to light. The best way to get rid of one stranded in the house is to shut out the light. Open a window with an outside light.
Bees play an important role in stabilizing the eco-system. Their decline has been noted worldwide, calling for conservation measures to be put in place. This, however, does not mean that people should share their living space with bees.
Bees are generally less destructive than rats or termites and not much of a nuisance. This said, removing bees can prove quite difficult and potentially dangerous. Human structures and occupied spaces are attractive to bees. They build hives in hollowed out trees and similar cavities. Spaces between walls and wooden beams make excellent homes for bees.
Know your Bees
Before choosing a method of bee removal, you should identify the species of the stinging insect. It could be a bee, wasp or hornet. This gives you a better estimate of the damage and threat of stings.
Some species will definitely require professional treatment. Wasps resemble bees but are more aggressive and easily agitated. I would honestly not recommend poking a hornet’s nest.
Carpenter bees burrow into wooden frames. They are generally not aggressive, but can grow in number and destroy the inner wooden structures in buildings. Honey bees prove beneficial, but produce thousands of workers. This means heavy-laden combs that prove quite difficult to remove. The preferred method is relocation of the entire bee hive. That or seeking the next vacant house available.
Who to call
Unlike most pests, bees give you two types of bee experts on hire. You can hire a professional exterminator. Exterminators usually eliminate the entire hive, using chemical sprays to kill the bees, wasps or hornets. They will often use chemicals designed specifically for that species.
Once dead, the exterminator will destroy the nest and seal off any openings. Exterminators are best contacted when dealing with aggressive bee species, wasps and hornets.
Alternatively, you can contact your local bee keeper. The bee keeper will opt to relocate the colonies, especially if they are honey bees. A bait trap is used to coax the colony into a box hive, which is then moved to a desired location.
Do it Yourself
Armed with bee removal tips and protective gear, you can also drive off bees in a safe and natural way. Bees are attracted to strong, sweet smells and will often relocate to be closer to their food source. A strong, sugary solution can act as natural bee lure that relocates them away from your home.
Bees are equally repulsed by pungent smells. Sprinkling garlic powder near bee hive openings drives them away. Direct contact to the bees is lethal. Spraying vinegar directly on the bee hive suffocates them and makes it difficult for them to fly. Food grade diatomaceous earth can be used as an organic pesticide. Upon contact, it lacerates the bees and causes dehydration.
Citronella candles, once lit, will ward off bees, especially in open places like the front and back yard of your home. Burning them close to the hive will drive the bees out. Freshly cut cucumber peels repulse bees, but would not make them abandon the hive. All these need direct contact with the hive. Best avoid the bees. Seek professional help.
The black and white wasp is often considered by most people to be a hornet. That thought is supported by the numerous colloquial names given to this wasp which include, white face hornet, black faced hornet, spruce wasp, bald faced hornet and so forth. While its many names may suggest that it is a hornet, it is more a wasp than a true hornet.
A wasps such as the bald face wasp’s anatomy will assume a triangular shape in the midsection when observed from the side. While the profile view of a hornet will show that it has a stooped posture. The entire body of a bald faced hornet has black and white patterns similar to those found in a yellow jacket wasp. Perhaps that is not at all surprising as they are of the same species. The bald head can be predominantly white or black which help explains some it the above names associated with this wasp.
Bald faced wasp habits
This wasp is a social insect and commonly active during the day. They build a grey colored paper carton nest above ground at a height of three feet or more from the ground. For that reason their nest are easily visible. The bald faced wasp will commonly build their nests on shrubs, trees, sheds and houses. Their colonies will have anywhere from 100 to 400 wasps at the peak of their season in summer.
The black and white wasp is an aggressive insect and will not hesitate to show its aggression should an intruder approach their space. While most other stinging wasps may not attack until they feel that there is a threat to their hive, the bald faced workers guarding the wasp will feel free to attack any person wondering into their space.
Interestingly, only the impregnated bald wasps will overwinter to start a new colony once the cold season is over. The rest of the colony will die off during winter. The surviving wasps do not reuse their old nest from the previous season and will go on ahead to build a brand new nest as soon as winter is over. Their nest size will often measure between 14 inches and 28 inches.
Black and white wasp sting
Unlike most other stinging insects such as bees who sting once and die, the bald face wasp has a smooth stinger. This means it has the ability to sting again and again.
The sting is painful causing swelling for a period of about 24 hours. Ordinarily, one does not need to go to a hospital because of a wasp sting.
Symptoms include the following:
- Pain and burning
It is important to note that persons who are allergic to wasp stings can be severely affected. This can lead to an anaphylactic shock. In such cases, one should be rushed to a medical center.
How to get rid of bald faced wasps
Given their aggressive nature and stinging capability, it would be ill advised to try and remove the nest yourself. Avoid disturbing a whole colony of black and white wasps and getting stung by them. It is best to get in touch with your local pest control officer for assistance.
Bumble bees are reknown for their robust size and distinct incessant buzz. The black bumble bee is no exception. You’ve probably spotted one in the garden, snacking on nectar, or looking for a potential home.
Bumble bees are large, fuzzy insects with short, stubby wings. It is a puzzle how the bumble bee defies the principles of aerodynamics and manages to maintain flight with such a frame. Its grace, however, is matched with its usefulness.
Black bumble bees are larger than honeybees, but do not produce as much honey. They, however, make for excellent pollinators. In fact, food would not grow without the help of bees. They are the largest insect pollinators, closely followed by butterflies and other insects.
Most bees that thrive on nectar drill holes at the base of the flower and suck out the pollen, leaving the fertilization incomplete.
The black bumble bee’s wings beat at a faster rate than most insect pollinators. This, coupled with their large frame vibrates the flowers till they release pollen. This process is known as buzz pollination. It helps plants produce more fruit and puts black bumble bees ahead of the curve.
With so many bee species, it is almost impossible to tell one from the other. Some bees bear close resemblance due to shared family characteristics. Carpenter bees are often confused for black bumble bees. They are built in the same design, thick black body frame and short wings. They can be told apart by distinct differences.
Black bumble bees are covered by a layer of fur called pile. They have a large structure on their hind legs, called a pollen basket. This helps the bees collect pollen when foraging and are usually full in adults. Females have a pointed abdomen, with a stinger at the tip. Males have a rounded abdomen with no stinger.
A carpenter bee’s body surface is smooth and shiny, with hairs at the base of its legs. The best way to know a carpenter bee is by its very name. It makes its home in wooden exteriors. Black bumble bees build their nests close to the ground, under piles of rotting wood and dead leaves, compost piles or abandoned rodent tunnels.
Black bumble bees eat nectar and pollen made by flowers. The sugary nectar provides them with energy while pollen provides protein. Black bumble bees make their honey by chewing pollen and mixing it with their saliva. The honey is fed to the queen and developing brood.
A colony contains 50-500 bees, ruled by a predominant female, the queen. The other bees serve her and gather food, while caring for developing larvae.The queen only takes care of the first batch of larvae. They will become worker bees that continue to expand the nest.
Bees born in the summer are drones and future queen bees. They leave the nest once past the pupation stage.
Black bumble bees are not aggressive and would only sting when touched or threatened.They are quite possibly amongthe ‘friendly’ bee types.
Have you seen a large black bee buzzing around the wooden areas of your home? You’ve definitely spotted a carpenter bee. Carpenter bees are also called wood bees, and with good reason. They burrow holes in window sills, eaves, railings, fence posts and other wooden structures.
Most people will see a carpenter bee and mistake it for a bumble bee. They do look like the black version of a bumble bee, but lack the fuzzy hair and aposematic coloration. Carpenter bees lack hairs on their upper abdomen which appears shiny. The female has a blue-black, green or purple metallic sheen.
Do not let their large size and loud buzzing frighten you. Carpenter bees are very docile and hardly aggressive .They rarely sting humans. It would take a great deal of close contact to provoke them.
Only female carpenter bees can sting you. The tip of their abdomen is modified into an egg laying structure. Most stinging bees will die after stinging the victim. The barbed stinger gets stuck on the victim, disembowling the bee as it pulls away. Carpenter bees and bumble bees are the exception.
They have a smooth stinger, enabling the carpenter bee to sting several times without it being fatal to them. Fortunately, the female carpenter bee will most likely leave you after one sting and return to its nest.
If you are stung by a carpenter bee, It could be quite painful. It releases a venom called melittin, found in all bee venom. It may cause redness and swelling. A sharp pain might last for a couple of minutes. It is not life threatening and treated as any other bee sting. Seek immediate medical attention if allergic to bee stings.
What to know
Carpenter bees are a solitary bee species. The male carpenter bee cannot sting, although buzzes around the outside of the hole aggressively. He does this to protect the female while she lays eggs and situates the home.
The problem with carpenter bees is that they often come back to the same place year after year to nest. They can create enough holes and tunnels to weaken the structure of your home.
Carpenter bees play a key role in cross pollination. They feed their larvae a special kind of ‘bee bread, a combination of pollen and regurgitated nectar, foraged from different plants. The bread is made and stored inside the wooden burrows.
Most of the damage seen on the outside of homes is from woodpeckers, and not carpenter bees. Wood peckers prey on insect larvae. They are usually attracted to the sound made by the hatching larvae. They bore through the already dug out hole trying to get to the larvae.
The female carpenter bee excavates holes of about 13 millimetres in diameter and extends them from 100 milimetres to longer than 300 milimetres. The wood is not ingested during excavation and is ejected as coarse sawdust. Carpenter bees prefer lower density, unfinished softwood. An easy deterrent is to keep all your wood coated, painted or stained.