Bees & Wasps
Scientific Name:Anthophila; Vespula
Length:About to 15 mm; Up to 50 mm
Color:Yellow & brown, yellow & black
Sounds:Hum and buzz
What Are Bees and Wasps?
Bees and wasps are often confused, and placed in the same category because they both sting. People in rural and country settings are a little more familiar with them on the average, as bees fly around their clover blossoms, and wasps hang around their porch and out buildings.

Often a wasp will make it’s way into your home and create a ruckus. Bees usually cause a ruckus in cars, but so can wasps when they suddenly fly in. Bees can also make their way into your house. On occasion bees seemingly attack, but the wasps are more aggressive and likely to make a dart for you. Wasps can sting many times, and a “Honey Bee” can sting only once.

Bees and wasps are from the same order of insects called “Hymenoptera”. A wasp is from the suborder of “Apocrita”. Bees are from the family of “Apoidea”, which are similar to wasps and ants. You can definitely tell bees and wasps apart from their appearance. “Honey Bees” and “Yellow Jackets” are often confused with other because of their approximate same size (Yellow Jackets” are just a bit bigger). Something else that is a big difference is the fact that bees make honey, and wasps do not.
The main role of bees on this Earth, apart from making honey, is to pollinate plants and flowers. Around the Arizona area you will often see the “Honey Bee” and the “Afinanized Bee”, mixed in with the occasional buzz of a “Bumble Bee”.

Where Do Bees and Wasps Live?
Bees and wasps live in hives and combs. Wasps commonly hang out and live in a nest, also called a “vespiary”. They often like the shade. You will find “wasp nests” under the eaves of your roof and a lot of places on the exterior of your home. Wasp’s nests are easy to spot on the average, and need to be eliminated.

“Honey Bees” definitely prefer the lush beauty of gardens, meadows, and anywhere that there are plants that flower. They will frequent the same places as you see butterflies. On occasion in a wooded area you will come upon a big tree with a hollowed out area into which the “Honey Bee” has built a nest, or hive.

“Honey Bees” are sometimes raised by man so they can produce honey to sell or use at home. The bee keepers maintain their beehives in the bee yard, or “apiary”. In the wild the “Queen Bee” dictates where the bees will live, some live in hives and some live underground, like the wasp also does. At times bees will even use “old” burrows of rodents, such as mice.

Wasps are actually much more of a threat as far as pests go, and getting stung, by the average person with no allergies. You will often have to get hold of a pest control company to eliminate these. You will find wasps living in an abundance of places, even on play grounds. Bees and wasps live in the city, the suburbs, and in the country.

Where Are The Common Hiding Places For Bees and Wasps?
Common hiding places for bees and wasps can vary. Bees really aren’t as crafty when it comes to hiding as the wasps, and some bees have even appeared on the endangered species list. They are making a strong come back. Laws and regulations are in place regarding bees and if you decide you need a bee hive gone from your area, you will need to consult a licensed specialist. Ask your pest control company what you should do in this case. Wasps are another story, and they can be a big problem and hazard as they invade your space. They can even come inside of your house and hide in places such as your curtains. It is not a very enjoyable situation to get stung by a wasp hiding in your house. They can get in your bed covers and your clothes.

If you are seeing and getting stung by wasps you need to hire a pest control company to come find their nests and where they are hiding. Until you eliminate all wasp nests in and around your home, you will have no rest.

Wasps will dive for you as you walk out the door and head for your automobile. Children can be playing in their sand box, and the next thing you know, wasps are flying around them. Some wasps even build their nests in trees. Anywhere there are cracks and crevices, the wasp can be hiding and building their nests. Common hiding places are many for the wasps.

What Kinds of Bees and Wasps Live in My Area?
Two major kinds of bees and wasps found in Arizona are the “Western Yellow Jackets” and the “Africanized Bees”. The “Western Yellow Jacket” prefers areas where it is warm all year round. It has really been invasive on the Hawaiian Islands, where they can multiply fast. They do exist in some of the colder areas of the United States, but can not reproduce successfully during winter months.

In the warmer states the population of the “Western Yellow Jacket” has exploded and is considered a major pest. It’s scientific name is “Vespula Pensylvanica”, and it is a “Nearictic” wasp. “Nearictic” refers to a wasp that is biogeographic subregion, which includes the regions of N. America next to tropical Mexico, and portions of Greenland.

The “Africanized Bees” are also labeled as “Killer Bees”. Not all of these bees exhibit the aggressive behavior which earned them their name. The history is a little scary that got them thus far. They are a cross breed between the “African Honey Bee” and “European Honey Bee” (of various kinds).

The “Killer Bee” was originally introduced to Brazil to increase honey production, but escaped, and started spreading until they reached us in the United States around 1985. The original “African Honey Bee” has been known to chase a person a quarter of a mile or so. Several stings from this bee is what earned the name of “Killer Bee”. Remember this “Killer Bee” was crossed with the more docile “European Bee” before it entered the United States and Arizona, as we know it, and added it to the list of bees and wasps that live in your area.

What Damage Can Bees and Wasps Inflict On You And Your Home?

Bees and wasps can inflict damage on you and your home depending upon the species and situation. A solitary bee sting can be life threatening for ones that are allergic. A severe allergic reaction from a bee sting is called “anaphylaxis”. Often the individual knows they are allergic and will carry something to counteract the bee sting with, such as an “EpiPen”.

If you get stung numerous times from “Yellow Jackets” or “Africanized Honey Bees”, who can attack in swarms and are aggressive, you will most likely need to seek emergency medical care. Fortunately the “Africanized Honey Bees” have not been reported as invading Arizona at this time, but they are increasing. They are also known as “Killer Bees”. You can find them mostly in South Texas, and they are very agressive. It usually takes a dozen or so of multiple stings to make a person sick, whom isn’t allergic. What makes a person react to multiple stings is an accumulation of venom in their system.

“Carpenter Bees” are a threat to our homes, businesses, and other wood structures. They look like a “Bumble Bee” but act like a “Termite”. There are three kinds of “Carpenter Bees” in Arizona. “Carpenter Bees” bore into wood, and can do a lot of damage if they are allowed to go untreated. They do not actually eat the wood. “Horntail Wasps” and “Wood Wasps” will also do structural damage to wood. They are not real fond of commercially treated wood, and will often settle for old fallen trees and stumps. They like to lay their eggs in wood. Yes, bees and wasps are very capable of inflicting damage on you and your home.

What Do I Do If I Was Stung by Bees and Wasps?

If you are stung by bees or wasps, the major factor would be if you were allergic to them or not. Getting stung by a bee can be “life threatening” for someone allergic to a bee sting. If you are allergic to bee stings and your physician has recommended that you carry an “anti” bee sting preparation such as an “EpiPen”, inject yourself immediately or follow instructions precisely. This is usually done on your upper leg in the outer thigh area.

You are also in danger from multiple stings from wasps, such as “Yellow Jackets”. If you have been stung as many as a dozen times or so you will need to seek emergency medical care due to excess venom in your system.

On the average a bee sting or wasp sting is treatable at home. The common “Honey Bee” can sting only one time before it dies. Several of the wasp species can sting several times. They can get in your clothing and really cause some stings before you get them out. Sometimes you might lean against a post or porch railing and a wasp will be there and sting you.

For bees or wasps stings, make a paste of baking soda and apply it to the sting. Allow it to set for about 15 minutes. After this rinse it off with cool running water which will also be soothing. The reason baking soda works so good if you are stung by bees and wasps is because of it’s acidic properties.

Are Bees and Wasps Dangerous For My Pets?
Bees and wasps are no more dangerous for your pets than they are for you, unless you are allergic to them. Bees and wasps can sting a pet, and they often get bit on the nose as they are sniffing the bee or wasp. Bees are not really aggressive and do not go chasing your pets. Wasps can be mean, and if your pet stumbles upon a “Yellow Jacket” nest they can get stung.

Just like us, if a pet is stung multiple times it may require a trip to the veterinarian, such as we may need to go to the doctor. Sometimes a sting in the mouth or throat can cause a breathing obstruction problem, too. It might be mentioned here, that your pets can suffer an allergy to bees just as you can.

Fortunately on the top side many pets have dense fur which will protect them to a certain degree. Usually a sting from a bee or wasp will just be painful, and cause some irritation for your pet. Bees and wasps do not know the difference between you or your pet as far as relating to threats and movements from the environment.

You treat a sting on a pet just the same as you would on yourself, if there are no allergic reactions involved. Applying baking soda to the area and letting it sit for a bit is the best remedy for a sting. Bees and wasps can be dangerous for your pets if they are allergic, or get stung multiple times.

How Do You Prevent Bees and Wasps From Invading Your Environment?

Preventing wasps from invading your environment can be a very big problem. Bees aren’t quite so bad. If you are allergic to bees it is a different story. If your yard has a lot of clover, especially blooming clover, you are going to have a seemingly excess of bees. It is easy to step on a bee in clover and get stung especially if you are barefooted. Big bumble bees will be invading your territory if you have flowers, and they also like clover.

If you are allergic to bees and have clover and other blooming plants you need to carry around what ever your doctor gives you to use in case you get stung. A lot of ones suffering from an allergic problem to bees will carry something known as an “EpiPen”. It is probably best that you avoid places where bees congregate if you are allergic. Bees can only sting once in their lifetime.

Wasps are terrible creatures and can sting several times. “Yellow Jackets” are really mean, and will swarm you if you get near their nest. Ones that get stung several times usually surprise the wasps by stumbling upon their nests. If you get stung several times (more than 10 or so),you will most likely need to rush to the nearest emergency room. There are different methods that people “swear by” when it comes to getting rid of wasps and their nests. The best method is to get hold of a reliable pest control company to keep wasps from invading your environment.

What can you do if you already have Bees and Wasps?
If you already have bees and wasps it can get quite complex. In the United States there are more than 4,000 different kinds of bees and that is not even getting to the wasps. The most well known wasps in North America are the “Yellow Jacket” and the “Hornet”.

Bees often appear fuzzy, while wasps are smooth and have a shiny appearance. Hornets are a large form of a wasp. “Yellow Jackets” are puzzling when it comes to identifying them, because they are about the size of the common “Honey Bee” (just a little larger). “Yellow Jackets” are yellow with black bands, or horizontal stripes going across their bodies.

The “Honey Bee” can only sting once, but the “Yellow Jacket” can sting multiple times. A “Honey Bee” dies when she stings. When she does sting, it’s barbed stinger goes in with part of the digestive tract and stomach. Bees are usually considered a friend of man in pollinating our plants and such.

Bees live in colonies and it is possible for several thousands of bees to inhabit them. If you are concerned about a “Honey Bee” invasion, the best thing to do is to contact a licensed pest control company. There are state and federal laws pertaining to “Honey Bee” that need to be adhered to. If you already have an invasion of either bees or wasps that are overtaking your premises and causing concerns, it is always best to leave the problem for licensed professionals to deal with.

When Are Bees and Wasps Most Active?
Bees and wasps are most active during the daytime. Bees really do not like cooler days, or overcast days. It doesn’t seem to deter the wasps though. Bumble Bees are really hardy and will buzz around on cooler days and overcast days. Many don’t realize that you can get stung by the bumble bee too. They are not aggressive and usually just go about their business. In order to get stung by one, you almost have to step right on it with a bare foot, or possibly touch one with your hand.

Bumble bee stings are very painful and most likely will cause swelling even to those who are not allergic. Unlike the “Honey Bees”, a bumble bee can sting more than once because it has a smooth stinger. If you are allergic to bees it is best to try and stay away from an excess of flowers and clover on a warm sunny day. Bees are most active during this time.

Male “Honey Bees” do not sting as they do not have a stinger. The male bee is called a “drone”. The worker bees are female, and they can sting. The “Queen Bee” can also sting. Wasps are also most active during the day, as stated earlier. In the evenings you will see them heading for their nests. The best time to remove a wasp nest is during the night. They are all gathered and not active. Bees and wasps are not active at nighttime, bees sleep and wasps rest.

What Is The Birthing Cycle Of Bees and Wasps?

The birthing cycle of bees and wasps are similar. When many think of “queens” in this particular scenario, they think of bees. The “Queen Bee”, which you have often heard about, is the egg producer. Then you have your “Worker Bees” which are also females, and do not lay eggs. It is easy to think of the “Worker Bees” as being male. The male bees are called “Drones”, and they are the ones that find the queen and mate with her. After the drone mates with the queen and she lays eggs, they will hatch in about three to four days.

Many do not know that wasps also have a “Queen Wasp”. She has workers and drones such as the bee has. It just hasn’t been as “romanticized” as the bee’s story. The “Queen Wasp” is the largest in her whole kingdom. Her whole life’s purpose is to lay eggs, she does nothing else. Only she and her workers (whom are female) have stingers. These were provided by nature as a means of “self defense”.

Bees and wasps both live in colonies, and they both have a queen, as mentioned earlier. This queen has the possibility of having anywhere from a thousand to three thousand babies in her life time. In order for her to reach the ultimate goal in reproduction, her environment has to be practically perfect. The queen is the only member of her kingdom whom can give birth in the birthing cycle of bees and wasps.

What Is The History Of Bees and Wasps?
The history of bees and wasps is very interesting. The very first bee ever recorded in history was at “Myanmar”. Myanmar is located in Southeast Asia, and called what we know as “Burma” in modern times. It is bordered by Bangladesh and India on it’s West. China is on the North and Northeast side of it’s border.

In the days when the bee was discovered, and first written about, it was more like the wasps. The wasps mostly survived by eating other insects, as they still do today. They are known to eat a little “Honey Dew”, but they mostly eat spiders, ants, bees, flies, and other insects, as mentioned.

The bee of today eats nectar and pollen as an adult. Queen bees eat mostly pollen. Pollen and nectar mixed together are fed to the babies, or larvae. “Honey Bees” eat and drink nectar to make honey. The bee that was found in Myanmar was actually in a case made of amber, which adds to the mystical importance of bees and how they help the plants to reproduce. The bee in the amber case, was found a 100 million years ago. The bee could have been carried there, and many speculate that it came from the far East. In ancient religious practices the bee was often considered as “sacred”. The bee is actually a very important creature with a lot of responsibility, and often gets eaten by the wasp when it comes to the history of bees and wasps.

Bees and Wasps

Bees and wasps can be a major party pooper for your outside BBQ this summer. Make sure to keep them at bay by hiring a professional to locate and remove the problematic hives near your home or office. Be aware though that not all bees are problematic and can actually be useful. Give us a call to know the difference!

Watchdog Pest Control and exterminators will monitor your home and help prevent an infestation with BEES AND WASPS.

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