Stinging Bees and Wasps

Stinging insects such as yellowjackets, hornets, wasps and bees are common summertime pests and their stings can be more than just a painful nuisance. The National Pest Management Association reports that stinging insects send more than half a million people to the emergency room every year. Those with allergies to stings are most at risk, although anyone can be affected if a large number of stinging insects swarm and sting at once.

One way to protect yourself and your family from stinging insects this summer is to ensure your property is free from hives and nests. On a routine basis, walk around the exterior of your home, paying special attention to overhangs, eaves, the underside of porches and decks for nests. Also inspect shrubs, trees, sheds and other structures. If you do find a nest on your property, do not attempt to remove it on your own. The colony can become defensive and attack en masse. Instead, contact Reardon Pest Control at 302-792-9300 to relocate or remove the hive in a safe manner.

Common stinging bees and wasps during the summer months are:

bumblebee_124x83Bumble Bees are between 1/4 and 1 inch in size. They have black and yellow markings and an overall fuzzy appearance. They build their nexts out of pollen clumps, usually in the ground or in a dense grass clump, and often in an abandoned mouse nest. Bumble bees are considered a beneficial insect because they pollinate flowers. However, they can sting. If a nest is located in a near a structure, then control is necessary.

carpenter_bee_185x135Carpenter Bees are between 1/2 and 1 inch in size. They resemble bumble bees but the top of their abdomen is large and shiny. They do not live in nests or colonies, but rather bore into wood where they make galleries for rearing their young. Carpenter bees tend to prefer decaying or weathered wood to new or painted wood. Carpenter bees are a serious property threat, and can cause structural damage over time if they are not eliminated. Male carpenter bees can be territorial and may hover in front of one’s face aggressively, but they have no stinger and these actions are merely for show. Female carpenter bees do have a potent sting, which is rarely used.

honeybee_185x235Honey bees are between 1/2 and 5/8 inch in size and orangish brown or black in color. They are social insects and live as colonies in hives, with mature colonies of 20,000 – 80,000 individuals. Honey bees are not aggressive and do not search for something to attack. Instead, they are defensive and will attack only whatever seems to threaten the colony.

bald faced hornet_185x138Baldfaced hornets are largely black in color, with a mostly white face. Baldfaced hornets build aeriel nests out of paper carton. The nests are usually in exposed locations, often on trees, utility poles, overhangs or other structures. The nests can be quite large, growing to 14 inches in diameter and 24 inches in length. Baldfaced hornets are considered beneficial insects because they control many pest insect species. However, if their nest is located near a structure, control is warranted.

european_hornet__180x120European hornets are large in size, between ¾ and more than 1 inch. They are brown with yellow abdominal stripes and a pale face. European hornets build paper carton nests that are usually covered in a brown paper envelope as protection. Typically, the nests can be found in hollow trees, barns, out buildings, hollow walls of houses and attics. European hornets are considered beneficial insects because they control many pest species. However, if their nest is located near a structure, control is warranted.

mud dauber_180x136Mud daubers are long and slender, usually black in color, and may have pale markings or a metallic luster. Mud daubers are solitary wasps and do not live in colonies. Females construct nests of mud. Many short mud tubes, usually about 1 inch long, are constructed side by side. They frequently build nests under eaves, porch ceilings, in garages and sheds, barns, protected building walls and attics. Mud daubers are considered beneficial insects because they control spiders. However, if their nest is located near human activity, control is warranted.

paper_wasp_queen_185x121Paper wasps are brownish with yellow or reddish markings. Paper wasps get their name from the paperlike material of which they construct their nest. Paper wasp nests are often umbrella-like in shape and are never enclosed in an envelope. Nests are often found hanging from twigs and branches of trees and shrubs, as well as porch ceilings, door frames, eaves, deck floor joints, railings, etc. If a nest is touched, there is a high probability you will get stung, although paper wasps are typically not aggressive. Paper wasps are considered beneficial insects because they control many pest insect species. However, if their nest is located near a structure, control is warranted.

yellowjacket_185x135Yellowjackets have a yellow and black color pattern and are between 3/8 and 5/8 inches. Yellowjackets live in nests constructed of paper carton, which can grow to be basketball-sized. One nest will contain a number of rounded paper combs, attached one below another and covered with a many-layered envelope. Depending on the species, the nest may be near the ground, such as on plant roots, logs or timber, or aerial and attached to shrubs, bushes, houses, garages or sheds. Yellowjackets are slow to sting, unless their nests is threatened.Yellowjackets are considered beneficial insects because they control many pest insect species. However, if their nest is located near a structure, control is warranted.

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