ABOUT STINGING PESTS
Over a half million people end up in the emergency room every year thanks to wasps, bees and hornet stings. These insects forage for food to sustain their queens and mid-summer to fall are their most active periods.
Depending on the nest and species, populations can exceed 60,000 members. Some of these stinging pests can be quite aggressive and others are vitally important to our ecosystem.
If you find a stinging insect nest on your property, contact an Axiom pest control expert promptly. We will be able to inspect your home, confirm the type of stinging insect and recommend a course of pest control treatment.
AFRICANIZED HONEY BEE
In an effort to make honey bees prosper like they had in temperate U.S. climates, warm-loving African honey bees were introduced to Brazil in the 1950s. The bees were supposed to be crossbred with gentler European bees, but they accidentally escaped quarantine and moved northward in their expansion.
Over time, the African bees hybridized with European bees and now we have the species referred to as the Africanized honey bee.
Africanized bees are more defensive of their hives than other bees: Instead of sending 10 to 20 bees to attack an intruder, Africanized bees will send 100 bees out to attack and will defend up to a 1/4 mile radius.
We generaly do not treat for Africanized Honey Bees because of our pollinator policy.
BALD FACED HORNET
The bald faced hornet is part of the yellow jacket family, although its markings are black and white. Its characteristic white face markings give it is name.
Although these hornets seem beneficial because they eat flies, caterpillars and spiders, they threaten humans with their aggressive stings. To make matters worse, this particular hornet can squirt venom from their stinger into the eyes of nest intruders, temporarily blinding or making their eyes water.
Bald faced hornets live in colonies and build elaborate egg-shaped paper nests in trees, bushes, rock overhangs and on the sides of buildings.
These are mean insects you won't want in your yard. If you have a nest, call a professional to deal with them.
Carpenter bees don't generally bore into painted wood, but they definitely do bore holes into dry weathered wood like windowsills, roof eaves, decks, fences and railings.
You see, carpenter bees are only looking for a place to bore a hole and call home. Normally they'll do this in trees, but sometimes your home's wood just looks too inviting. Inside the hole, they'll build elaborate tunnels and galleries to hold their eggs.
Although their name implies it, carpenter bees don't eat wood. In fact, they live on pollen and nectar.
There are two species of this bee: the large carpenter bee and the small carpenter bee. They are important pollinators, but the can also become pests to your home. Call a professional to deal with them.
CICADA KILLER WASP
Cicada killer wasps are large black and pale yellow wasps that are often seen carrying off a cicada. They are often confused with European wasps.
The target of these wasps are not humans, but cicadas. When they find a cicada they methodically paralyze it, bury and then lay an egg under the left or right second leg of the cicada. As the egg hatches, the larvae begin to eat the cicada, while taking care to keep it alive. When the larvae has had its fill, it spins a cocoon, in which it changes into an adult wasp.
While these are solitary species, females are known to nest in large numbers in sandy embankments. The number of nests and wasp activity can become a nuisance. Male wasps, will aggressively defend their territory, although they don't have a stinger.
The European hornet is a mostly woodland insect that builds large paper nests in hollow trees.
These hornets can fly at night and are attracted to light. They may bang into windows to get to the light source.
They are predators to large insects like bees, grasshoppers and flies. When food is unavailable, they will girdle tree branches and feed on the sap that results from the wound they inflicted on the tree. And they'll also visit fruit-bearing trees to sample sweet juices from ripe fruit.
An average nest will have 200 to 400 workers by late summer. Their nests are heavily defended and the aggressive workers will sting any intruder.
EUROPEAN PAPER WASP
Native to the Mediterranean region, European paper wasps were first seen in the United States in the early 1980s. Since then, this wasp has become the dominant wasp species in much of the country.
These wasps are very successful at colonizing because they are able to establish workers sooner than native species of wasps; are able to avoid native bird predators and have enclosed nesting sites, providing further protection from predation.
They build intricate paper nests in sheltered locations — like under eaves and in grills and vent pipes. A queen establishes a colony, lays eggs and in about 50 days, those eggs become adult wasps. These wasps are beneficial in that they prey on insect pests to feed their larvae, but generally feed on flower nectar and rotting fruit.
Late season wasp nests can be difficult to remove without getting stung. It's best to call a professional to control these wasps.
GIANT ASIAN HORNET
This is the world's largest hornet at nearly 2 inches in length and a wing span of 3 inches. Its stinger, which releases a powerful venom, is also giant at nearly 1/4 inch long.
Giant Asian hornets, also called "yak killer" hornets, feed on larger insects, tree sap and honey from honey bee colonies. They've been known to decimate entire honey bee colonies for their honey.
In China, Korea and France, this hornet is blamed for hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries.
If you see this hornet in your neighborhood, call a pest control professional and then call the media because, to date, these insects have not arrived in the United States.
Mud wasps, also called mud dauber wasps, build elaborate nests from mud. Females carry a ball of wet mud back to their nesting site in their mandibles and then carefully work the mud into cells that will hold her eggs and prey for nourishment.
Mud wasps are considered beneficial insects because they hunt spiders and rarely sting humans.
They do sting spiders, which paralyzes them. The wasps then take the spider to their nest where they deposit their egg on the prey. They then close up the mud cell and allow the larvae to hatch and devour the spider.
Mud wasps are solitary — they do not live in colonies, but have been known to make their nests on front porches and overhangs. You'll want professional help with these insects if you notice an infestation.
Paper wasps build nests that are formed from a papery substance of plant materials and the wasps' saliva. The result is a thin-walled, gray paper nest without an outer shell that has its inner cells left exposed. These nests often appear in sheltered areas such as door frames, window sills and under the eaves of houses.
Paper wasps sting and it can be painful and can even produce serious reactions in those who are allergic to their venom.
These wasps measure normally 1 to 1.25 inches in length. They have slender bodies that are dark brown in color, black wings and possibly yellow markings — making them appear similar to yellow jackets in coloration.
Don't let these wasps even start a nest at your home. Call a professional immediately if you see the start of a papery wasp nest.
Red wasps build some of the largest nests of any wasp species. These gray paper nests are placed in protected areas like eaves, porches and under high decks, as well as in dense vegetation and tree cavities.
Anywhere from 800 to 5,000 members can call a single nest home, making the red wasp colonies on par with ants and bees for large insect colonies.
Female red wasps sting when their nest is threatened and although the stinger does not stay with the victim, there is almost always localized swelling and itching and maybe a rash. Children and those allergic to wasp stings can go into shock as a result of the sting.
Don't let these red wasps even start a nest at your home. Call a professional immediately if you see the start of a papery wasp nest.
Yellow jackets are fierce defenders of their colonies and are known for their painful stinging. But they're also beneficial to the environment because they kill beetle grubs, flies and other harmful pests to feed their youth. Adult yellow jackets enjoy a diet of nectar, fruit and tree sap.
Yellow jackets nest either below ground or above ground level in low shrubs and branches. Because their nests are not always visible, its imperative that homeowners use caution in their yards during warm weather, because these wasps will attack if provoked.
Colonies can swell to 1,000 or more workers by fall. All workers are sterile females. Males appear in late summer. As adults, the males mate with any fertile females, which will overwinter to become next year's queen.
If you see evidence of yellow jacket nests above ground, or see them flying over your yard, call an Axiom professional for help.