Who are we dealing with?
If it flies and has any semblance of a stinger (or even stripes), it is typically labeled as a bee by the general populations. Understanding who these flying friends/foes are is key to knowing what to do about them.
Good Guys – Honey Bees. These are beneficial insects that are helpful to crops, flowers, and plants in general. They produce honey and are responsible for the successful production of produce at the stores. These are not aggressive stinging types, but will only play defense.
Cosmetic pests – These include several species of thread wasps or mud daubers. They build unsightly nests and look freakishly horrifying, but they are only likely to sting if they are handled or feel attacked without a way to escape.
The aggressors – Wasps hornets and yellow jackets are all closely related.
A Glimpse Into Stinging Pests
Wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets belong to the insect order Hymenoptera and are stinging insects. Many of these stinging insects are social and live in colonies with a caste system (division of labor). Wasps start new colonies each year unlike honeybees which have overlapping generations.
The common paper wasp builds single-comb, umbrella-shaped nests out of paper-like material which is a mixture of finely chewed plant fibers and wood fragments (cellulose) and salivary secretions. From spring moving forward, queens lay the eggs and the female workers feed the larvae and expand the nest. The workers gather protein to feed the nest, but they find their own sustenance in flower nectar.
This social wasp constructs nests of a paper-like material which is a mixture of finely chewed wood fragments and salivary secretions. Paper wasps typically build their umbrella-shaped nests under eaves and ledges. These wasps are not as aggressive as hornets or yellow jackets.
What happens if you get stung?
Most stings include a puncture to the skin are likely to be painful, cause redness, induce a burning sensation or itchiness, and may include minor swelling. Odds are that roughly 1 in 10 people after a sting will develop large local reactions that include more widespread symptoms that may last for several days and should subside within about a week. 3 out of 100 people stung display severe allergic reactions that can be life threatening such as anaphylactic shock. Symptoms of severe reactions may include one or more of the following:
• severe swelling of the face, lips, or throat
• hives or itching in areas of the body not affected by the sting
• breathing difficulties, such as wheezing
• sudden drop in blood pressure
• loss of consciousness
• nausea or vomiting
• stomach cramps
• weak or racing pulse
Where Are These Stingers Found?
Each type of stinging insect is found throughout the united states. Though the specific species will vary, there is no hiding from them by evacuating to another state. The trick is to know where in your yard you may find them.
• Honey Bees need hives to thrive.
• Mud daubers will be stuck to exterior walls, garage walls, attic walls, and any other protected flat surface.
• Paper wasps will find overhanging protections such as eaves, decks, porch overhangs, and playlets to hide their paper mache nests that would otherwise be decimated by a decent rainfall.
• Hornets are most likely going to shack up in a large nest they build and enclose on a tree branch, but they may venture into available voids around the home.
• Yellow jackets will build large underground nests, nests on walls, in attics, in voids, and will even venture into voids in campers and around care engines.
When Are Stinging Pests Active?
The winter is only likely to turn up lethargic wasps that are camping out through the winter in your wall voids. Warm days or central heating may wake them up enough to think spring is coming and cause them to wander around.
Spring time is building and expansion time. You are likely to encounter them in fewer numbers as they determinedly search out building materials and food for their brood.
Summer time brings populations in full force. They will be hungry and will join you for picnics, barbecues, and lovely strolls around the yard.
Fall brings out the stressed populations. Continued population expansion and cooling evening temperatures put them into hyper mode. Paper wasps may swarm homes in search for protection. Yellow jackets may deviate from the steady flow of flying and swarm hints of food ranging from dog food to garbage.
Why We Eliminate Stinging Pest
The good guys – Bees-The only time it makes sense to eliminate the honey bee from a location is if they swarm. A large swarm of bees may occur on a home, but is most likely to occur in a tree. These swarms usually go away after a day or two as it is just a bunch of bees following a female that is resting on her way to set up a hive. If they continue or rest in an area disrupting life too much, they may be trapped and safely removed.
The cosmetic offenders-While these are not a threat to human safety, their nests can accumulate and start to disfigure entry ways, garage walls, attics, and other places on the walls. Keeping their populations under control will make fewer nests cemented onto the home that have to be removed. Even though they are not likely to sting, those with anaphylactic responses (high allergies to stings) may be wise to establish a control program to minimize the likelihood they accidentally corner one and cause it to feel threatened.
The aggressors – Not only are these the group of wasps that are aggressive and likely to attack for no apparent reason, they also have large numbers that provide scattered threats throughout a yard and around a home. Whether it is a handful of paper wasps or thousands of yellow jackets, they will stake a claim in your house or yard and wage full on war against you if you try to invade their space, harm their nest, eat their hamburger, or drink their coke – the same coke that just came out of your fridge.
The second layer of concern lies in the nests these stingers build. It is not just the concern of a large basketball sized nest in the tree, but the worry of a clandestine underground nest that will be uncovered as a lawnmower passes over it making thousands of yellow jackets believe it is world war 3. If yellow jackets decide a wall void is the best place to nest, the nest can cause moisture problems, bulges in the sheetrock or siding, or you may even encounter the workers flying around your laundry or other parts of the home.
The general statistics. There are an estimated 1 million stings annually from wasps. Anywhere from 40 to 100 people may die on an annual basis from major reactions to stings.
If your Minnesota home is under attack from wasps or other stinging pests, call the experts at Rove: 651-735-3101. Our courteous pest control specialists from one of our 4 offices: St. Paul, Minneapolis, Oakdale & Brooklyn Park will be able to assist.