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To learn more about Bees and Wasps, please scroll down.
Honey bees are social insects that live in a colony or hive with as many as 20,000 - 80,000 workers.
Workers collect nectar and pollen from plants, inadvertently pollinating flowers and allowing plants to produce fruit.
They also produce honey and fashion honey comb from wax that they secrete. The queen and all the larvae are fed and
cared for by the young workers. Older workers gather pollen and nectar for the colony. The entire population overwinters.
Honey bees are not naturally aggressive. However, if the colony is threatened, they will sting. Honey
bees swarm when the queen begins to fail or the colony is too large. Swarmers often are seen on a tree branch, and when
this occurs, the bees are not aggressive. The swarm last 24-48 hours and then moves to a sheltered environment, e.g.,
hollow tree, bee hive, hollow wall, attic, etc.
If a honey bee colony is established within a wall of a structure,
there are two control options: the living colony can be removed or killed. If the decision is to remove a living colony,
it is best to work with an experienced beekeeper who will remove the bees safely. Swarms are easily removed by an experienced
beekeeper. Removal of a colony within a structure may require several weeks.
Because native honey bee colonies
are rapidly declining, killing the colony should be avoided if possible. If this is not an option, killing the colony
requires leaving the nest open after treatment to allow the bees to leave and die. Once the colony has been killed, the wall
should be opened to remove the honey comb and developing larvae which prevents the development of secondary pests and stains
caused by the melting honey and wax.
|Honey Bee Swarm on tree branch
"the swarm lasts 24 - 48 hours and then moves to a sheltered environment"
Social Wasps have typical "wasp" body types: a very distinct head with chewing mouthparts, short elbowed
antennae, and large compound eyes. The thorax and abdomen are highly marked with yellow, red, or brown on a black background.
The wasps have four clear or smoky brown wings. They have a short, narrow attachment between the thorax and the abdomen.
The abdomen is spindle-shapped and tipped with a long stinger.
Social wasps include: Yellow Jackets,
Baldfaced Hornets, European Hornets and Paper Wasps.
Jackets are usually marked with bright yellow and black patterns, appear hairless, and are about 3/8 to 5/8
inch long. As with hornets, these wasps build their flat paper nests in stacks which are surrounded by a paper envelope.
Yellow Jackets usually build their nest below the ground and in other protected locations.
Unlike bees, these
wasps aggressively defend their nests and can inflict multiple stings. They produce very large colonies with some Yellow
Jacket nests containing as many as 30,000 individuals. These insects are considered to be beneficial because they feed
their young a wide variety of insects. They become a nuisance, however, when they build nests in or near structures:
scavenge for food in recreational areas and in other places frequented by humans: and seek overwintering sites in structures.
|Baldfaced Hornets nest in tree
The Baldfaced Hornet is similar to a yellow jacket except that it is white and
black and 5/8 to 3/4 inch long. Baldfaced Hornets prefer to build their nest in trees and on the sides of buildings.
These nest are grayish in color and can be quite large. They have an entrance at the bottom of the nest and are very
durable. Never try to remove the nest without protective gear. These wasps are highly aggressive and even experienced
pest control technicians exercise extreme caution.
|European Hornet stripping bark from branch
The European Hornet is the largest European social wasp. The queen measures 1-1.5 inches long. Males and
workers are smaller. This species is not particularly aggressive except when defending the nest. Care must be
taken when in the proximity of the nest, as stings are quite painful. As with most stinging insects, European Hornets
will sting in self-defense when grabbed or stepped on. European Hornets are often mis-characterized as dangerous
and greatly feared by some people. This is a common myth. A sting from a European Hornet isn't any more dangerous
than a wasp sting, hornets are less aggressive than wasps. While impressive due to their size and loud sound, European
Hornets are in fact much less aggressive than some of their smaller relatives, notably the yellow jackets. One unique
feature of the European Hornet is that they are attracted to lights at night, but are not attracted to human foods and food
Each fall, the colony produces males and females that mate, and the females become next year's queens.
Only the overwintering queens survive in protected sites such as under loose bark, in tree cavities, and in wall voids of
building. All other colony members produced in the current year will perish.
In the spring, the emerging
queens establish new nest in aerial cavities, deposit eggs in cells they have constructed, and feed the first batch of larvae.
The larvae mature, pupate in their cells, and then emerge as sterile female workers. These workers take over the responsibility
of foraging for food to feed the young larvae, collect cellulose to expand the nest, and protect the nest from external threats.
Typical food for the young include: crickets, grasshoppers, large flies, caterpillars, and the workers of other yellow jacket
In addition to the hazard created by their stings, the hornets will also damage various trees and shrubs
by girdling the branches and twigs to gather bark for nest building and to obtain nourishment from the sap. They can
also be a minor pest to beehives by preying on worker honey bees.
Solitary wasps vary in size from 1/4 to 2 inches in
length. Their color varies from dull black or brown to brilliant red, yellow or blue. Many have a metallic sheen
to the body or wing. They have a typical "wasp like" body. Although they have stingers, they usually
are not aggressive, stinging only when handled. The main difference between bees and wasps is that bees feed their larvae
on "honey" a mixture of pollen and nectar, whereas wasps feed their larvae on meat, mostly paralysed arthropods.
The wasps paralyses its prey rather than kill it, this is so that it will not rot before the larvae get a chance to eat it.
For this reason, Solitary Wasps are considered to be beneficial insects. The beneficial nature of these wasps, should
be explained to the customer and, if possible, killing them should be avoided.
Solitary Wasps include:
Mud Daubers, Digger Wasps, Potter Wasps and Cicada Killer Wasps.
Adult Mud Daubers are 3/4 to 1 inch long Solitary Wasps. They vary in color
by species from dull black to black with bright yellow markings to iridescent blue-black. The best identifying feature
is the longer, narrow "waist". These solitary wasps build their nests of mud under overhangs like eaves of
buildings. The Organ-pipe Mud Dauber (see picture) is about 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, shiny black, elongated and slender.
This wasp builds nest in a series of parallel mud tubes of varying length, like a pipe organ with several or many tubes in
The black and yellow mud dauber is often seen around wet areas digging up balls of mud for its nest.
The nest is placed on the undersides of boards, logs, rocks, etc. The Blue Mud Dauber does not make its own nest, but
takes over the nest of the black and yellow mud dauber.
Male mud dauber wasps guard the nest while the females
forage. Mud dauber wasp queens use their sting to paralyze their prey (spiders) rather than to defend the nest.
These spiders are then packed into the cells until full. A fertilized egg is then deposited and the cell is sealed
until the growth process is complete.
Mud dauber wasps may become a nuisance when they construct nests of mud,
especially on porches, decks, sheds, eaves, ceilings, walls and under roof overhangs around homes and other structures where
people live, work and play. They are considered nuisance pests since nests are not defended and stings are rare.
In spite of their formidable appearance, these solitary wasps are not aggressive and controls are rarely needed.
|Cicada Killer carrying Cicada to nest
The Cicada Killer Wasps attract attention due to their large size, the burrows that
they dig in home lawns, and the buzzing flights over the lawn. The wasps feed on flower nectar while the immature or
larval stage feeds primarily upon cicadas that are brought to the burrow by the adult.
spite of their large size, the wasps usually ignore people but they can give a painful sting if bothered. Mating males
are aggressive and more easily disturbed.
A mound of fine soil surrounds the burrow
of each cicada killer. Since colonies of burrows are common, infested lawns usually contain several mounds that can
smother the grass. However, they prefer to nest in areas of sparse vegetation, and rarely infest thick, vigorous turf.
Cicada killers over winter as larvae in the soil. Pupation
occurs in the spring and the adult emerges in mid-June to early July. Emergence continues throughout the simmer.
Females feed, mate, and dig burrows for several weeks before preying on cicadas. Excess soil thrown out of the burrow
forms a regular, U-shaped mound at the entrance.
|Male & Female Cicada Killers
The females search tree trunks and lower limbs for cicadas. The wasp stings its prey, turns
the victim on its back, straddles it, and drags it or glides with it to the burrow. Each cell is furnished with at least
one cicada and a single egg before being sealed off. Two to 3 days later the egg hatches. Depending on the number
of cicadas in its cell, the larva feeds for 4 to 10 days until only the cicada's outer shell remains. During the fall,
the larva spins a silken case, shrinks, and prepares to overwinter. Only one generation occurs each year.
Potter wasp is a common name for a group of caterpillar-hunting wasps known for the pot shaped mud nests built
by some species. Potter wasps are also known as mason wasps. They are medium to large sized wasps 3/8 to 3/4 inch
long. They are black with white, yellow, orange, or red markings. Potter wasp adults feed on flower nectar and
collect small caterpillars to feed their brood. The caterpillars are paralyzed with the wasp's sting and piled into
the brood cell, the compartment in which the wasp larva develops. The female wasp then lays an egg on the stored caterpillars.
The potter wasp larva consumes from 1 to 12 caterpillars as it grows. Potter wasps are important in the natural control
|Yellow Potter Wasp making nest
Some species of potter wasps nest in the ground, in hollow plant stalks, in nail holes in wood, or
in deserted bee and wasp nests. Other species, such as the Yellow Potter Wasp (see picture) construct rounded, jug-shaped
nest with narrow necks. These nests, which resemble miniature pottery, may be fastened at the bottom to twigs.
Each female constructs one or more nests independently. She carries a droplet of water to a particular mud-collecting
site and mixes it with dry clay earth, using her mandibles. The wasp's saliva may help strengthen the mud.
Carpenter bees can cause considerable damage to your home.
They excavate tunnels in the wood, usually the fascia boards on the sunny sides of your house. However, they also frequent
soffits, other trim boards, porches, deck railings, joists, hand rails, etc. Once these tunnels are completed, they
lay fertilized eggs and add pollen for food as the larvae completes its life cycle to full grown adults. After
this process, they seal the channels up with a waxy substance. A few short months later, these bees emerge
near the end of the summer and begin hovering around our homes. In the fall, as winter approaches, these bees re-enter
the tunnels to overwinter until the spring, when they repeat this process. This will continue year after year
and the damage will spread further each year unless treated.
Bees are often confused with Bumble Bees, given that they both have similar appearances. However, carpenter bees are
larger and have shiny black abdomens. Bumble bees have a yellow striped, hairy abdomen. After spending their winters
in the empty tunnels, the carpenter bees emerge in the spring to search for mates. Male carpenter bees can be aggressive
in the early spring, hovering around people often causing anxiety. There is little to worry about as males, have no
stingers. Female carpenter bees by contrast, are much less aggressive and mostly do not sting without provocation.
After the adult carpenter
bees emerge in the spring, they mate and the females then begin tunneling into the wood to lay their eggs. The female
carpenter bee prefers bare, untreated wood such as the underside of your fascia boards. She is especially drawn
to softwoods, including cypress, cedar, pine and redwood. A key indicator is the 3/8 to 1/2 inch perfectly round hole
at the entrance to the nest. Since the hole is usually in the back of boards, many times you cannot see it. However,
when drilling the hole, the female carpenter bee excretes a substance that drips down the siding staining the sides of your
house. This is clearly visible and is a tell tale sign that an entrance/exit hole is located at that point. You
may also notice a pile of coarse sawdust near these entrance/exit holes. Sometimes, you may even hear the female excavating
Painting all exposed wood around your home is the first line of defense. Stains and other wood
preservatives are less effective then a good coating of paint, but they do help repel these insects to some extent.
If you notice these bees, call Central Exterminating to schedule a professional treatment.
These bees can be very difficult to control. If you are unsure of the extent of your infestation or as to the height
of the nest, Central will send out an inspector at no charge to evaluate the treatment necessary to control your infestation.
Once treatment is complete and no more activity is observed, the wood that has been infested should be treated, then the holes
should be plugged to prevent future use.
|Carpenter Bee shavings from excavation of tunnels
|Carpenter Bee emerging for entrance hole to tunnels
Bumble Bees are social insects that generally nest underground.
Bumble Bee is a common name for any of a group of large, hairy, usually black and yellow bees. There are fifty species
of bumble bees know in North America. Bumble Bees are similar to their close relatives, the honey bees. Their
colonies are headed by a queen, who is the main egg-layer, and many workers, who are the daughters of the queen, and the drones
(males) are produced during the mating season. However, the colonies of bumble bees, unlike those of honey bees, only
survive during the warm season. Although bumble bees collect nectar and store it as honey, they do not hoard large amounts
of it, as do honey bees.
Bumble bees are conspicuous
and important in nature. Their biology has been well studied. They are among the few insects that can control
their body temperature. Bumble bees are important pollinators of many plants. Both queens and workers collect
pollen and transport it back to the colony in pollen baskets on their hind legs. Workers are small in born early in
the year, and large if born later in the year. bumble bees have long been recognized as vital to the production of certain
seed crops. In recent years, bee scientist have developed a means to cause the queens to skip their winter hibernation
and produce colonies year-round. Bumble bee colonies are now used extensively in greenhouse pollination of crops such
as tomatoes and strawberries.
|Digger Bee exiting ground hole
Digger Bee is a common name for a group of robust, fast-flying, ground-nesting bees with velvety fur.
There are more than 900 species in the United States. Digger bees range in size from the size of a honey bee to the
size of a bumble bee. These bees mostly nest in the ground. Digger bees display very interesting nesting and foraging
behavior. Many species nest in dense aggregations, and swarms of males cruise around the nesting sites searching for
These are solitary bees that individually rear their young within the soil tunnels they construct.
Such nesting is restricted to only certain sites found to be optimal, based on features such as slope, aspect, soil type and
drainage. As a result, they often appear to occur in "colonies", often numbering in the hundreds. In
these colonies, each female is hard at work, digging out the nest cells and collecting pollen for her young, often in very
close proximity to many others, giving the appearance of a nest. Digger bees do not have a social structure, as do honeybees
or social wasps such as yellow jackets.
Digger bees are also very non-aggressive and will not sting unless handled
or trapped in clothing. Even then, their sting is reported to be much milder that that of a honeybee or yellow jacket.
Male bees cannot sting at all. These bees typically have one generation per year.
|Digger Bee/Digger Wasp Ground Nests
Both the Blue Digger and Golden Digger wasps are beneficial, appearing in the morning and flying over the lawn all
day, then leaving in early evening. Digger wasps are solitary wasps with each female working alone to produce her offspring
instead of having the help of several workers as in social chambers or cells. These chambers are provisioned with food
for the offspring. After the eggs are laid in or on the "provision," the offspring are on their own to live
and grow to adults that emerge the following summer.
The Blue Digger Wasp about 3/4 inch
long is shiny metallic blue on both wings and body. This slender wasp provisions its nests with grasshoppers and crickets.
Also, the inch-long Golden Digger Wasp with shiny gold markings on the
face and abdomen uses grasshoppers and crickets as stored food for their offspring. Often, wasps can be seen flying
about a foot or less above the ground. Others may be perched on shrubs and trees.
Due to their large size,
they are assumed to be extremely dangerous. Actually, they are not aggressive but curious and investigate persons and
pets near their burrows. Stings are quite rare. The digger wasps do not sting people unless they are aggravated
or captured by hand. One can walk safely through them as they hover over the lawn. These wasps are natural agents
in the control of grubs in the soil.
Today, many people are allergic to bee stings. Always exercise caution
when bees or wasps are present. A single sting can cause a severe reaction and in some cases death. Be safe, call
a professional such as Central Exterminating.
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