Bees vs. Wasp
In the summer months, backyard barbeques are often visited by uninvited stinging insects. Stinging insects send more than half a million people to emergency rooms each year and most of these stings are caused by wasps and hornets. Although capable of stinging, under normal circumstances, bees play a beneficial role in the backyard. The vast majority of stings that occur in North America are inflicted by social wasps or hornets. Social wasps and hornets live communally in nests that can range in size from small to extremely large. When threatened or disturbed, these pests will respond aggressively to defend the nest with repeated stings to the offending party. Social bees, with the exception of Africanized honey bees, are rarely aggressive and almost always considered beneficial. Bumble bees and honey bees are often seen buzzing from one flower to the next in backyard gardens. Each plays an important role transferring pollen from one flower to the next. Without this important service, most of the fruit and vegetables that we rely on for food would be nonexistent. On a commercial scale, honey bees also provide products like honey and beeswax. Nevertheless, stings sometimes happen. If you are stung, remove the stinger with a fingernail or tweezers, ice the area and take an over-the-counter pain reliever if necessary. For more information about bees, wasps and other pollinators, visit www.pollinatorhealth.org.
Keep the STING Out of Summer
The word yellowjacket is synonymous with pain, and can be enough to make you squirm with the thought of discomfort. Summer is the time when these stinging insects increase in numbers in both rural and urban environments
across North America. Yellowjacket queens mate in the fall and spend the winter months overwintering in a protected spot, often in structural voids. When they emerge in the spring, the queens begin building a nest where they will raise the first generation of their brood. Once these wasps reach adulthood, they are ready to take on the responsibilities of a worker wasp: expanding the nest, foraging for food, and protecting the colony. Adult yellowjackets are pollinators, searching for nectar and other sweets. However, they also collect protein-packed foods like insect grubs or even your picnic lunch, which they bring back to the nest and feed to the larvae. Yellowjackets vary in size depending on the species, but most generally range in length from 1/2″ to 5/8″ with a rounded body that is slightly wider than the head. The pattern of yellow markings on the thorax and abdomen, the insect’s torso, are unique and can be useful in differentiating between species. Nests are typically below ground, but some species will nest aerially. Aerial nesting yellowjackets make use of trees, attics, and other places that offer some confining spaces. The ground nests are particularly troubling because they can easily go unnoticed. Children playing catch in the yard, or someone mowing a lawn may inadvertently disturb the nest and incur the unfortunate wrath of these stinging pests. Trust us, if you get too close to a yellowjacket nest, they will let you know! Unlike
honey bees, yellowjackets and other stinging wasps are capable of, and willing to, sting repeatedly and pursue perceived threats. Don’t risk your health trying to treat or remove nests yourself; do the right thing and call us today to come and take care of it for you and your family.