Category Archives: Wasps

Bee & Wasp Control: Infrastructure of a Bee’s Nest and Why You Don’t Want to Mess with It

bee and wasp control
As backyard entertaining brings the indoors outdoors this summer, your backyard or pool deck may play host to quite a few cookouts and pool parties. But sometimes, uninvited bees or wasps can disrupt summer fun activities. Because bees and wasps pose health threats to humans and pets, Truly Nolen recommends contacting a reliable and reputable professional pest control company to address your bee and wasp concerns.

Wild bee colonies Africanized

Also, with the sudden threat to honeybee populations worldwide, the thought of relocating a bee colony to an apiary may sound like a good idea to environmentally-aware homeowners but in Modern Farmer’s interview with Reed Booth, Southern Arizona’s Killer Bee Guy, Booth said beehives and nests found under eaves, in walls, in sheds and other places on homeowners’ properties should be eradicated as most wild bee colonies in the US have become Africanized. This means that due to the interbreeding of wild European honeybees with wild Africanized honeybees, the bees are much more aggressive and will attack people and pets. Pest professionals, such as Truly Nolen, know how to remove killer bees from your property, safely.

Honeybees vital to world’s crops and food supply

As the globe’s most important plant pollinators, honeybees play a vital role in contributing to over one-third of the planet’s food sources. Pollinating US crops at an estimated 10 billion dollars’ worth annually, honeybees produce honey collected from flower nectar. Bees depend on the honey they produce from flower nectars to nourish their young and provide sustenance for adult bees. While professional honey collection by beekeepers provides us with honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis and royal jelly, beekeeping is a highly specialized enterprise, conducted by trained apiarists.

Honeybee social structure

A honeybee colony’s highly sophisticated and social structure includes individuals performing specific tasks for the ultimate good of the colony. Divided into three castes, honeybee colonies consist of one queen, 20-80 thousand infertile female worker bees and 300 to 800 fertile male drones, whose only job description appears to be mating with the queen to produce more bees. Along with the adult bees, honeybee colonies also include about 500 eggs, along with 25-30 thousand immature bees in “various stages of development,” according to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation’s website.

Inside the beehive

In familiar honeycomb-shaped nests, with their signature hexagonal shaped cells, worker bees raise the next generation of worker bees, in smaller cells at the bottom of the honeycomb. The upper, larger comb cells store pollen and honey to nourish the colony.

Sometimes nests require the construction of queen cells devoted to raising queen bees.

Worker bees

Even though they will never mate, the workers, do however “possess organs necessary for carrying out the many duties essential to the wellbeing of the colony,” says the FAO website article. Worker bees come equipped with:

  • Longer tongues than queens and drones used to extract nectar from flowers
  • Large honey stomachs for transporting nectar from plants to the hive
  • Pollen baskets on legs to carry pollen back to the hive
  • Glands in their heads that produce royal jelly to feed the larvae
  • Thorax glands that secrete enzymes needed to ripen honey
  • Four sets of wax glands for comb construction and sealing off honey cells
  • Highly developed stingers that allow them to defend the colony efficiently

Additionally, sterile female adults perform the bulk of the work in a bee colon. As immature bees, worker bees take care of the queen and the brood, performing these tasks and many duties inside the nest as house bees, including:

  • Cleaning the cells for future eggs
  • Cleaning the hive
  • Making sure the hive stays cool and ventilated for optimal honey production
  • Building comb cells for honey, water and propolis storage
  • Assisting in honey conversion
  • Packing the combs with supplies, including water, nectar and honey
  • Guarding the hive against all threats from other bees and predators
  • Performing orientation flights as training to become foraging field bees
  • Executing intruders or colony members marked as potential threats to the harmony of the hive

Executions “may be performed to eliminate strange bees, to kill or drive away old and sick bees, to discourage other hive predators from entering the hive, to remove sick or unwanted unemerged brood, to eliminate useless drones, and to kill unwanted or strange queens.”

As the FAO’s info on bees and wasps shows homeowners, bees and wasps do not play. They’re all business. The survival of a bee colony relies on delicately balancing a multitude of factors. For the good of the colony, bees and wasp will kill members of their own colonies, including their queen in order to maintain optimal hive conditions. In light of this information and observations, homeowners should steer clear and avoid attempting to remedy the problem on their own. Instead, homeowners should contact their local Truly Nolen location to schedule a free bee or wasp inspection, when bees and wasps move too close to human and pet living areas.

Entertaining outdoors can be a whole lot of fun this summer, without the threat of bees ruining your outdoor events. Contact Truly Nolen for all of your pest control concerns!

Pests to look out for in the early spring

Warmer weather introduces new challenges in terms of pest control. As winter wears on and spring approaches, homeowners may want to check for signs of infestations.

Carpenter ants are a common issue in the spring. They are more than just a nuisance- they are known to cause structural damage in homes. Spotting one or two ants isn’t indicative of a nest, but homeowners would still benefit from checking for their presence. Ants tend to congregate near the spot that they entered the building. The SnoValley Star suggests looking around where wiring comes through the wall, around windows in the basement, and small, out of the way spaces. Carpenter ants are known to nest in wood, and can often be found in walls and ceilings.

Wasp nests can also pose a new threat in the springtime. The University of Michigan warns that yellow jackets tend to nest in attics, walls, and under eaves. The only way to verify an infestation is if the insects are spotted flying in and out of a crack in the walls. Paper wasps, one of the more common species, are typically found on horizontal surfaces such as beams, overhangs and supports in places such as attics, garages and tool sheds. Both types of wasps gravitate toward quiet, out​-of-the-way areas, but can be dangerous if they choose to stay in the walls of a home.

If a nest is spotted, but no wasps were seen in the area, it’s possible that the nest is dead or inactive. Wasps only use their nests for one season, so it may be that the nest is not in use. It’s better to have an exterminator come and look at the nest before attempting to remove it, however, to avoid the risk of getting stung.

One of the most common pests early on in spring is the termite. These pests are nearly impossible to spot, and the best method of prevention is to have a house inspection each spring. According to Business Wire, they can chew through most flooring materials in addition to wallpaper, making them able to invade a home with ease. Tips for termite control include keeping the areas around a house’s foundation dry, keeping holes sealed and stacking lumber away from structures.

Ask an exterminator agency to send a professional to evaluate the risk of pests for your home if you’re concerned about infestations as spring approaches.

Wasps on the rise

Have you noticed an increase in wasps around your home? Even though it's common to see more wasps during this time of the year, homeowners in some areas are noticing an enormous spike in the local wasp population. The pests threaten the safety of some residents who are sensitive to stinging insects.

While exterminators in some areas used to receive several calls about wasps over the course of an entire summer, they're now getting up to five calls per day. The enormous population is most likely due to the mild winters many parts of the country experienced, combined with the drought currently sweeping through parts of the nation. The large wasp populations are expected to remain a problem until severe storms or the first frost of the season.

Recognizing a problem
If you've noticed an increase in the number of wasps around your home, you may have a pest control issue on your hands, so it's a good idea to make sure there isn't a nest or infestation nearby. Even if you don't fear the pests, young children and pets may annoy the insects and cause them to sting. This can cause a dangerous reaction in those allergic to wasp venom.

There are several different types of wasps that can cause problems for homeowners. Yellowjackets tend to be extremely territorial and may attack when disturbed. They sometimes build their nests in the ground, so they may be hard to detect. Filling cavities and holes upon discovery can ensure the wasps do not have a place to nest in your yard.

Hornets are extremely defensive and unpredictable wasps, and their presence can be dangerous. If you've noticed a large ball attached to your tree or home, you may have a hornet infestation.

Even though paper wasps are not as aggressive as yellowjackets and hornets, their presence can still be unpleasant. These wasps usually build papery nests under ledges, near doors or around windows. Their close proximity to entry points means they can easily gain access to the home.

When to call a professional
It's important to keep an eye on your wasp problem to note if it's worsening. Because these pests tend to become more aggressive as the season continues, a growing population may mean an even bigger threat to kids and pets. Eliminating a nest yourself can be dangerous, and homeowners who want to take care of a wasp problem themselves should be aware of the potential risks. If you see an increase in size or territorial behavior, the safest and most efficient option may be to contact a pest control expert.

Giant wasps prominent in Texas

Giant wasps, also known as cicada killers, have been a problem in Texas since June, the Country World News reported.

The pests are two inches long and have orange wings, making them easy to spot. Residents often have no idea what they are, and report the insects as hornets, bees or scud missiles.

The wasp stings and paralyzes the cicadas before taking them back to their wasp burrow. There, the female wasp lays her eggs on the cicada and seals the nest. When the eggs hatch, the grubs can feed on the cicada.

Female cicada killers have stingers, but tend to rarely attack humans. Male cicada killers are territorial pests that can become aggressive, and although they lack stingers, they can prick humans with sharp spines on their abdomens.

The wasps can be a nuisance because of their tendency to dig tunnels in yards. They burrow into the ground where bare dirt patches are readily available, such as in gardens and around trees. Parents are also concerned about nests in yards where young children play.

Watering, fertilizing and putting mulch on bare dirt can assist residents in keeping the large pests out of their yards and gardens. Pest control measures and pesticides may be recommended by a professional if the cicada killer infestation is severe.