pest control for wasps,yellow jackets and bees

Bee & Wasp Nest Removal – Seattle Pest Control

Wasps have a slender body with a narrow waist, slender, cylindrical legs, and appear smoothed-skinned and shiny. Yellowjackets, boldfaced hornets, and paper wasps are the most common types of wasps encountered by people.

Bees are robust-bodied and very hairy compared with wasps. Their hind legs are flattened for collecting and transporting pollen. Bees are important pollinators.

Control of Nests The first step in wasp or bee control is to correctly identify the insect and locate its nesting site. An experienced pest control service may provide wasp or bee control service or you can use the following information to attempt to control them yourself.

Wasps The best time of the year to control wasps is in June after the queen has established her colony and while the colony is still small. But because nests are small, they are also harder to find. The best time of the day to control wasp nests is at night, when they are less active.

Exposed wasp nests Wasp nests that are visible and near human activity can pose a potential problem. If there is a concern about stings, you should eradicate the nest.

Mechanical control without insecticides is possible for small, exposed nests. At night, cover the nest with a large, heavy, plastic bag and seal it shut. Cut the nest from the tree and freeze it.  Use caution: there is more risk involved in this procedure than in spraying the nest.

Ground wasp nests When yellowjackets are found nesting in the ground, first try pouring a soap and water solution into the entrance. Many types of soap will work, including dish and laundry soap. (Do this at night)

If that doesn’t work, apply an insecticide into the nest opening. Be sure you use a product that is registered for use in lawns or soil. After you are sure all the wasps have been exterminated, cover the nest entrance with soil.

Concealed wasp nests The most challenging nests to control are those that are concealed in voids behind walls or in attics. Often, the only evidence of the nest is wasps flying back and forth through a crack or hole in the home. It may be wise to hire someone experienced to exterminate a wasp nest. Contact a pest professional service listed in our directory.  Aerosol insecticides usually do not work very well on hidden nests.

Old wasp nests Old nests are not reused by wasps. Wasp nests found during winter or early spring are old nests from the previous summer. There are no live wasps in the nest; they have already left  or died inside it. The nest can be safely removed and disposed of if desired.

Honey bee nests Honey bees are normally housed in manufactured hives and managed by beekeepers. In some instances wild colonies of honey bees may nest in hollow trees or in wall voids. Honey bees may become a nuisance in the spring at bird feeders and swimming pools as they forage for water. They seldom, if ever, are a nuisance in summer or early fall.

Wild colonies can be treated with the same insecticides and methods as described for exposed or concealed wasp nests. Control of honey bee nests can be challenging. Consider hiring an experienced pest control service if a honey bee job appears too difficult.

Bumble bee nests When a bumble bee nest is a nuisance, treat it with the same insecticides and methods as described for ground-nesting or concealed wasp nests.

Ground-nesting bees There are other types of bees you may encounter that do not form colonies. Solitary andrenid bees are common ground-nesting bees. They are also important pollinators of native plants. They usually nest in sun-exposed, dry areas of yards. Although there is just one bee per nest, many of these bees typically nest close to each other. They are usually most conspicuous to the public during spring. Although many ground-nesting bees may be found flying around their nests in the spring, they are gentle and very rarely sting people. Sprinkling the area of their nests with water may be enough to encourage them to move as they avoid damp areas. The same insecticides that control ground-nesting yellowjackets and bumble bees are effective against andrenid bees.

baldfaced hornets image

Bald Faced Hornet Nest

Wild Bees  small- to medium-sized bees may be any of a wide range of colors: metallic red, black, blue, green, or copper. Usually no distinctive spots or bands are present. Length ranges from 8.5 to 17 mm. Biology Several wild bee species build nests in the soil.  They are most common, in soils with sparse to moderate plant growth, little organic matter, and good drainage. Essentially beneficial insects, wild bees feed on the nectar of many plants and gather pollen for the larvae to feed upon and are excellent pollinators of vegetable and fruit crops.

They prefer to nest in soils with a sparse vegetative cover, As the bees tunnel in the soil, the excavated dirt forms mounds 1.5 to 6.0 cm wide and 0.25 to 1.5 cm high. The bees are often exterminated out of fear of their stinging but Wild bees seldom sting unless stepped upon or squeezed.

Wild bees generally overwinter in their soil burrows as adults. They emerge by early April and begin digging new burrows. The burrow consists basically of a vertical shaft 8 to 15 cm deep. The number and size of side tunnels varies with the particular bee species. Unlike some bees, soil-nesting species are not social in that each female makes her own nest, provisions it with food, and lays eggs. There is no worker caste. The bees, however, are gregarious and often nest closely together. However, there is no “nest guarding” instinct.

Wild bees first begin to fly in early spring. Mating takes place soon afterwards and females begin storing pollen in burrows. Furnishing each cell of their burrow with a pollen ball 3 to 5 mm in diameter, females then deposit a single egg on each pollen ball. Eggs hatch in early May. Throughout the summer, the larvae feed and develop within the burrows. Pupation occurs in later summer, usually in August. With some species, adult bees develop sometime in the fall but remain in their burrows to overwinter. Other species overwinter as larvae. A single generation is completed each year.

Orchard Bees   Natures best pollinator

Wasps and Outdoor Activities During Late Summer and Fall During late summer and fall, yellowjackets become aggressive scavengers and frequently disrupt outside activities where food or drink is served. Control of scavenging wasps is difficult, as there are no insecticides that effectively repel or discourage them.

The best strategy is to minimize attracting them. Wait to serve food and drink until people are ready to eat. Promptly put away food when done and throw garbage into a container with a tightly fitting lid. Examine glasses, cans, and other containers before drinking from them to check for wasps that may have flown inside. If a wasp flies to your food, wait for it to fly away or gently brush it away.  If you crush them they will give off an alarm scent that will attract others wasps.

Many people make the mistake of placing wasp traps in areas of human activity.  This of course attracts more wasps.  Place the traps in a wide circle 40 or 50 feet away from the area you want to be wasp free.  Sweet smelling liquids are the best attractant. Placing traps early in the season will have more effect at reducing the population later in the summer. To make a cheap and effective wasp trap see this page.

Food Preferences Wasps are beneficial because they prey on many insects, including caterpillars, flies, crickets, and other pests. During late summer and fall, they are more interested in collecting sweets and other carbohydrates. Some wasps may become aggressive scavengers around human food and may be common around outdoor activities where food or drinks are served.

Bees feed only on nectar (carbohydrates) and pollen (protein) from flowers. Honey bees sometimes visit trash cans and soft-drink containers to feed on sugary foods.

Nesting Sites Yellowjackets, baldfaced hornets, and paper wasps make nests from a papery pulp comprised of chewed-up wood fibers mixed with saliva. Yellowjacket and baldfaced hornet nests consist of a series of rounded combs stacked in tiers. These combs are covered by an envelope consisting of several layers of pulp.

Yellowjackets commonly build nests below ground in old rodent burrows or other cavities. They can also build nests in trees, shrubs, under eaves, and inside attics or wall voids . Baldfaced hornets commonly build nests in the open in trees as well as under eaves and along the sides of buildings.

Honey bees make a series of vertical honey combs made of wax. Their colonies are mostly in manufactured hives but they do occasionally nest in cavities in large trees, voids in building walls, or other protected areas.

Bumble bees use old mice burrows, cavities in buildings, and other locations to make their nests. Like honey bees, bumble bees make cells of wax.

Life Cycle of Wasps and Bees Wasps and bumble bees have annual colonies that last for only one year. The colony dies in the fall with only the newly produced queens surviving the winter. The new queens leave their nests during late summer and mate with males. The queens then seek out overwintering sites, such as under loose bark, in rotted logs, under siding or tile, and in other small crevices and spaces, where they become dormant. These queens become active the following spring when temperatures warm. They search for favorable nesting sites to construct new nests. They do not reuse old nests.

Honey bees are perennial insects with colonies that survive more than one year. Honey bees form a cluster when hive temperatures approach 57° F. As the temperature drops, the cluster of bees becomes more compact. Bees inside this mass consume honey and generate heat so that those in the cluster do not freeze. As long as honey is available in the cluster, a strong colony can withstand temperatures down to -30° F. or lower for extended periods.