When the weather warms up, bees wake from their winter slumber. Natural pest control companies find that the most troublesome types of stinging insects are yellow jackets, paper wasps and hornets. Honeybees, on the other hand, are docile and need protection. The best form of residential pest control for bees is prevention, which is simple with some common-sense techniques and landscape modifications.
Types of Stinging Insects
Yellow jacket: When you think a bee is menacing you at a picnic, it’s probably a yellow jacket. The Western yellow jacket is the most common in the U.S. This critter has a banded yellow-and-black abdomen, and you can’t see its legs when it flies. Yellow jackets are attracted to bright colors and perfume. They tend to build their nests underground or on tree branches, shrubs, porches and under eaves.
Paper wasp: Paper wasps build nests that look like sculptural works of art, in the shape of upside-down domes. These wasps are less aggressive than hornets or yellow jackets, but they’ll attack if they think their nest is threatened. The paper wasp has a mostly black body, with yellow bands on its abdomen. When it flies, the legs dangle. Residential pest control companies encourage homeowners to keep in mind that, for the most part, paper wasps are beneficial insects that pollinate plants and feed on nectar and garden pests such as flies, caterpillars and beetle larvae. Their sting, however, is painful and can cause a severe allergic reaction in some humans.
Bald-faced hornet: Bald-faced hornets are large (up to ¾ inch in length) with black-and-white coloring on the head and abdomen. They’re extremely aggressive and get upset with little or no provocation. This type of hornet will sting a victim repeatedly. The nests of bald-faced hornets are paper-like, oval, up to 14 inches in diameter and 24 inches in length. You can find them hanging from several types of vegetation.
Natural Pest Control Methods
Set traps. In the early spring, set out yellow jacket traps in areas of your home where these insects are likely to nest, such as in trees, under eaves or on your porch. If you capture a queen, you’ll prevent the establishment of a new nest. Later in the year, capture foraging workers by placing the same traps along your fence.
Remove food sources. Wasps, yellow jackets and hornets are attracted to meat, sweets and rotting food. Keep your garden tidy by picking up fallen vegetables, fruits and berries before they rot. Place hummingbird feeders in trees instead of next to your home. Always use lids on your outside trash cans.
Seal your home. To prevent flying insects from making a nest inside your home, seal up cracks and crevices around your home and porch.
Tidy your landscaping. Cutting back tree branches that overhang your home is a good residential pest control practice in general. When you do this and a bee species decides to form a nest in a tree, it will be further away from your home. In addition to cutting back shrubs and bushes, keep your landscape clean and free of debris so it’s less attractive to bees that form underground nests.
Place plants that repel wasps around your porch and home. These plants look beautiful, smell nice and include:
If you find a stinging insect nest on your property, don’t try to remove it on your own. While the sting of one insect may not be harmful if you’re not allergic, the stings of several can still be fatal. Instead, call a natural pest control company to handle the problem in a manner that’s safe for your family, pets and the environment.
This post was contributed by Western Exterminator, a leading integrated pest management (IPM) company in Western Washington and Oregon that serves both residential and commercial customers.