Outdoor Pests: Your Guide to Identifying and Dealing with Wasps, Hornets, and Bees

The natural world is filled with beauty – trees grow and flowers bloom, clouds scud across the horizon, and sunlight glitters on the surface of lakes and rivers. However, it’s also filled with creatures, many of which are not particularly friendly toward human beings.

Whether you’re mowing your lawn, tending your garden, planting in your flowerbeds, or just enjoying some leisure time on your patio, it pays to know a bit about some of the more common outdoor pests, including bees, wasps, and hornets.

Bees

Bees are among the most important insects in the world. They play a crucial role in pollinating fruits, vegetables, and other flowers. Of course, there are different types of bees, including honeybees, bumblebees, mason bees, squash bees, and more.

How to Identify

You can tell bees apart from other types of outdoor pests by looking closely at their bodies. Like wasp and hornet species, bees have three body segments – a head, thorax, and abdomen, but they are often “fuzzy” in appearance and lack the streamlined design common with wasps and hornets. Most male bees do not have stingers.

Most Active

Most bee species are more active during the spring and summer months and usually concentrate activity around their hives and around flowers.

How to Treat Stings

If you are stung by a bee, remove the stinger and wash the area with soap and water. Use a cold compress to reduce any swelling. Over-the-counter pain reliever can also help. Hydrocortisone cream can be used to help treat swelling and itching.

How to Avoid Them

Bees are usually easy to avoid. They are not aggressive unless you threaten their hive. And, considering their essential role in the ecosystem, it is often best to simply leave them alone.

How to Eradicate Them

Bees should only be eradicated if they are building a hive in or near your home, or if you are certain they are Africanized honeybees. Carpenter bees should be eradicated, as well, as they can eventually cause structural damage to wood construction, such as decks, exposed house framing, and more. In all situations, it’s best to let a professional deal with hives. An application of Delta Dust can also help prevent bees from colonizing your home.

Wasps

Wasps are much more dangerous than bees and nests can be serious threats to you, your family, your pets, and even livestock.

How to Identify

Wasps have a very streamlined, aggressive appearance. Some have yellow and black bands on their abdomens, but others are red, brownish or black. The most common type of wasp most homeowners will encounter is the paper wasp. Yellowjackets and mud daubers (dirt daubers) are also species of wasp.

Most Active

Like bees, wasps are more active during the warmer months of the year, and may swarm during the heat of summer.

How to Treat Stings

With wasps, there is no stinger to remove. Wash the area with cold water and soap and attempt to remove as much venom as possible. Ice the sting and keep it clean and dry. Over-the-counter pain reliever can help with pain and swelling.

How to Avoid Them

Wasps can be difficult to avoid, particularly during the summer. The best option is to prevent them from building nests by applying an insecticide, such as Delta Dust. They are very fond of cracks and crevices, but will also built nests under eaves, under porches, and in other areas.

How to Eradicate Them

Eradicating wasps can be very challenging, particularly if the nest is sizeable. The safest option is to call an exterminator. However, many wasp and hornet sprays can also work, allowing you to kill an entire nest from a safe distance.

Hornets

Hornets are the oversized bombers of the flying insect world and can be terrifying when encountered in the yard.

How to Identify

There are two species of hornet you are likely to encounter. The first is the bald-faced hornet, which is similar in appearance to a yellowjacket, but with gray coloring and larger. The second is the European hornet, which can grow up to 1.5 inches in length and is reddish-brown in color.

Most Active

Hornets are most active during the heat of summer but can overwinter around residential homes, as well.

How to Treat Stings

Hornet stings are more painful than bee or wasp stings, but treating them is similar. Wash and clean the sting site. Keep it dry. Use over-the-counter pain medication to handle swelling and discomfort.

How to Avoid Them

If you notice a hornet or two flying around near your eaves or soffits, then chances are good that you have a nest. You should also be vigilant for them near rotten logs and in trees where they often build nests. Avoid nests as hornets become very aggressive and can spray venom in the eyes of attackers, not just inject it with a sting.

How to Eradicate Them

Hornet removal is best left to the professionals due to their sheer aggressiveness and their potential to swarm if the nest is disturbed. In most cases, chemical removal will be necessary, but small nests may be removed without chemicals in certain instances.

Health Concerns with Flying Insect Stings

For most people, being stung by a bee, wasp, or hornet is simply a painful experience that can be treated with relative ease. However, some people are highly allergic to flying insect stings. In this case, a sting can cause anaphylaxis, which must be treated immediately and can be lethal. Similar symptoms can be caused by multiple stings at the same time, such as if you are swarmed by wasps while trying to remove a nest. Note that Africanized honeybees can also be lethal. If you suspect these bees are present, immediately call a professional pest control company.

Prevention

With bee, wasp, and hornet infestations, the best course of action is prevention. Regularly inspect attics, porches, thick bushes and shrubs near your home, and inside wall voids where possible for signs of infestation.

Source:

https://www.pestworld.org/news-hub/pest-articles/stinging-insects-101/
https://www.domyown.com/wasp-identification-guide-a-503.html
https://www.orkin.com/stinging-pests/hornets