Bees, Wasps and Hornets
St. Catharines Pest Control and Wildlife Services is a full service pest control company. We are experts in all types of in bee, wasp and hornet control. All pest control begins with accurate identification. For quick identification call St. Catherines pest control services directly and our knowledgable operators can make a specific ID right over the phone. Bees and wasps are members of the Hymenoptera order of insects. Some species may become a nuisance, especially in the warmer months. Our treatment will vary depending on the location of the nest and the species. Within 24 hours, they will be completely exterminated.
St. Catharines Pest Control Services is a division of Aanteater Pest Control and Wildlife Services and has been providing the best pest control solutions for the past 28 years. Call us today at 1-888-390-PEST (7378) for a free quote or read the entire article for more information.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How do I know if I have a bee, wasp or hornet control problem and how can it be treated?
Frequently Asked Questions
The presence of a nest on your property is a definitive sign of a bee, wasp or hornet control problem. There is no easy formula to finding the nest. It may be in a hole in the ground or it could be a large paper ball hanging in the branches of a shrub or tree. A nest may be attached to the side of a building or you may see wasps coming and going from a crack in a wall. Some bees gnaw holes in wood and live inside. Its common for nests to be found inside the home, so be sure to check the exterior of your home for any exposed cracks and crevices.
How can I tell the difference between a bee and a wasp?
It's simpler than you may think. Bees have hairy bodies whereas wasps appear to have much smoother bodies. This is because bees have feather-like individual body hairs (setae), which branches the hair. Wasps' body hairs are not branched.
Further, bees feed on pollen, nectar and sometimes honey, whereas wasps feed on insects or spiders that are rich in protein. Some species of wasps tend to be more aggressive. This can be particularly bothersome if you're at an outdoor event, as they tend to forage around human food and soft drinks.
Different kinds of bees that can be found in southern Ontario
There are many different species of bees that can be found across southern Ontario including: solitary bees, carpenter bees, social bees, bumble bees and honey bees, each with their own unique characteristics.
Aptly named, the solitary bee does not live in a colony as most bees do. You can usually spot these bees in gardens, and depending on the weather, as early as March. They tend to make their nests in the ground. Although similar in appearance to the honey bee, the solitary bee can be identified by the bright orange pollen brushes under its abdomen. They are generally not aggressive.
The carpenter bee is a type of solitary bee and can most often be found in exposed drywood of buildings, fence posts, decks, telephone poles, windowsills, eavestroughs, railings, wood siding and even in and around outdoor furniture. They like to burrow themselves in bare wood, but sometimes attck painted or stained wood as well and can create large tunnels (up to 30 cm long and 13 mm in diameter), which can cause serious damage to the wood if left untreated. Although the carpenter bee is solitary, often times many will burrow into the same piece of wood, thus causing an infestation.
The carpenter bee can be identified through its blue-black, green or purple metallic gloss and its shiny and almost hairless abdomen. Male carpenter bees act aggressive but cannot sting, and are harmless. Female carpenter bees can sting, however; they rarely do.
Contrary to the solitary bee, the social species of bee are eusocial, meaning they live in complex societies that include different castes. Each bee within the society has its own unique role and purpose.
The bumble bee tends to nest in the ground, often in thick clusters of grass, deserted rodent burrows, in piles of compost, or even underneath patio stones. Sometimes they inhabit abandoned bird nests or physical cavities associated with outside walls, patio roofing or decks.
The bumble bee is a relatively large, fuzzy bee. Their abdomens are covered in dense branched hairs, which give them their hairy appearance. They are typically black in colour with one or more bands of yellow or orange setae.
In southern Ontario, bumble bee colonies tend to be small, and contain anywhere from a dozen to a few hundred workers. The workers forage for food, while the queen defends the colony. If a nest is disturbed it can cause the bees inside to become aggressive and pursue invaders for a significant distance away from the nest. For this reason, they can be considered a threat to humans, especially those with bee allergies. It is important to deal with an infestation before it gets worse.
The honey bee is another type of social bee that can be found across southern Ontario. This species of bee tends to live in large colonies ranging from 20,000 to 80,000 worker bees. These colonies are quite persistent and can survive for numerous years. The colony consists of the queen, worker and drone bees, in which the majority is composed of worker bees. The queens rule the hive. The drone bees (males) only purpose is to mate with virgin queen bees. The drone bees die soon after mating. The drone bees are relatively large in size, but they do not have a stinger, which makes them harmless to humans. Worker bees can sting humans, however this rarely occurs.
Different kinds of wasps that can be found in southern Ontario
There are many different species of wasps that can be found across southern Ontario including: solitary wasps, mud dauber wasps, social wasps, European hornets, bald face hornets, yellow jackets, paper wasps and potter wasps.
Solitary wasps typically nest in the ground or in mud nests. These wasps do not have colonies and usually only have a single nest, or small group of nest. There is no real social structure for this type of wasp.
Mud dauber wasps
The mud dauber wasp is a kind of solitary wasp that can be found in southern Ontario. This wasp will usually build its nest from mud, which is often attached to the ceilings or walls of buildings. The mud dauber wasp is typically non-aggressive toward humans, unless threatened. They are typically shiny black or metallic blue-black in colour, and have a relatively slim abdomen. They range in size from medium to large.
The solitary wasp queen uses its stinger to paralyze its prey (usually spiders), to feed its young.
Just like the social bee, the social wasp lives in complex social colonies, which may consist of a thousand or more individuals.
European Hornet, Bald Face Hornets & Yellow Jackets
This wasp is perhaps the most bothersome and may be aggressive if the nest appears threatened. They tend to infest structures and can be found in attics and other structural voids and cavities. They scavenge in trash bins and are drawn to food and drink that is enjoyed outdoors. They will sting repeatedly if their nest is threatened.
Queens will spend their winters in protected areas such as under bark or stones, in shutters or shingles and also in abandoned rodent nests. Queens that mate in fall or early winter are the only members of the colony that will survive. In the spring time the queen will surface in order to establish a colony and lay eggs.
The queen builds the nest and forages for food on her own until the first offspring of workers mature, after which the workers will take over her duties, less that of laying eggs.
By the end of summer the colony is well established with multiple combs, which may contain hundreds of cells and over a thousand workers. The colony will start producing males, which begins the mating cycle. After the males mate, they quickly die, while the new queens will seek refuge for the coming colder months. Only those queens mated in fall or early winter will survive. The original queen (along with the worker wasps) do not survive through the winter months.
Despite its name the Bald-faced hornet is actually a large wasp. Their large round paper nests are generally found hanging in a tree or buried in a shrub. Sometimes the nest may be attached to the side of a house. Bald-faced hornets are more aggressive than yellowjackets and their large size gives them a nastier sting as well.
A hornet simply refers to a wasp that is large in size and demonstrates aggressive behaviour and builds it nest above ground. Hornets are also notorious for their potent stings and as a result, are considered nuisances. This species of hornet is often a brownish colour will dull orange stripes, and can measure up to 1 1/2 inches long. A hornet nest is typically comprised of paper material and wood pulp. European hornets typically build their nests in hollow trees, but have also been known to build them in attics as well as wall cavities. At night, adult European hornets are drawn to the lights, which can be a source of concern for homeowners. European Hornets are rare in southern Ontario. They fly very fast and are very aggressive. Homeowners should not attempt to control this insect as attacks may involve 20 or more stings.
Adult hornets and yellow jackets often feed on insects but also like sweet liquids such as fruit juices and honeydew. The larvae are fed small fragments of soft-bodied insects until they mature.
The paper wasp usually has a smaller nest (in comparison to other species of wasps), composed of a single comb and no more than 1,000 cells. The nest is made up of a paper Mache type material, and can often be found in attic rafters, under decks, behind shutters, under the eaves and entryways of homes and even in hollow components of playground equipment.
The life cycle of the paper wasp is similar to that of hornets and yellow jackets. The colony is founded in early spring when the queens emerge from hibernation. One female lays most of the eggs, forages for food, constructs the nest and more or less, dominates the colony. After the colony matures, mating begins. Once the females are mated, they will seek refuge in places such as woodpiles and voids in building structures for the coming winter months.
In late summer or fall the workers, males and founding queen all die.
If you find a hornet nest in your home it is important to deal with the problem immediately as it can pose a real threat to you and your family.
Do all bees and wasps sting? Do they die if they sting?
While most bees and wasps do have the ability to sting, most seldom do, unless threatened. There are some species that are much more aggressive than others. For instance, bumble bees have the ability to sting, but are not usually aggressive whereas hornets and yellow jackets are very aggressive and will sting. Paper wasps can also be aggressive on occasion.
There are many cases of people being stung each year, however; only a small number of those cases result in death, and this usually only happens to individuals with allergies or a hypersensitivity to bees and wasps.
Most bees and wasps can sting repeatedly, contrary to popular belief. The only exception is the honey bee. When a honey bee stings, its stinger, venom sac, muscle and other parts of its anatomy are torn from its body and it dies soon after stinging. The stinger must be immediately removed from the skin after a sting so as to prevent the discharge of venom and cause less pain.
Do all bees and wasps die off in the winter?
Most – but not all – bees and wasps do indeed die off in the wintertime. In most colonies only the newly mated females that find shelter over the winter survive. The only exception to this is the honey bee. Honey bees can survive for many years and do not immediately die off in the winter.
Due to the fact that most colonies die off in the winter, St. Catharines Pest Control and Wildlife Services stops treating for bees and wasps by mid-end September. If you do find you have a bee or wasp nest around your home during this time of year it is recommended you leave it, as they will die off on their own.
Spraying a nest during this time could force the bees or wasps to make their way into your home as they search for warmer areas to survive in. This can create a whole host of new problems.
What do I do if I think I have a bee or wasp infestation?
If you think you might have a bee, wasp or hornet infestation, please do not hesitate to call one of our qualified professionals at St. Catharines Pest Control and Wildlife Services at 1-888-390-PEST (7378).
One of our licensed and friendly exterminators will be happy to inspect your home and give you a free quote. The only way to get rid of the problem is to spray an insecticide directly into the nest itself, and this is best left to the professionals as it can prove to be quite the dangerous task.