Sunday, 12 July 2015

Bee and Wasp Season has arrived!

Photo credit listed at the bottom of the article
As the days have become longer and warmer, bees and wasps have been increasing in activity and numbers. Knowing the differences between bees and wasps will help you to understand how to deal with them, how to remain safe, and when to contact a professional licensed pest control professional.
Bees are generally less aggressive than wasps, and are larger in width, and hairy. Wasps are more aggressive, narrow and hairs are less visible. Each species is beneficial in nature, providing valuable pollination services and the control of countless other insect species through predation or parasitation.  Control may be necessary when nests are constructed in or on structures or in recreational areas. 

What follows is a description of commonly found wasps and bees in the London, St Thomas, Grand Bend and South-Western Ontario areas.

1. Yellow Jackets and Bald-faced Hornets

 Yellow Jackets- are Yellow are Black colour and are 10-16mm in length, 1000-4000 individuals per colony.
 Bald Faced Hornets are white black in colour and are 15-20 mm in length, with 100-400 individuals per colony.

Nests can be located in the ground, within wall voids of structures, in shrubs, on trees, under decks or attached to homes etc. Nests may or may not be visible, are constructed of paper-like material, and are usually grey in colour. When visible, they may be football shape like in appearance.

These social insects will readily defend their nests when disturbed. Each individual is capable of stinging multiple times. Reactions to stings will vary depending on the number of stings and the individual’s body’s response. In some instances, medical attention may be required.  If prescribed an Epi-pen it should be with you at all times, it cannot help you if it’s in your home or car.

Early identification of nests within high risk areas should be completed by visual inspection. Control when warranted should be completed by an appropriately labelled dust, liquid or aerosol product.

2. Paper wasps

These wasps are brownish in colour with yellow markings. Size varies depending on the species. These wasps have long legs.

Nests range in size from that of a toonie to an open hand. Nests cells are visible and typically contain 150-250 cells. Nests may be constructed in voids of homes, in attics, at roof points, within exterior lights, and on the underside of branches. 

These insects are less aggressive than other wasps but will still defend their nests when threatened. Paper wasps are capable of stinging multiple times.

Early identification of nests within high risk areas should be completed by visual inspection. Control when warranted should be completed by an appropriately labelled dust, liquid or aerosol product.

3. Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are 12-25mm in length and are black and yellow in colour. These bees are similar in colour to Bumble bees but have a bare, shiny abdomen.
As their name suggests these insects bore into wood making a round hole 12mm in width and approximately 10-15 cm in length.

These bees are not social; they do not live in nests, or colonies. However many individual can often be found in the same area. Male Carpenter bees are territorial, often becoming aggressive towards other insects, birds and people. Male bees do not possess a stinger so they cannot sting. Females do posses a potent stinger but rarely use it.

Nest galleries are constructed in logs and stumps, unpainted boards and weathered wood. To reduce risk of activity, old logs and stumps should be removed and unpainted or weathered boards should be repainted. If galleries and bees are present treatment will be required to provide control.

3. Bumble Bees

Bumble bees are large and fuzzy sometimes containing orange markings.  They are 6-25mm in length. 

Theses bees are social; nests typically contain 50-400 individuals. Nests are usually constructed underground, often in an old mouse burrow. When constructed in a structure, it’s usually low to the ground in a void or cavity. Bumble bees are not aggressive but will defend the nest when threatened. These bees have unbarbed stingers and are capable of stinging multiple times.

4. Honey bees

These highly beneficial insects are 11-15mm in length and are orange and black in colour. 
These bees are social in nature; colonies typically contain 20000-80000 individual bees. A single queen is present in each colony, laying 1500-2000 eggs per day during the warm weather months. These bees are not aggressive but will defend their colony if threatened. Each bee can sting once prior to dying. If stung, remove the stinger quickly with a nail, knife or credit card to minimize the amount of poison absorbed. Do not grasp the stinger with your fingers or additional poison will be released.
Honey bees construct colonies of wax in tree cavities, in wall voids, attic spaces, and hollow floor spaces and on structures or bushes.
Bee swarms are produced in some colonies during the months of May, June and July. These swarms may be seen on trees, cars, homes etc. These insects are not aggressive when swarming and should never be sprayed or killed. Please contact Sawyer Pest Management or a local bee keeper for pick up and hiving.
Nests already present within walls or voids require removal of not only the bees but also the , wax and honey stores. to gain access to the nest floor boards and or drywall may require removal. It is not recommended to kill Honey bees within walls and to leave the colony in the void area as this will increase the risk of new bee activity in future years, mouse activity,  and additional bee activity as well as honey seepage into the home. Hive removal may take 3hrs to 2 days.


If you are having problems with bees or wasps please contact Sawyer Pest Management Inc. for additional information and control options.
Sawyer Pest Management Inc. is your local pest control professional and is licensed by the Ontario ministry of the Environment and is insured to provide pest management services. Each service representative is a licensed structural exterminator, and is trained and competent in the services we provide.

Sawyer Pest Management is proud to provided service programs in the communities of London, Melbourne, Ingersoll, Aylmer, Port Stanley, Strathroy, St. Thomas, Parkhill, Grand Bend, Bayfield, Exeter, Lucan and St. Marys and in the surrounding communities.

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Photo credit: "Xylocopa virginica male face" by USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab from Beltsville, Maryland, USA - Xylocopa virginica, m, face, talbot, md_2015-05-17-16.49.24 ZS PMax. Licensed under CC0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Xylocopa_virginica_male_face.jpg#/media/File:Xylocopa_virginica_male_face.jpg