Stinging Pests — Bees, Wasps, Hornets & Yellow Jackets Extermination
Stinging Hymenoptera Wasps, Bees, Hornets
Envenomation or stings by members of the order Hymenoptera is a major cause of morbidity and mortality and accounts for more fatalities (90-100 deaths yearly) than any other venomous animal in the USA.
DO NOT APPROACH THE NEST. Just a few stings can be lethal for very sensitive individuals, and 500-1500 stings are usually fatal for those who are not sensitive.
The most dangerous yellow jacket is the GROUND NESTING Yellow Jacket, because it is difficult to see the nest before stepping on, or mowing over it. When yellow jackets or other hymenoptera are seen flying into and out of the ground the location should be ‘marked’ with a large heavy object, so that the location can be avoided by children or mowers.
Yellow Jacket Causes more deaths by far than spiders, snakes, and other venomous insects combined in Northern Illinois, and the USA. At only 1/2” its nature is “unpredictable”. Seen by the hundreds, in August – October, they commonly share the same lawns and parks with us and our children without incidence. When away from the nest they rarely sting unless trapped under clothing, or accidentally swallowed. However when the nest is threatened, yellow jackets near the nest communicate with those inside and they will strike in force. A typical nest will have 2000-4000, although some nests can be much larger. Sometimes the nest is seen in trees, but more commonly the nest is under the siding, walls, or eaves of houses.
Bald Faced Hornet
Bald Faced Hornet (3/4” Yellow Jacket) Treating bald faced hornet nests can be tricky and dangerous. If a nest of bald faced hornets is not threatening people, it should be left alone, to be killed naturally during the winter. If a nest must be controlled, homeowners should seriously consider hiring a pest control professional with expertise in killing and removing bald faced hornets and their nests.
Other Tips for living near Yellow Jackets
- Don’t swat at them. Yellow Jackets will attack and signal others to join the attack.
- Wear heavy clothing. Yellow jackets can sting through light weight fabrics.
- Don’t shine flashlights at the nest. They will attack the light and those people nearby.
- Open soda can tabs only slightly to prevent a life threatening mouth or throat sting.
Carpenter Bees can be a nuisance to homeowners, as they tunnel into wooden decks, eaves, porches, etc. If you see what appears to be a Bumblebee emerging from a perfectly round ½ inch hole it will be a Carpenter bee. This 1/2” entrance is only the beginning of the damage they do. Once inside, the queen makes a right angle turn and continues to tunnel up to 18”, to lay eggs. To be effective, each hole must be treated to eliminate both the queen and the young after they emerge. Treatment by homeowners is rarely effective against both, and significant cosmetic damage often continues to occur, because the problem has not been totally eliminated.
Paper Wasps Nearly every home develops these nests every year. While not as aggressive when away from the nest as Yellow Jackets, they will sting if their nests are threatened.
Treatment of roof eaves and the underside of deck railings in Spring is effective, and recommended, to prevent all of the above creatures.