Category Archives: Stinging Insects

Wasp VS Hornet…Plus a Bonus Predator

People easily confuse bees with yellow jackets and hornets with wasps, probably because in most cases we are trying our best to keep our distance. But, when dealing with a sting or a threatening nest around your home, identifying information can be pretty handy. We will do our best to help you figure out which stinging insect and nest is which.

First off, here’s some general stinging insect knowledge regarding bees and wasps.

Bees: Have two pairs of wings, relatively hairy, long antennae and are important pollinators.

Wasps: Have two pairs of wings, relatively hairless, long antennae, most have a thin “waist”, many have bright orange and yellow colors (stripes on legs, abdomen or thorax) Wasps include both yellow jackets and hornets.

Most species of wasps are predators.

Paper wasp front view no textPaper wasps have smooth bodies, usually dark brown with yellow markings and a slender waist. When paper wasps are flying they can be recognized by two rear legs “hanging down”. Paper wasp nests are made of paper-like combs and found hanging under eaves, door frames, soffits, deck rails, roofs, porches, trees, shrubs.

yellow jacket

Yellow jackets are a type of predatory wasp. Most yellow jackets are black and yellow, but some are black and white, like the bald-faced hornet. Yellow jackets tend to fly in a side to side motion and are very aggressive. Since they have stingers with barb, their sting is often very painful. Yellow jacket nests are made of paper with a single hole in the bottom, they nest in wall voids, rodent burrows, eaves, and other locations that are easily hidden from predators.

5267976 - a bald-faced hornet at rest clearly showing large mandiblesHornet is a loosely used word to typically identify the bald-faced hornet, which is the largest of the wasps. Bald-faced hornets are yellow and black or white and black, look similar to the yellow jacket, but longer and thinner. Hornets are aggressive when defending their nest and sting repeatedly. They build their nests entirely on the exterior and out in the open and the nests are football-shaped and out of reach in high eaves, under decks and in trees and shrubs.

A Bonus Predator-The Cicada Killer Wasp

45488506 - cicada killer dragging a paralyzed cicada.

Recently, a predator has made its presence known in our area. The cicada killer wasp has been found nesting in at least one of our southern-most counties. These solitary wasps choose sites with specific characteristics to nest, they like well-drained, light-textured soils in full sunlight that are near trees harboring cicadas. At 1-2 inches long, their size tends to be a bit intimidating. Luckily, the cicada killer wasp is more of a docile insect, unless you have the unfortunate luck of being a cicada. The female wasp is known for snatching a cicada right in mid-air, then using the stinger it injects venom that will paralyze its victim so that the victim cicada can be taken back to the nest to deposit an egg into. The egg will then hatch and feed on the cicada before maturing to adulthood.

Although docile, stings to humans and pets can occur if you happen to accidentally stumble upon one.

At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to safely deal with stinging insects and their nests. If you’re hearing buzzing, or see a nest, call Safeway Pest Management at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, at our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412  or toll free at 800-956-0800

You can also visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

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Keeping Your Summer Cookout Pest-Free

DSC_2474gSummer gatherings are one of the highlights of the warm months, but they are best done without the addition of creepy, crawly uninvited guests.  Insects such as mosquitoes can cause annoying bites and can potentially transmit dangerous diseases and stinging insects can pose a threat to guests with allergies.

Following the tips below will help keep your outdoor cookout pest-free and allow you to sit back and enjoy your gathering time.

Pre-Cookout Yard Inspection and Clean-Up

Inspect your yard for any potential insect problems such as ant hills or stinging insect nests. Call a professional pest management company if needed.

Mow the grass the day before a cookout can help reduce harborage for insects hiding in taller grass, such as ticks.

Drain any standing water sources to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.

Pick up leaves, sticks and any fallen fruit that may attract insects from your yard and out of your gutters.

Make sure trash is properly stored in a covered container.

During the Cookout

Have on hand an EPA approved repellent with DEET to ward off mosquitoes.

Remind guests (even make a sign) to close doors tightly when entering and exiting your home to prevent mosquitoes from coming inside.

If you’re attending a cookout, have a change of clothes along. If the weather allows for it, long sleeves and long pants will protect from bites from mosquitoes.

Avoid wearing perfumes or fragrances that will attract insects.

Have plastic cups available for use. Beverage cans and bottles are attractants for stinging insects.

Keep food tightly sealed and covered and/or keep food in sealed coolers.

Keep food prep areas clean and immediately wipe up any spills. Ants and flies are especially attracted to leftover food remnants.

Keep trash in covered receptacles. Keep trashcans away from main gathering areas.

Use fans to create a breeze that will keep insects away.

 

If you’re in need of professional assistance with an insect issue, give us a call at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800.  

Visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

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Filed under Ants, Flies, Fruit Fly, Mosquito, Pest Prevention, Stinging Insects, Ticks, Uncategorized

Carpenter Bees-Bee Informed

7293137 - carpenter bee on a butterfly bush flowerCarpenter bees (sometimes known as wood bees) are typically mistakenly identified as bumble bees due to their size and color. Unlike the fuzzy bumble bee, the Carpenter bee has a hairless, shiny and black abdomen and is about an inch in length. Carpenter bees do not eat wood, but burrow into wood and nest within the wood. Many times you will see these bees around your eaves and building nests within wood structures on your property . Carpenter bees prefer nesting within unfinished wood.

This year especially, we have had a rise in complaints regarding Carpenter bees infesting cedar wood areas.  

A few favorite nesting sites for the Carpenter bee are decks, under eaves and other wood areas such as sheds and wood piles. The female bee is quite the handy lady as she will use her strong jaws to drill holes into wood surfaces for the entrance to the nest and then she will make a sharp 90 degree turn and tunnel into the wood. These tunnels can run anywhere from 1 foot to 4 feet long and end with a carved out nesting area.

Typically, Carpenter bees are not aggressive. Only the females are equipped with stingers, and although they can sting multiple times without dying, especially if they feel their nest is being threatened, they are typically quite docile. The males may sometimes seem aggressive and you might see them flying around your head, but this is more just for show, a scare tactic really.

Interesting Fact: You can actually hear the sound of drilling within the wood as the female bees bore into the wood and carve out the tunnels and nests. You may also see sawdust around the edges of an entrance hole.

Carpenter Bee Reduction Tips: Preventive treatments such as exterior finishes with oil or polyurethane bases will help reduce nesting sites before they are found. Future generations of carpenter bees can return to try to use the holes and tunnels year after year once they have been established.

At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to safely deal with stinging insects and their nests. If you’re hearing buzzing, or see a nest, call Safeway Pest Management at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800  Visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

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Preventing Wasps from Building Nests in Your Backyard

22148529 - wasps on combIt’s true that some types of stinging insects are important pollinators and beneficial insects, but they are also a serious health threat to humans. Every year 2 million Americans are at risk for stings that will lead to an allergic reaction and 100 of those stings will most likely lead to death. The source of many of these stings will from social wasps such as paper wasps, bald-faced hornets, and yellow jackets, which can sting multiple times.

Preventing stinging insects from building nests on your home or in your backyard is a solid first step in protecting your family from possible attacks.

To limit suitable nesting sites:

  • Repair holes in walls, including sheds and other outer buildings
  • Caulk cracks in soffits and eaves
  • Screen vents and louvers
  • Limit attractants: Cover trash receptacles to prevent wasps from foraging for food

Some tips when dealing with a wasp threat:

  • Try to stay calm, jerky reactions and attempts to swat a stinging insect will provoke it to sting. Instead of swatting, try gently blowing the insect away.
  • A smashed wasp gives off a pheromone that will attract other wasps to attack. Try to wait patiently for a wasp to leave your vicinity.
  • If stung, gently and safely remove the stinger and clean the area with soap and water. Applying ice to the area and Benadryl and/or a hydrocortisone ointment can help dull the reaction some.
  • Anyone can have an allergic reaction to wasp venom; the chances of a reaction go up with the number of stings acquired. Let someone know you have been stung. Symptoms usually appear after a few minutes, but can be delayed up to 24 hours.
  • Seek medical attention (or dial 911) if you have any of the following occur: tongue and throat swelling, hives, wheezing, dizziness, shortness of breath, blue lips, or a drop in blood pressure.
  • If you find nests around your home, contact a licensed pest professional to deal with the nest(s) safely.

At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to safely deal with stinging insects and their nests. If you’re hearing buzzing, or see a nest, call Safeway Pest Management at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444, our Oshkosh office at 920-385-0412 or toll free at 800-956-0800  Visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

Ask us about our Preventative Wasp Treatment with an extended warranty until the end of October at no additional cost!

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Pest-Free Spring To-Do List

Spring 1As the warmer weather moves in, we all spring into action, including those pesky, unwanted intruders!

If you’re looking for a way to prevent some of those intruders from entering your home, try hitting some or even ALL of our points on our Spring Ahead Cleaning Checklist below and have a happy and hopefully pest-free spring season!

 

Spring Ahead Cleaning Checklist

  • Check your roof (or hire a professional) for any leaks
  • Sweep up cobwebs and clean out nooks and crannies where spiders and other insects may dwell
  • Repair any screen damage before opening those windows and screen doors to let in that spring air (You probably don’t want to let insects in as well!)
  • Check for gaps around windows and doors
  • Clear and replace old mulch
  • Check for evidence of moisture or condensation around plumbing or windows
  • Make sure garbage containers are properly sealed and stored
  • Clear old shrubbery away from the home
  • Clean out gutters
  • Clean out pantries and around appliances in the kitchen to pick up any food debris
  • Check to make sure pet food is stored in sealed containers
  • Clean out any unneeded clutter in storage areas where pests can hide
  • Check your yard and eliminate sources of standing water
  • Keep moisture down by making use of a dehumidifier in your basement
  • Call your preferred pest management company to inspect for any potential problems

 

Safeway Pest Management can inspect and locate areas that could potentially cause a pest problem. We offer one time service options, but also offer monthly, bi-monthly and seasonal options for regular maintenance of your home and business. Give us a call at 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800 or visit our website at www.safewaypest.net to get a free quote!

 

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Filed under Ants, Asian Ladybeetles, Box Elder Bugs, Flies, Fruit Fly, Mosquito, Pantry Pests, Pest Prevention, Rodents, Spiders, Stinging Insects, Uncategorized

Which Bee Do You See?

Is it a bee? Is it a wasp? It can be super confusing to identify a specific type of stinging insect, so let’s take a quick tour of some types of stinging insects in Wisconsin and their distinguishing traits.

First off, here’s some general stinging insect knowledge regarding bees and wasps.

Bees: Have two pairs of wings, relatively hairy, long antennae

Wasps: Have two pairs of wings, relatively hairless, long antennae, most have a thin “waist”, many have bright orange and yellow colors (stripes on legs, abdomen or thorax)

Honey Bee:  

 

 

  • Nest: Human built or nests built within walls
  • Identifying Markers: Yellow-Orange in color (color can be faint in some bees), ½” in size
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Hairy eyes, can only sting once and then die

Bumble Bee: 

9251318 - bumblebee

Image by: dionisvera/123RF.com

  • Nest: Under stoops, under concrete by patios and decks, lower to the ground nesting areas
  • Identifying Markers: Very hairy bodies, legs and abdomen. Larger in size (1-1 ½”) , Yellow, orange or white hairs on both abdomen and thorax
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Defend their nest aggressively and can sting repeatedly

Carpenter Bee:  

7293137 - carpenter bee on a butterfly bush flower

Image by: steve_byland/123RF.com

  • Nest: Wood areas, under eaves, decks
  • Identifying Markers: Larger in size (1-1 ½”), Resemble the bumble bee, but have less color and upper abdomen is bare and shiny back
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Males (all black) do not sting, only females sting (tan in color), make burrows in wood for egg-laying

Yellow Jacket: 

yellow jacket

Image by:www.123rf.com/profile_epantha’

 

  • Nest: Upside down tear-drop shaped nest made of paper with a single hole in the bottom, nest in wall voids, rodent burrows, eaves, and other locations that are easily hidden from predators
  • Identifying Markers: A brighter yellow in color, ½” in size
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Fly a side to side flight pattern before landing, they are scavengers and tend to invade BBQs and picnics. Sting repeatedly

  

Paper Wasp: 

Paper wasp front view no text

Image by: NPMA

  • Nest: nests are made of paper-like combs and found hanging under eaves, door frames, soffits, deck rails, roofs, porches, trees, shrubs
  • Identifying Markers: Paper wasps have smooth bodies, usually dark brown with yellow markings. Their body can be up to three-fourths of an inch long with slender waist. When flying, can be recognized by two rear legs “hanging down”.
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Very protective of their nest, can sting repeatedly

Bald-faced Hornet: 

BaldFacedHornt-1f

Image by: NPMA

  • Nest: Build their nests entirely on the exterior and out in the open; they build football-shaped nests out of reach in high eaves, under decks and in trees and shrubs
  • Identifying Markers: Yellow and black (or sometimes white and black), look similar to the yellow jacket, but longer and thinner, Up to 2’ in size
  • Other Distinguishing Traits: Extremely aggressive, can sting repeatedly

At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to safely deal with stinging insects and their nests. If you’re hearing buzzing, or see a nest, call Safeway Pest Management at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444 or toll free at 800-956-0800

Visit us on the web at http://www.safewaypest.net

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Summertime Pest Menaces

Although there are many bothersome pests making their existence known as summer settles in Wisconsin, there are a few topping the summertime charts.

Mosquitoes

It has been quite moist in Wisconsin, to put it mildly. All of this rain has to land somewhere, and much of it can collect in areas of our yards that might not come to mind. Be certain to check the areas listed below and try to make your yard a mosquito no-breed-zone.

Water Holding Containers:  Put away items such as empty flower pots, water jugs, yard toys, old tires

Small Boats/Canoes and Wheelbarrows-Store these upside down

Roof Gutters: Clean clogged gutters

Water Fountains and Bird Baths– Change the water frequently (at least once or twice a week)

Backyard Ponds-Consider agitating the water by adding a waterfall or fountain

Other Mosquito Reducing Tips:

Keep shrubs and grass in your yard well trimmed, screen all windows and doors/patch any holes in any screens, and properly maintain swimming pools.

Spiders

With over 500 species of spiders in Wisconsin, it’s not surprising that some species, both large and small, decide to build their webs on our homes and businesses.

The largest species are members of the family Lycosidae, such as wolf spiders, funnel web spiders and nursery web spiders.

Most spiders are beneficial in managing pests due to their diet of insects. Speaking of taking bites, although poisonous spiders exist, most spiders are harmless.

Spider Reducing Tips: Keep garages, attics and basements clean and clutter free, caulk around window and doors to prevent spiders from entering, keep wood and rock piles away from your home and remove webbing in your home by using a broom or vacuum.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bees (sometimes known as wood bees) are typically mistakenly identified as bumble bees due to their size and color. Unlike the fuzzy bumble bee, the carpenter bee has a hairless, shiny and black abdomen. Carpenter bees do not eat wood, but burrow into wood and nest within the wood. Unfortunately, nesting sites can be dangerous around your home. Many times you will see these bees around your eaves and building nests within wood structures on your property such as sheds, decks and in wood piles.

These bees typically are not aggressive, but can sting multiple times without dying if they feel their nest is being threatened.

Carpenter Bee Reduction Tips: Preventive treatments such as painting wood with thick coats of oil based or latex paints will help reduce nesting sites.

At Safeway Pest Management, our technicians are licensed and trained to safely deal with stinging insects and their nests. If you’re hearing buzzing, have a spider or mosquito problem, call Safeway Pest Management at our Muskego office at 262-679-4422, our Oconomowoc office at 262-354-3444 or toll free at 800-956-0800

You can also visit our website at www.safewaypest.net

Ask us about our Mosquito Special! An entire season of protection for only $295!

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Filed under Mosquito, Pest Prevention, Spiders, Stinging Insects, Uncategorized, Wood Destroying Insects