Tag Archives: honey bee

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: 


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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Filed under Stinging Insects, Uncategorized, Wood Destroying Insects

The Facts Regarding Honey Bees and Pesticides

Much controversy has erupted over the honey bee population and the stance on chemicals and pesticides and how they may be affecting the insect. We will cover the topic of chemicals and honey bees, but let’s first visit some facts about the buzzing bee.

Honey Bee and Colony Fact
Honey bees play a very important role in the pollination of our food. Although it is true that much of our food is wind pollinated, honey bees are responsible for much of the pollination of our fruit, vegetables and nuts. In fact, it is estimated that honey bees pollinate one out of three bites of food we ingest.
You may be surprised to learn this fact; honey bee colonies actually increased by 45% worldwide over the past 50 years. The past 5 years have also produced an increase in colonies due to awareness. Annual surveys conducted by the USDA have shown that honey bee colonies have been rising steadily over the past 10 years.
Researchers are looking into the overall health of honey bee colonies. Aspects such as parasites, diseases, and the surrounding environment, pesticides, weather and hive management are all being inspected and watched by researchers. There is still much learning, exploring and work to be done.
Much modern beekeeping is done for the benefit of crop pollinating. Although there are many hobby beekeepers, many beekeepers work on a commercial level. Hundreds and thousands of hives are transported to help pollinate crops in various areas.

Chemical Facts
Neonicotinoids are a relatively new class of insecticides that commonly affect the central nervous system of insects, resulting in paralysis and death. They include imidacloprid, acetamiprid, clothianidin, dinotefuran, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam.

Hundreds of studies have found that when used according to the directions and in typical field applications, neonics do not pose a significant hazard to bees, even though some neonics, like insecticides, are toxic to bees. This is due to lower doses used at normal field applications.

The Facts Regarding a Tiny Threat 
One fact that has been learned is the threat of the tiny parasite known as Varroa Mite, which has been named the “single most detrimental pest of honey bees,” according to the USDA. This parasite weakens colonies and helps transmit diseases that can wipe out entire colonies. Beekeepers are working on methods of eradicating the mite, which has been a challenge to achieve.

Future Facts
With steady awareness and groups such as beekeepers, farmers, universities, government, industry and consumers working on methods to improve the health of honey bees, the future for honey bee colonies are looking much better and brighter.

Visit us at http://www.safewaypest.net

References: The Facts about Honey Bees and Pesticides by Bayer Crop Science

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