Tag Archives: sting

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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Filed under Stinging Insects, Uncategorized, Wood Destroying Insects

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

Wasps-The Flying Villains

Paper wasp front view

Image by: NPMA

They instill panic and fear into even the toughest of victims, they build nests in the most unwanted locations, they are flying villains armed with a stinger; they are wasps.

Wasps are the more slender, less-hairy stinging insects.

There are solitary wasps and social wasps. Solitary wasps such as the great black wasp and cicada killer wasp may be found digging tunnels in lawns. Both sting, but should not attack humans as long as they are not bothered.

Social wasps belong to a group that will build and defend their colony and queen. Social wasps include paper wasps, the bald-faced hornet and the yellow jacket. These are the more-aggressive wasps and can sting multiple times, and will do so if they feel their nest is threatened. Both hornets and wasps do not leave a stinger in the victim.

So which flying villain is building nests on your home?

European paper wasps and Polistes wasps build small nests and prefer to build in attics, but will build just about anywhere including eave peaks, railings and swing sets.

Bald-faced hornets build their nests entirely on the exterior; they build football-shaped nests out of reach in high eaves, under decks and in trees and shrubs.  Bald-faced hornets are actually beneficial hornets if left alone as they kill and eat wasps and yellow jackets.

Yellow jackets prefer to hide their nests from predators in wall voids, rodent burrows, eaves, and other locations that it is easy to hide the nest. Their nests resemble an upside down tear-drop with a single hole in the bottom.

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 or toll free at 800-956-0800

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

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Why are Stinging Insects So Angry?

It gets to be late summer, and just when you begin to feel like you’ve grown accustomed to what the season brings, along comes some angry stinging insects to cause a commotion!

Late summer and early autumn are a typical times to find stinging insects around your home and yard.

While many stinging insects are important pollinators, they are also a serious health threat to humans. Millions of Americans are at risk for stings that will lead to an allergic reaction, especially from insects such as wasps and yellow jackets, which can sting multiple times.

So why do stinging insects attack?

Many of the hornet and yellow jacket species that sting us are social insects. Social insects live in colonies and social insects treat those colonies as humans do their families. In the spring a single solitary queen will emerge from winter dormancy and begin the task of starting the family. The workers mature over the summer and become very busy killing insects to feed the larvae in the nest.

Until midsummer the most common reason for an attack is if an insect feels its nest is under attack (to protect the nest).

Many species of stinging insects will build nests in the vicinity of humans, so even walking near a nest by your home could potentially pose a threat to a stinging insect. In fact, not only will an individual insect have an issue with your presence, but they will also release a pheromone and communicate to the rest of the nest inhabitants to take notice of you.

Things change when the queen starts to lay her final brood, which the kings will soon fly away to begin their own colonies. Once the males do exit the nest in late summer, their sisters who are left behind have nothing left to guard. Their only tasks are to protect themselves and to eat whatever they want. This tends to be sugary foods, which humans have plenty of, which is why August and September are months that bring the most yellow jacket stings.

Some helpful tips:

  • Instead of swatting at a stinging insect, try gently blowing it away from a distance.
  • If you are being attacked, stay calm and try not to flail your arms, but do run! It’s best to try and find some kind of barrier to distance yourself from the stinging insects, such as inside a car or building. Jumping into water is not advisable.
  • Wear shoes when walking in a grassy area.
  • Carefully inspect areas in your yard for nest activity before you do work in those areas.
  • Remove crumbs and spills from an outdoor eating area immediately.
  • If you notice a hive, it is always best to call a licensed professional to remove it 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 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800

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

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“Bee” Aware of Stinging Insects

Ah, it’s a bright, beautiful and sunny day, you’re relaxing on your deck with a drink in hand and then…BUZZ…a bee starts madly flying around you for what seems like no apparent reason.

There actually could be a reason, or even several. It could be the sugars in the drink in your hand, or possibly the sweet perfume you put on that morning.

Thankfully, stinging insects will usually only attack when they, or their nest has been threatened.

Below are a few common stinging insects in Wisconsin.

Yellow Jackets

Appearance: About 1/2 inch in length, with black with yellow markings. They are members of the wasp family.

Diet: Sugars, sweets, meats, occasionally other insects

Nests: They like to live where humans live. Nests can be underground, near garbage and in cool, dark spaces. They also build in trees, shrubs and holes in walls.

Yellow Jackets can sting several times and are the cause of many allergic reactions to people sensitive to their venom.

Hornets

Appearance: ½ to 1 ¼ inches in length. They have black bodies with white markings on the head and abdomen.

Diet: Feed on nectar, honeydew, and other insects.

Nests: They build large, gray colored paper nests which can be found in trees and shrubs. The nests are usually teardrop-shaped and they can hold 100-700 hornets, yet only one queen.

Hornets can sting several times and are very aggressive, especially when their nest is threatened.

Paper Wasps

Appearance: Dark brown with yellow markings and up to about ½ inch long.

Diet: They are mostly scavengers and prefer proteins such as spiders and other small insects

Nests: Paper-like cones which can be found hanging from eaves, soffits, deck rails, door frames, porches and trees. A mature nest can have up to 30 adults.

Paper wasps attack if their nest is threatened. They can sting several times, sometimes bringing on an allergic reaction.

Bumble Bees

Appearance: Up to 1 inch in length. They are fuzzy appearing, and yellow and black in color.

Diet: Honey and nectar

Nests: Most are located in ground cavities, others in wood piles, walls, sheds, crawl spaces or even sometimes in the attic. Nests can have anywhere from 50 to 400 bees. Bumble Bees will grow aggressive if their nest is disturbed.

Some helpful tips:

  • Instead of swatting at a bee, try gently blowing it away from a distance.
  • If you are being attacked by bees, run! It’s best to try and find some kind of barrier to distance yourself from the bees, like a car, bees will stop attacking when in a vehicle; they will instead try to find a way out. Crack a window on the sunny side of the vehicle and they will exit.
  • Wear shoes when walking in a grassy area.
  • Remove crumbs and spills from an outdoor eating area immediately.
  • Often bees will take over a hummingbird feeder. If this happens, simply remove the feeder for about a week. This will throw off the bees flight pattern and make them look elsewhere.
  • If you notice a hive, it may be best to call a licensed professional to remove it 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 262-679-4422 or 800-956-0800

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

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