Wasps and bees are beneficial insects, although they are generally considered to be pests because of their ability to sting. Wasps, in particular, can become a problem in autumn when they may disrupt many outdoor activities. People often mistakenly call all stinging insects "bees". While both social wasps and bees live in colonies ruled by queens and maintained by workers, they look and behave differently. |
Wasps are predators, feeding insects and other arthropods to their young, which develop in the nest. They are beneficial because they prey on many insects, including caterpillars, flies, crickets, and other pests.It is important to distinguish between these insects because different methods may be necessary to control them if they become a nuisance.
The first step in wasp or bee control is to correctly identify the insect and locate its nesting site. The best time of the year to control wasps is in June after the queen has established her colony and while the colony is still small. But because nests are small, they are also harder to find. The best time of the day to control wasp nests is at night, when they are less active. At temperatures below 50° F, wasps have difficulty flying. Never seal a wasp nest until you are sure there are no surviving wasps inside. If a nest is not discovered until fall, control may be unnecessary as imminent freezing temperatures will kill the colony.
Wasp nests that are visible but are not near your home or areas of human activity do not need to be treated. If they are not disturbed, the wasps won't bother you.
Nests that are near human activity can pose a potential problem. If there is a concern about stings, you should eradicate the nest.
Apply a ready-to-use aerosol "wasp and hornet spray" into the entrance of the nest during late evening according to label directions. If no activity is observed the next day, the nest has been successfully exterminated. If live wasps are still observed, repeat the treatment at three-day intervals until they are all dead.
Mechanical control without insecticides is possible for small, exposed nests. At night, cover the nest with a large, heavy, plastic bag and seal it shut. Cut the nest from the tree and freeze it or let the bag sit in the sun, which will kill the wasps inside in a day or two. Use caution: there is more risk involved in this procedure than in spraying the nest.
When yellowjackets are found nesting in the ground, first try pouring a soap and water solution into the entrance. Many types of soap will work, including dish and laundry soap.
If that doesn't work, apply an insecticide into the nest opening. Be sure you use a product that is cleared for use in lawns or soil. Dusts are more effective than liquid insecticides because liquids do not always reach the nest. After you are sure all the wasps have been exterminated, cover the nest entrance with soil.
The most challenging nests to control are those that are concealed in voids behind walls or in attics. Often, the only evidence of the nest is wasps flying back and forth through a crack or hole in the home.
Aerosol insecticides usually do not work very well against hidden nests. The best method is to apply a small amount of insecticidal dust (dusts are less commonly available in stores than aerosols; be sure any dust you plan to use is labelled for use in homes). You may need to drill small (about 1/8 inch) holes to deliver the insecticide into the nest area. If the product you are using does not have a built-in applicator, you can use a plastic container with a tube tip or spout, such as an empty liquid detergent bottle, to "puff" the product into the void. Honey bee nests
Honey bees are normally housed in manufactured hives and managed by beekeepers. In some instances wild colonies of honey bees may nest in hollow trees or in wall voids. Honey bees may become a nuisance in the spring at bird feeders and swimming pools as they forage for water. They seldom, if ever, are a nuisance in summer or early fall.
Wild colonies can be treated with the same insecticides and methods as described for exposed or concealed wasp nests. Combs inside buildings should be removed and destroyed to avoid problems with honey-stained damage to walls and secondary pest problems, such as carpet beetles, and attracting bee swarms in the future. Never use honey or wax from colonies that have been treated with an insecticide. Control of honey bee nests can be challenging. Consider hiring an experienced pest control service if a honey bee job appears too difficult.
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