Did You Know?
Some Information On The Common Stinging Insects In Our Region
In nature, there are basically two types of bees, solitary¯ and those that thrive in a colony or social¯ bees.
The solitary variety usually involves only a single female or Queen, after she emerges from her pupae and is mated by a male, she then constructs a nest, builds up provisions, and then lays an egg in each cell of the nest all by herself. Solitary Bees generally live as mating pairs. There are basically two bees per nest (king and queen).
With social or communal¯ bees like the Bumble Bees and Honey Bees, there is a Queen Bee reproductive that lays eggs and the workers or daughters look
Social / Colonized Bees have a great number of workers and usually only one queen
Did you know?
Bees and wasps have a habit of flying in straight lines. If you're somewhere that you can't get indoors and are either being threatened or actually being stung, you are best protected if you can move quickly to a place where you are out of the bee's sight while they are at or near the nest. Hiding behind a vehicle or a tree (without a nest), or behind a structure like a garage or shed are your best options. If you have been stung and start to get a dry, rough throated feeling, you begin having difficulty breathing and coughing you need to get medical attention immediately!
We get calls from time to time, that appear to be an emergency by nature and we just can't reliably treat the issue at that time. Why not you ask?
When the early spring arrives the insects get active, but treating for them at the first sign of activity is a recipe for a re-treat. In an effort to try and save you some of that hard-earned money, we do what we can to avoid the need for the re-treat by recommending that you wait until the middle of May or so. Since the residual effect of most chemical pesticides is about 60 to 90 days it makes sense that the treatment be done at a time where you'll receive the most benefit from it.
Some insects like wasps for example are most actively building nests sometime after the first part of May when the nights are usually at a more constant
You might get a similar reply from our office in the fall months of late September and October. Some places call pest activity at this time of year the all phenomenon. We tend to see many wasps for example flying all around any of the sunny sides of the house or garage. They are enjoying the last of the warm air as they anticipate what's ahead. The heat radiating from the building's roof and siding warms the air on the sunny side of your home. You might have noticed in past years that on cloudy days during early to late fall, you just don't see many if any wasps buzzing around.
As much as we hate to say it, we cannot control this late season activity, we can only control the nesting and nest building. You'll be best served to wait it out since winter cold is usually not far behind the fall phenomenon.
When it comes to stinging wasps, we really only have two species of any concern in the NW Ohio, SE Michigan region:
The brown wasp, bet you can' guess the color, (they're dark brown) is one of them. The brown wasps are the ones we normally find nesting under the eaves of your home and in garages and sheds. Depending on activity close to the ground (dogs for example) we may also find nest sites under decks, deck railings, and sometimes behind window shutters.
These wasps typically only sting when they get agitated or if they get close enough to us and we take a swat at them. The brown wasps' nest is a single-layer, open-cell nest (honeycomb looking) without any covering.
The other common variety in these parts is the European wasp. The European wasps are dark brown with yellow stripes.
They nest and live in the same areas the brown wasp does but you'll also find them in bushes, the larger variety flower stalks, inside metal railings, inside of eave vents and pretty much anywhere they can get cover. The European wasp nests are usually bigger than the brown wasp, and their breeding season tends to last longer. The European wasp is the more aggressive of the two species.
There are two simple ways to tell the difference between the European wasp and a similar looking Yellow Jacket. The European wasps fly like wasps, with their long back legs dangling below them and their nests have open cells and no paper-like covering.
Often found hard at work making a mess of the siding or eaves of your home are the Mud Dauber wasps. The key distinguishing characteristics of the mud dauber is their color. They are usually blackish-blue and most times appear to have a metallic luster to them. These solitary wasps often build several long tubes of mud in which they have laid their eggs. They seldom sting and feed on spiders. (can you say beneficial?)
Did you know that the Honeybee is a colony type bee?
The color of the honeybee is usually an orange-brown with pale hairs giving it a soft or plush look.
Like most stinging insects, the Honeybee can only sting once because the stinger has a barb and stays in the skin.
One easy and safe way to remove the stinger from your skin is to scrape over the stinger with the edge of a drivers license or credit card. Some old schoolers¯ might also say to apply meat tenderizer to the spot to stop the pain, swelling and itching.
Honeybees are very beneficial to nature so if possible, contact a a local bee keeper to save and preserve the colony.
Two really annoying stinging insects:
The "Prairie Bee¯: These small bees (1/8" ¾)are fairly non-aggressive. They are solitary bees and are found to nest in the soil. Usually they are dark-colored and hairless or have hairs only on the upper segment of their bodies. They hover or fly close to the ground. There may be hundreds of holes in a small area (usually where there is no or sparse ground-cover). They have short, weak stingers and carry very little venom. Unless you are allergic to bee stings you may not want to eradicate them. The best solution is to sod or re-seed the area, remove some of the shade, etc. so that they will not find your yard as inviting next year.
The ever-popular Cicada Killer¯: these are the extremely large bodied (1" 1 5/8¯ long), industrious, ground-dwelling, solitary bees. They are black to rusty orange with three yellow tinted markings on their abdomens. Their nests often have a ramp¯ of excavated soil leading to the hole. (like an ant hill just bigger) Because of their size and the amount of venom in their stings, it is recommended that you seek professional help in eradicating them. They usually only appear for a couple of weeks every year but their presence can certainly cause you to not want to play in the yard.