Bees, Wasps & Hornets

While bees can benefit the environment in many ways, it is inconvenient and possibly dangerous to let a bee hive thrive near your home.

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 around trash receptacles, bird feeders and swimming pools.

Wild colonies can be treated with liquid and dust insecticides. Combs inside buildings should be removed and destroyed to avoid problems like honey-stained damage to walls or secondary pest issues, such as carpet beetles or the attraction of other 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.

Bee Stings & Treatment

Like some insects, honey bees behave defensively when intruders are near, guarding the entrance to their nests. However, honey bees are only able to sting once, since their barbed stingers detach from the bee’s body, leaving part of their digestive system behind. While a honey bee will die soon after transferring its venom, pheromones secreted during the attack will alarm and stimulate other worker bees to attack.

Honey bee stings are known to be very painful, but the symptoms that result from a sting vary depending on the amount of venom that has entered into the victim’s body. Some individuals may also experience visible signs, including redness of the skin around the sting. Although the sting of a honey bee is not commonly hazardous, some people may be allergic to the bee’s venom and will experience such severe side-effects as nausea, fainting and in rare cases, even death.

While a honey bee sting may appear mild, one should consider treatment immediately. One method of sting removal is to use a credit card or blunt knife to swipe the affected area of the skin clean. Then applying a cold compress can lessen the pain and ease the swelling and itch experienced after a honey bee sting. If symptoms persist or worsen, or if a rash occurs, emergency medical attention is advised.

The most rapid and effective pest control methods are those administered by trained pest control professionals. Contact a Pest Management, Inc. expert to discuss extermination options.

Wasps & Hornets

Wasps – particularly hornets – are especially dangerous, as they are more likely to respond aggressively when disturbed, and they do not die or lose their stinger after stinging, like honeybees do. Wasps and hornets are generally 2-3 centimeters in length, and have three legs on either side as well as antennas and wings. They also have a sharp point on the end of their abdomen used for stinging. Colors vary throughout different species, but the most common ones are usually black with a yellow stripe on the lower abdomen, vibrantly black and yellow striped like a honeybee or just pure black.

Wasps, unlike bees, build their nest out of a paper-like substance they make with a mixture of chewed wood and saliva. Wasps nests are similar to beehives in that they also contain cells where the wasps nurture their larvae. However, wasps do not build as many cells because they do not store things such as pollen and honey, like bees do. They often build their nests in trees, shrubs, corners of buildings and sometimes even underground.

Hornets are a type of wasp, the main difference between hornets and other wasps is in the coloring and how painful their sting is to humans. Hornet stings are particularly painful to humans due to a higher amount of acetylcholine in their venom. The severity of the stings can vary among species from a typical insect sting to a sometimes deadly reaction to the venom. The more venemous species of hornets do not inhabit the United States. The only true species of hornet commonly found in North America is the European Hornet, which can still pack a painful punch, but rarely cause life threatening reactions  Рunless the person stung has a severe allergy.

Treating wasp and hornet stings

If you are stung by a wasp or hornet, it is important to stay calm and avoid things like flailing or causing commotion. If the nest is nearby, this¬†could cause the rest of the colony to act aggressively, or the same wasps to continue trying to attack. Remember, wasps can sting multiple times. If you are stung, you should try to quickly and calmly get away from the area. If you don’t have any severe insect allergies, the area will likely only become slightly raised or swollen (like a mosquito bite), and will begin to disappear within a few hours. Things like ice and oral antihistamines can help reduce the swelling. Unlike bees, wasps do not leave their stinger behind when attacking, so there is no need to worry about pulling it out of the wound. If you have a more severe reaction, such as swelling of a large area around the sting or a severe allergic reaction, you should seek medical attention to ensure it doesn’t become life threatening.