Stinging insects common to our geographical region include bees and wasps. Yellow jackets, hornets, and mud daubers are species of wasps commonly found here. While beneficial to our ecosystem, these pests can be a nuisance or in some cases, even dangerous if they have hives around your home. “Bee” safe and contact Triple S Services when these stinging insects appear on your premises!
There are over 20,000 species of bees. However, the type of bees most common around the Washington, D.C. region that can become a nuisance to your home are carpenter bees.
Carpenter bees are often called wood bees. While they don’t eat wood, they do form their nests in unpainted, dry wood such as decking, doorways, wooden outdoor furniture, windowsills, eaves, etc. Carpenter bees are different from other bees, such as honeybees and bumblebees, because their nests aren’t as large and they don’t have a large colony. They are a solitary species of bees. Signs of an infestation include holes with wood dust or shavings below it, and sometimes, yellowish stains from pollen and excrement. Male carpenter bees are territorial and will protect their nests, but they won’t sting.
Wasps are similar to bees because like many species of bees, they also pollinate, can sting, and have a structured social order. Wasps also have queens, which can live for approximately one year; female workers, which can live for 12-22 days; and male drones, which live for slightly longer than female workers. Wasps are predators of other insects, so they have the important job of controlling the pest population. Wasp colonies are much smaller than bee colonies—approximately 10,000 wasps live in a nest versus 75,000 bees in a colony. Wasps cannot produce honey. Wasps have the ability to sting multiple times. There are several species of wasps, including yellow jackets, mud daubers, hornets and paper wasps.
Hornets are distinct because of their size and coloring. Similar to yellow jackets, they have a long body, but they are distinct in the larger head size and rounder abdomen segment. They are darker in color, often black or brown and some have yellow or orange markings. Hornets build communal nests by chewing wood to create a papery pulp substance. Their nests include a queen who lays eggs, and female workers who cannot lay eggs. They prefer to make their nests in shrubs and trees, making a residential, well landscaped home or office, a prime location. Hornets are territorial and will sting if they feel their nest is being threatened. They have the ability to sting multiple times.
A close cousin to hornets, yellow jackets are distinct because of their black and yellow striped long bodies. Yellow jackets do not carry pollen like bees, even though the worker yellow jacket wasps are sometimes mistaken for worker bees. Yellow jackets can make very large nests, sometimes even the size of a basketball – impressive since each nest typically lasts one season. Yellow jackets have one queen, who will leave the nest and start a new one the next season. Any yellow jackets left in the original nest will die. The nests are made of the same papery pulp that hornets build nests from, however, yellow jackets start with a small nest and can continue to build larger layers upon each other. Nests can be found in shrubs and bushes, like hornet nests, as well as in the ground.
Mud daubers have a distinct look to them. While still part of the wasp family, there is a very narrow segment of their bodies that distinguish them from hornets and yellow jackets. They build their nests out of mud and are typically a cylindrical shape. Mud daubers are a solitary species, however, if there is one mud dauber nest, another might not be far away. They prefer to build their nests on sides of buildings or anywhere near mud. They aren’t known as being overly protective or stinging, although they can if provoked.
When treating for stinging insects, the goal is to remove the nests/hives away from your home. Triple S Services understands the importance of stinging insects to our environment. When we treat a home for stinging insects, it is to ensure that these pests do not harm residents. Triple S Services uses only products labeled for use in the elimination of wasps and bees posing a risk to humans. Extreme care is taken not to use products that will pose a risk to the honey bee population. If honey bees are posing a risk to humans, a qualified bee keeper will be contacted to move the honey bees to a safe area or bee hive away from humans.