Monthly Archives: August 2015

Bees and Wasps – What’s the Buzz About?

You hear that buzz and instantly panic. Will it sting you? Are you allergic? Where did it come from? Where there is one, there must be many more—where are they? These are all important questions and we will help you understand these insects a little better.

Technically speaking, both bees and wasps are part of the Hymenoptera order of insects. And while related, bees and wasps have different physical characteristics and behaviors.

The main job of bees is to pollinate. The hair on their bodies is perfect for pollen to stick to while they fly from plant to plant. Bees’ stingers are attached to other important body parts in their abdomens and when they sting, the stinger and other parts stay behind, thus, bees cannot survive. Bee colonies can grow to 75,000 members.  Bees do not hibernate during winter.   They stay in their nests and continue to work. Their metabolism slows down and they live on their honey stores. In our region, you will find honeybees, Africanized honeybees, bumblebees, carpenter bees, stingless bees and sweat bees.

The main job of wasps is to control the pest population. Wasps feed on other insects, some living, and some dead. They can pollinate, but their bodies aren’t as well equipped to carry the amount of pollen that bees do. Wasp colonies typically top out around 10,000. They will sting and they can be aggressive. Unlike bees, wasps have the ability to sting multiple times. Wasps hibernate, or “overwinter” which means they find a warm spot indoors for the winter. When the weather turns warm, they emerge and build a new nest. The common types of wasps in our region include yellow jackets, hornets, paper wasps, and mud daubers.

Since bees and wasps do play important roles in nature, it’s important to handle them properly. They should not be in your home, nor should they be creating nests on or around your home. If they do, removing them can be dangerous, especially with wasps, since they can be aggressive. That’s why it is important to call a professional to not only remove a nest, but also inspect for other nests or possibly damage (especially the case with carpenter bees.) The goal is not to eradicate bees and wasps completely, but to remove them from your living area so they are not a threat to your family.