Yellow Jackets & Wasps

Yellow Jackets & Wasps

Busy Bees And Wasps

This month has been an extremely busy month for Omaha Pest Control technicians, especially with all of the calls for pest control of stinging insects in Omaha, Bellevue and surrounding cities. The wet and warm weather in Nebraska has been ideal for colonies of bees and wasps to develop.

In late summer and early fall when their populations peak, the Bee and Wasp insect diet disappears and their feeding habits become a problem to homeowners. At that time of year, the yellow jacket has an appetite for the same food and drink as those consumed by humans. Also, yellow jacket stings can result in a life-threatening situation, if the person is allergic to yellow jacket venom. Persons highly sensitive to yellow jacket venom should always carry a sting treatment kit during outdoor activities. That is when it is time to call Omaha Pest Control.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are considered beneficial around home gardens and commercially grown fruits and vegetables at certain times of the year because they feed abundantly on insect pests such as caterpillars and harmful flies.

Nests are often located in a soil cavity such as an abandoned gopher hole, mouse nest, or hollow tree. Other possible nest sites are in buildings, including attics, porches, eaves, or sheds. Disturbing ground nests or trees can cause yellow jackets to attack.

If you do disturb a yellow jacket nest, general guidelines are to slowly walk away with both hands covering the face to protect the more sensitive body areas. It is best to walk toward dense vegetation or enter a vehicle or building to avoid the stinging insects. Swift movements will only attract more yellow jackets.

Allergic reactions to yellow jacket or bees stings may cause shock and life threatening conditions. Those with known allergies should carry sting treatment kits and be prepared to seek prompt medical attention if stung. A yellow jacket does not leave a stinger in its victim, so it can therefore sting multiple times. Companions of multiple-sting victims should watch the victim and be prepared for emergency medical response and evacuation.

Paper or Umbrella Wasps

Paper wasps are about 1 inch long, have a spindle-shaped body, and are marked with a brown and yellow pattern. Paper wasps construct umbrella-shaped, single-layered nests with exposed cells. Nests may be built in trees and shrubs but are frequently found under building overhangs, or in attics, barns, garages, and sheds.

Nests are initiated in the spring by a single overwintered queen called the foundress. Other fertile females often join the colony later in the season. Colonies may produce up to 200 individuals by summer’s end. These wasps are not considered overly aggressive and usually only pose a threat when their nests are disturbed. However, foraging wasps can cause considerable annoyance as they fly in and about building entrances. The best approach for controlling paper wasps is to treat nests with liquid or aerosol jet insecticide sprays after dark. Knocking down a nest without an insecticide treatment is usually ineffective since these wasps will rebuild the nest in a short time.

Cicada Killers

This is the largest wasp species in Nebraska. They are up to 2 inches long and are boldly marked with yellow stripes on a black body. Cicada killers are most abundant during midsummer when their prey, cicadas, are active. Cicada killers attack, sting, and carry paralyzed cicadas back to underground burrows. These burrows can be found near walks, driveways, and retaining walls and can usually be identified by the presence of fresh soil around the 1/2-inch entrance hole. Once the paralyzed cicada has been dragged underground, the wasp deposits an egg on it. Upon hatching, the wasp larva uses the cicada as a source of food. These wasps are normally very docile and are unlikely to sting unless provoked. If nesting activities become a problem, infested areas can be treated with an insecticide.

Bumble Bees

These bees most commonly become a problem when they establish nests close to a sidewalk or near a building foundation. Bumble bees are large, robust bees covered with dense black and yellow hairs. They commonly reach 1 inch in length. Bumble bees usually are not overly aggressive, but they will sting if molested. Avoid flower patches where adult bumble bees are likely to be visiting. These bees can be controlled by spraying or dusting insecticides into their nests. Retreatment may be necessary.