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Bees Wasps Yellow Jackets Pest Control

Mike's Pest Control Library

Many people often refer to bees and wasps interchangeably. This page will help you distinguish bees from wasps as each of these insect groups has very different lifestyles.

Bees are interested almost exclusively in pollen and nectar from your plants, and they are adapted evolutionarily to use these specific plant parts for energy (nectar) and to provision their offspring (pollen plus nectar). Wasps, in contrast, are mostly predatory and visit your garden searching for small prey items like caterpillars, and occasionally take a drink of nectar from flowering plants.

Bees

Honey Bees

Honey Bee

The European honey bee is important in modern agriculture and in nature, providing pollination for many valuable crops and wild plants. It is native to Asia and the Middle East and was introduced to North America by early European colonists.

The Africanized Honey Bee is a result of mating between African bees and European honey bees of North and South America. In 1956, a geneticist brought African queens to Brazil with the idea of developing a superior honey bee, one more suited to tropical conditions. Unfortunately, some of these bees were accidentally released near Sao Paulo, Brazil. The bees interbred in the wild with the European honey bees, resulting in "Africanized" offspring. They have spread throughout most of South America, Mexico, southern parts of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bee

In the late spring and early summer, homeowners often notice large, black bees hovering around the outside of their homes. These are probably carpenter bees searching for mates and favorable sites to construct their nests. Male carpenter bees are quite aggressive, often hovering in front of people who are around the nests. Despite this aggressiveness, they are quite harmless since they lack stingers. Female carpenter bees can inflict a painful sting but seldom will unless they are handled or irritated.

Carpenter bees resemble bumble bees, but the upper surface of their abdomen is bare and shiny black; bumble bees have a hairy abdomen with at least some yellow markings.

More information about carpenter bees can be found here

Bumble Bees

bumble bee

Bumble Bee, common name for any of a group of large, hairy, usually black-and-yellow, social bees. They are found primarily in temperate regions of the northern hemisphere, often ranging farther north and higher in altitude than other bees. Fifty species of bumble bees are known in North America.

Bumble bees are similar to their close relatives, the honey bees, in that their colonies are headed by a queen, who is the main egg-layer, and many workers, who are the daughters of the queen, and in that drones (males) are produced during the mating season. However, the colonies of bumble bees, unlike those of honey bees, only survive during the warm season; new queens hibernate alone to begin another colony the following spring.

Wasps

The wasp is a common problem throughout summer in many parts of the world. They are social insects that form colonies inside nests. Nests are often found in soil, under eaves, in roof spaces, and in trees.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jacket

Yellow jackets are predatory wasps. They can be identified by their distinctive markings, small size (similar to a honey bee), their occurrence only in colonies, and a characteristic, rapid, side to side flight pattern prior to landing. All females are capable of stinging. Yellowjackets are important predators of pest insects.

Yellow jackets make their nests in protected areas such as hollow logs, stumps, under bark, in leaf litter, in soil cavities, and human-made structures. Queens emerge during the warm days of late spring or early summer, select a nest site, and build a small paper nest in which eggs are laid. After eggs hatch from the 30 to 50 brood cells, the queen feeds the young larvae for about 18 to 20 days. Larvae pupate, emerging later as small, infertile females called workers. By mid-summer, the first adult workers emerge and assume the tasks of nest expansion, foraging for food, care of the queen and larvae, and colony defense.

Paper Wasps

paper wasps

Paper wasps are 3/4 to 1 inch long wasps that gather fibers from dead wood and plant stems, which they mix with saliva, and use to construct water-resistant nests made of gray or brown papery material.

The nests of most paper wasps are characterized by having open combs with cells for brood rearing, and a petiole, or constricted stalk, that anchors the nest. Paper wasps secrete a chemical which repels ants, which they spread around the base of the anchor to prevent the loss of eggs or brood.

Mud Daubers

mud dauber

Mud daubers are long, slender wasps. The name of this wasp group comes from the nests that are made by the females, which consist of mud molded into place by the wasp's mandibles.

There are three types of mud daubers:
  • The organ-pipe mud dauber, as the name implies, builds nests in the shape of a cylindrical tube resembling an organ pipe or pan flute.
  • The black and yellow mud dauber - It 's nest is composed of a series of cylindrical cells that are plastered over to form a smooth nest about the size of a lemon.
  • The metallic-blue mud dauber foregoes building a nest altogether and simply uses the abandoned nests of the other two species and preys primarily on black widow spiders.
Mud daubers are rarely aggressive.

Cicada Killers

cicada killer

Cicada killers occur in all states east of the Rocky Mountains and prefer to dig their burrows in sandy, bare, well drained soil exposed to full sunlight. The wasps feed on flower nectar while the immature or larval stage feeds primarily upon cicadas that are brought to the burrow by the adult.

In spite of their large size, the wasps usually ignore people but they can give a painful sting if bothered. Mating males are aggressive and more easily disturbed.

A mound of fine soil surrounds the burrow of each cicada killer. Since colonies of burrows are common, infested lawns usually contain several mounds that can smother the grass. However, they prefer to nest in areas of sparse vegetation, and rarely infest thick,vigorous turf.



Bees Wasps Yellow Jackets Pest Control Photos



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