YardDoc’s method of wasp control includes removing yellow jacket, hornet, or wasp nests from your property, and then recommending ways to prevent their return. Known for building nests under eaves and within wall cavities, wasps get aggressive in Austin’s fall months when food sources are scarce.
Bees are one of nature’s most important insects as they pollinate food needed for human survival. We don’t exterminate them. Rather, we can put you in touch with bee removal professionals who will reestablish the colony elsewhere so they may continue carrying out their pollination activities.
A bee’s body is hairy, which helps it collect pollen. Only a few species of bees can sting repeatedly. Most have a small barb at the end of their stinger, which embeds in your skin, and results in the bee’s death. A wasp’s body is smooth with more prominent color patterns than bees. A wasp stinger does not possess a barb, which is why they sting multiple times.
Found throughout Texas, paper wasps take their name from the fact that they chew wood fiber to create a paper-like substance used to build their nests.
These wasps are about one inch long. Their coloration varies from reddish-orange of red paper wasps to dark brown. Some species have distinctive yellow markings.
The founding queen searches for a protected area in which to build the nest. Therefore, you will often find wasp nests under eaves or inside mailboxes, garages, and sheds. The nests are umbrella-shaped and hang down from a single filament. It has one tier of hexagonal cells. If left undisturbed, the nest can grow to become 6-8 inches in diameter and house up to several dozen wasps.
Paper Wasps will swarm if they perceive a threat to their nest. They will also swarm in the fall when the old colony is dying off, and a new queen is finding a place to overwinter.
Paper Wasps only attack when they think their nest is threatened. Being too close to a nest may cause them to attack. They will chase you 100 feet without relenting and sting multiple times. Paper Wasps become more aggressive near food sources. Watch for them around open soda cans and sweet foodstuffs. Their sting is painful and may cause redness and swelling. Those who suffer from allergic reactions to bee or wasp stings should seek medical attention immediately.
Yellow Jacket is the common name for a particular species of wasp. We refer to wasps from the Vespula and Dolichovespula genus as Yellow Jackets in the United States.
Yellow Jackets are similar in size to a Honeybee, about 1/2 an inch. Unlike the Honeybee, Yellow Jackets are hairless, and you never see them carrying pollen. All Yellow Jackets have black and yellow markings. Distinct patterns identify different species.
Although Yellow Jackets can create nests under eaves, between walls, and even in recycling bins, it’s more common for Yellow Jackets to construct subterranean nests. Their nests have a small opening at the bottom (with aerial nests) or a round opening on the ground. They create their nests using chewed wood fiber. They cover aerial nests in a papery shell known as an envelope.
Yellow Jackets swarm when humans or animals get too close to their nests. Since most Yellow Jacket nests are subterranean, you might overlook them. Vibrations such as that of a lawnmower can trigger Yellow Jackets to swarm. Yellow Jackets chase away intruders and perceived threats up to 100 feet from their nest.
Like most species of wasps, Yellow Jackets do not have a barb in their stinger. This allows them to sting multiple times. When a Yellow Jacket attacks, it will release a chemical signal that means danger. This will cause other Yellow Jackets from the same colony to join the attack. All Yellow Jackets are social, which makes them aggressive, especially when defending their nest. During fall, Yellow Jackets become even more aggressive as their food sources become scarcer. They will often attack people who are around food. Trying to swat them away from food increases their aggression. Yellow Jackets are considered more aggressive than other species of wasps, but their sting is not as venomous as the sting of a Paper Wasp. The most significant danger comes from them attacking and stinging in large numbers. Call Yard Doc for professional wasp control.
Africanized Bees were produced by crossing the European Honeybee with the African Lowland Honeybee. This new breed produced more honey but also was more aggressive. A colony escaped from quarantine in Brazil in 1956. Since then, this hybrid variety of bees has made its way to all of South America and reached Texas in 1990. The media dubbed the Africanized Bee the ‘Killer Bee’.
Africanized Bees are smaller than Honeybees and often require identification under a microscope. But their behavior gives them away.
Africanized Bees will nest in any hollow structures such as tree stumps, under eaves, or in old and unused BBQ pits, trash cans, and even on the side of cars. Occasionally, Africanized Bees will build a nest that isn’t contained within a cavity. These hives have their combs exposed and do not survive the winter months. Nests are created by the workers and can be seen as long, vertically hanging combs. The number of combs depends on the size of the colony.
Africanized Bees swarm for two reasons, as a mating flight for a queen to begin a new colony or to defend a perceived threat to their nest. The ordinary Honeybee will swarm up to three times per year for reproduction. The Africanized Bee can swarm up to ten times per year. These swarms can last for a few hours to an entire day. Swarming occurs during spring and early summer.
The Africanized Bee is far more hostile than the European or American Honeybee. This is because, in their natural environment, more predators seek their nests and destroy them in a search for honey. The Africanized Bee colony is more sensitive to perceived threats. An Africanized Bee has a barbed stinger, like its non-aggressive cousin, and will die soon after delivering a sting. The significant difference is that when disturbed, the entire colony of Africanized Bees will attack. This results in people and animals receiving multiple stings, which can prove fatal. This species of bee have also chased its victims for up to a quarter of a mile.
The Cicada Killer takes its name from the fact that it preys on adult cicadas.
Cicada Killers are one of the largest species of wasp in the United States. They measure about 1.5 inches long. Many Texans have mistaken these wasps for the Asian or Japanese ‘murder hornet’. The easiest way to tell them apart is by their size. Murder hornets grow to 2 inches and the patterns on their bodies are also different. Cicada Killers have jagged, yellow stripes on its abdomen whereas the Asian hornet has darker stripes of orange or brown, which are even and run all the way across the abdomen.
Cicada Killers make their homes in lawns or sandy soil. Their nest sites are often mistaken for those of Yellow Jackets. The female creates the nest by burrowing tunnels in lawns or soft ground.
The Cicada Killer is a solitary wasp, unlike other species, which are social. We usually see a swarm of female Cicada Killers in summer as they search for the best place to create their burrows. Females return to the same burrow each year.
Cicada Killers eat adult cicadas which destroy deciduous trees. Because they help to keep the population of cicadas under control, they are beneficial to humans. The Cicada Killer is a very docile species of wasp. It will not attack unless it is being handled. You can see males flying around outside the burrow entrance, but they are stingless and represent no threat. A sting from a Cicada Killer is very unusual, but it is like that of other species, treated with painkillers and anti-inflammatory creams.
Let a YardDoc pest technician help identify the wasp species involved and implement a solution for wasp control.
The Honeybee is the only species from the genus Apis to be found in Texas. It is this species of bee that most people are familiar with.
The Honeybee has a body-color ranging from dark brown to black. They have yellow or orange-ish stripes, and are covered in hair. This feature helps them to trap and collect pollen. When you spot a bee with yellow ‘baskets’ of pollen on its legs, it is always a female. The females are the workers of the hive, while the drones (the males) exist only to mate with queens. They die soon after or are ejected from the hive by the worker bees.
Unlike other types of bees, the Honeybee doesn’t build its nest hanging from trees because that would make the hive and its honey vulnerable to predators. The Honeybee builds its nest in hollowed-out trees and other cavities near abundant pollen sources, such as orchards, fields, and meadows. The cavities can be natural or fabricated as used by beekeepers.
Swarming is a natural step in the Honeybee’s reproductive cycle. It usually occurs in spring when new queens leave the nest to mate with a drone to begin a new colony. Honeybees do not swarm far from their hive.
We do not consider Honeybees aggressive. They will sting if they feel threatened or if their nest is under attack. Their sting produces a red mark on the skin coupled with pain which can last one to two hours. Swelling from the venom may continue for 48 hours. You can ease the swelling with calamine lotion, while Advil or similar over-the-counter medication treats the pain. People with allergic reactions to bee stings or the pollen they carry should consult a physician if stung.
There are nine identified species of Bumblebees native to Texas.
Bumblebees are easy to identify because of their enormous size. They also have a lot of hair on their bodies. They are sometimes mistaken for Carpenter Bees but you can tell the difference because Carpenter Bees have a smooth abdomen on their underside, whereas Bumblebees have hair on their undersides. Their bodies have black and yellow striping, although the pattern can vary between the different species.
Bumblebees build their nests on or below the ground. They never create their own hives. Instead, the queen seeks a space such as an abandoned rodent’s den, empty birdhouse, compost pile or brush pile. Their nests look like a jumble of debris such as leaves and animal fur, which helps insulate the hive. The interior of the nest comprises only a few random cells.
Bumblebees do not swarm as Honeybees do. If you come across one of their nests, you may spot up to twenty males flying around outside. They are hoping the queen will emerge, giving them the opportunity to mate.
Bumblebees are one of the most docile and least aggressive species of bee. They will only attack if they are being disturbed or threatened while collecting pollen. The Bumblebee does not have a barb in its stinger, giving it the ability to sting multiple times. For most people, a sting will only cause temporary pain and swelling, which can be treated with painkillers. Those people with allergies to bee and wasp venom need to be careful around nest sites as the Bumblebee may perceive proximity as a threat.
While wasp control is vital to protecting yourself on your own property, by following these tips you may avoid getting stung wherever you are enjoying the Austin outdoors:
We can help with your other pest control needs, for ants (carpenter ants), asian beetles, termites (drywood and subterranean), scorpions, spiders, wasps, millipedes, and grubs. We set mosquito traps for mosquitoes, and keep rodents at bay with critter control.
Texas Pest Control License #: 0752604
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