Bees and wasps can strike terror into the hearts of humans. Most of us have had experiences with a bee or wasp sting as children, and some of us may even have a severe allergy to the venom in a sting from these insects.
Experience teaches us to know where to look for these insects, and we have a variety of control and management tools at our disposal.
Avoid working with flowering ornamentals or mowing the lawn when bees and wasps are actively collecting nectar. Avoid walking barefoot on lawns. Wear white clothing, which is least attractive to these stinging insects. Be aware that some perfumes lotions and hair sprays can also attract them.
Avoid swatting investigating worker bees, which can increase their aggressiveness. Stand still if a stinging insect is near you. If it attacks, do not slap it, but merely brush it off to prevent a sting. If attacked by a swarm of bees or wasps, protect your face and leave the area as soon as possible.
It is important to note that some people are very allergic to stings. If someone is stung and has a severe reaction, medical attention should be sought immediately.
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ABOUT BEES / WASPS
Bees and Wasps share the same coloration but can be differentiated by the presence of hair. Bees have hairy bodies and wasps are smooth and hairless. Hornet bodies are primarily black with a yellow tail end. Many other insects have adopted the black and yellow colour scheme as protection from predators taking advantage of bee's and wasp's defensive reputations. Therefore, it is important to note that not all black and yellow insects sting. Yellowjacket and paper wasp nests can be differentiated by the outer structure of the nest. Paper wasp nests are not protected by an outer paper cover, unlike yellowjacket nests which are enclosed by papery material. Yellowjackets live a social hive situation similar to honey bees. There may be 5000 wasps per nest. The nests are paper and may be underground, in a tree or a building overhang.
There is an overwintering queen, who, in the spring selects a nesting site. She constructs a small nest and lays a few eggs. The eggs hatch, go through a larval stage, mature and begin to tend the queen.
These "workers" are females and the main source of concern: they are the stingers. The worker wasps expand the nest and hunt other insects to feed the developing larva and queen. The workers are known to steal small bits of meat from picnic tables.
In the fall the queen will leave the nest and search out an over wintering site, typically a crack in tree bark. The workers also leave the nest, but they do not survive winters and eventually die.
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