It’s unfortunate that bees get such a bad reputation. Many people run away screaming if they even spot a honey bee or bumblebee buzzing lazily around their home patio. However, bees are one of the most useful insects on the planet, and far from being killed as pests, they should be encouraged and protected.
With bee populations on the decline, it’s more important than ever for homeowners to spot the difference between wasps, yellow jackets, or hornets and honey bees or bumblebees. Here’s what you need to know about bees and wasps and what you can do to tackle wasp and bee colonies in or around your house.
Why Wasps Are Pests
Wasps, while still helpful to the environment, are nuisances for humans and human homes for a number of reasons:
- They are naturally aggressive and have large swarms. Unlike bees, wasps are predators and are more likely to sting if they feel even slightly provoked.
- Wasps can sting many times instead of just one. Paired with their more aggressive natures, this makes wasp colonies very dangerous to humans.
- Nests can be extensive and hard to find. Some wasp and hornet colonies exist in the ground, under or behind siding, or in attics. As the colony grows, it becomes harder to control. Should you accidentally disturb a nest with a shovel or lawn mower, you could provoke the ire of thousands of stinging insects.
If you notice large numbers of wasps around your property, it’s best to call a pest control company to find the nest. Allowing it to grow can pose a risk for your safety.
How Bees and Wasps Are Different
Wasps and bees have different roles in nature. They have a similar appearance at a glance, but that’s where most of the similarities end. Bees are perfectly engineered for pollinating plants. They have furry bodies that carry large amounts of pollen from flower to flower as they collect nectar.
Wasps and hornets, on the other hand, while still partially effective at pollination, are omnivores, and they feed on other meat and insects as well as nectar and fruit sugars. Wasps and hornets help to control the populations of other insects.
You can easily start to spot the difference between wasps and bees. Bees are traditionally drawn as being black and yellow, and this is true of the bumblebee, but honey bees are more honey-like in color, with darker brown and mustard striping. They are noticeably fuzzy and smaller than wasps.
Wasps and hornets, on the other hand, have brighter coloring of yellow and black. They are not hairy but instead have smooth, shiny bodies and a more pronounced, aggressive body shape, with a small “waist” and taper end effective for stinging.
Why Bees Need Protection
Unfortunately, despite their calmer natures, bees can still come under fire from homeowners who see them as pests. If you find a bee colony with stored honey on your property, especially in an inconvenient place, your first thought might be to remove or poison the colony.
When bees are causing a problem for you, it’s essential you don’t resort to killing the bees or destroying their home. Bees need protection because their numbers are already on the decline, and all humans rely on bees to pollinate flowers and plants for food. Grain, fruit, and vegetable production will decrease rapidly if bees continue to die out.
Every bee that can possibly be saved should be. If you find a hive in a tree, in your sheetrock, in your attic, or in a place that threatens the safety or utility of your home, contact a pest control company immediately. The middle ground is to move as much of the hive as possible to a safer location for you and for the bees. However, moving hives should only ever be attempted in extreme cases.
Most of the time, it’s best for humans to actually promote the development of local bee populations by planting flowers and choosing green pest control options for other pests like ants. You can also help promote bee health by using only green protective pesticides on plants like roses and lavender that are food for bees.
Discourage bee swarms from nesting in your home by providing a hollowed-out log or similar feature on your property as a potential hive.
What Your Pest Control Professional Can Do
Bees and wasps are insects whose presence come with few DIY solutions. Wasp colonies are often too dangerous or secretive to handle properly while bee hives are too vital to the global economy to remove easily.
In the case of a bee or wasp concern, it’s best to tackle to problem with the assistance of a professional, especially because many DIY methods can end up harming essential bee colonies. You don’t want an over-the-counter pesticide to become a death sentence for any bee who visits your garden.
For more questions about green pest control methods and how to control wasp or bee colonies on your property, contact us at Chem-Wise Ecological Pest Management.