Stinging Pests

Stinging Pests

Stinging Pests

Bees

Found globally, bees are winged insects of the order Hymenoptera, super-family Apoidea. There are more than 20,000 recorded bee species. Megachile pluto, the largest of these creatures, is reported to be 3.9 cm long, while Perdita minima, the most diminutive of bees, are shorter than 2 mm long. Bees can be black or brown with red, yellow or lustrous blue stripes.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

While some bees are solitary, species such as honey bees and bumble bees are tremendously social. Bee colonies are comprised of three castes: The queen bee, infertile female worker bees and male drones. The queen mates and lays eggs for the span of her life. Honey bee queens can live up to five years, though most average a lifespan of two to three years. Male drones exist solely to fertilize the queen and die soon after having fulfilled their task. Female worker bees perform a multitude of tasks necessary to the survival of the hive. As a result of their constant laboring, their average life span is usually a mere six weeks.

Reproduction

All bees are hairy, a crucial trait for pollen collection . Flowers and flourishing vegetation often attract bees, and there is no insect as important as the bee when it comes to pollination. Many female bee species have rows of bristles on their hind legs which form a hollow basket. When the bee lands on a flower, pollen grains are combed into the hollow basket and bristles. Cross pollination occurs when the displaced grains of pollen are distributed to the fertile pistils of other flowers as the bee alights upon them. Although only females are able to transfer pollen, all bees are able to sip the nectar from flowers using a tongue like organ. This nectar is their primary source of energy. Pollen is sustenance for both adult and larval bees, as it contains protein and other nutrients necessary to their survival. Bees posses an organ that converts nectar into honey, which is collected, depending on the species, inside the hive or bee colony.

Bee Swarms

The most well documented and encountered bee swarms are those of honey bees. Typically honey bee swarms are not a major threat, unless when dealing with Africanized honey bees. The bees do not have a nest or young and, therefore, are less defensive. However, they will sting if provoked.

Bee swarming typically occurs in colonies that are thriving and with robust populations. Weak colonies of bees may not swarm until they become stronger and larger in population. Bee colonies may become weak due to starvation, disease or failing queens. Several factors can contribute to the occurrence of a swarm, such as seasonal changes and overcrowding.

Swarming involves a contingent of workers and a queen departing the original colony. The swarm typically gathers at a resting site, often in a tree after leaving the colony. Scouts are sent to find a new location, such as a log or other cavity. Once a suitable location is found, the swarm will relocate to the site and begin to nest.

Two kinds of bee swarms occur: primary and secondary. The queen bees lead primary swarms, which include a larger number of workers acting to protect the egg-laying queen. Secondary swarms are led by several virgin female bees and as a result, these swarms are half the size of the primary swarm and do not occur as often.

Control

While bees can benefit the environment in many ways, it is inconvenient and possibly dangerous to let a bee hive thrive near your home.

It is important to properly identify the particular species living near your home, as bees are often mistaken for wasps due to their similar physical characteristics. There are different elimination processes for wasps and bees, so effective treatment relies upon proper identification. When using any method of bee control, it is also necessary to know effective application strategies, as well as limitations and dangers associated with each method. In many regions, special licenses are required to treat infestations.

The only way to rid your home of bees is to remove the hive entirely. This precarious task requires the correct tools and strategy. For safety and efficiency purposes, a pest control expert should be consulted before any bee control technique is attempted.

Wasps

Appearance

Varies tremendously depending on species. Most have two pair of wings and a pinched waist. They range in colors from black to metallic greens and blues and vary in size from almost microscopic to several centimeters long.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Wasp species are categorized as social or solitary. As their name implies, social wasps live in colonies, which may number in the thousands. Within these colonies, female workers perform all duties within the nest. Solitary wasps live alone and therefore do not have a colony. They do lay eggs, but their eggs are left alone to hatch.

Some wasps are predatory, while others are parasitic. Predatory wasps kill and consume other insects as well as other animals which they often feed to their larvae. Parasitic wasps typically lay their eggs in the bodies of living creatures like caterpillars or spiders. The larvae feed on the still-living host. Wasps can assist in the management of other pests, particularly in agriculture as biological control agents. Many wasps also feed on nectar from flowers and therefore function as pollinators.

Some wasps are aggressive and can sting when threatened. Unlike honey bees, wasps often are capable of stinging multiple times.

Reproduction

Late in the summer, the queen of some species will produce unfertilized eggs. These will develop into males. The males will fertilize the wasps that will become the queens of the following year. These fertilizes females will overwinter in a sheltered location. In most cases, the rest of the colony will perish when winter comes. Next spring, the queen will start laying eggs. The fertilized eggs that they produce will become workers, building the nest and feeding the larvae produced by the queen.

Signs of a Wasp Infestation

Signs are dependent on species, but most often the workers and the nest are the most likely signs.

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