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The Truth About Yellow Jackets & Wasps

The truth is, many people mistakenly call Yellow Jackets “bees” due to their size and sting, but they are actually wasps. Wasps can pose a serious threat to many homeowners throughout Texas. Not only can these insects be a nuisance, but their stings can be very painful. In many cases, they can even be dangerous for those who are allergic. One sting is powerful enough to cause a severe allergic reaction requiring medical attention. Wasps are known to be very aggressive and they will not hesitate to defend their hive. 

Wasps and bees continue to be a problem throughout Texas. They tend to be more of a nuisance during periods of drought when they search for water and food sources. Even though they can be pests, wasps do play an important role as pollinators and controlling unwanted insects. 

The Difference Between Wasps & Bees:

Wasps are usually categorized as social or solitary: social wasps live together in nests where members can reach the thousands, while solitary wasps live on their own. Both Paper wasps and Yellow Jackets are very common in Texas, as well as the Bald-faced hornet, which is actually not a “true” hornet. Because the potential for problems and how to control each species differ, it is important to distinguish between the various types found in Texas.

  • Bees feed on pollen and nectar. Most wasps develop by feeding on other insects.
  • Most all insect stings are from yellowjackets
  • Honeybees and bumblebees make nests of wax. Yellowjackets, hornets and paper wasps make nests of paper. Solitary species nest in existing holes, rotting wood, and natural cavities. Some even make their nests out of mud.

Paper Wasps

Adults have a narrow waist and six thin, long legs that “hang” below their bodies. Their bodies are black or brown with yellow and sometimes orange markings. Being fairly large, the adults grow to between ½ and 1 inch in length. They can also be identified by their umbrella-shaped nests they create from a paper-like material.

Yellow Jacket Wasps

Due to Yellow Jackets having bands of yellow or orange and black, they are commonly mistaken for honey bees.  Yellowjackets typically nest underground using existing rodent burrows and occasionally nests can be found in dark crawl spaces, wall voids, and eaves.

Using baits and traps for the control of yellowjackets has known to be successful. The chemical heptyl butyrate tends to attract the western yellowjacket and is included as a lure.  These traps can be helpful when used early in the summer when their numbers are small.

Bald-faced Hornets

The Bald-faced hornets are not “true” Hornets and they are actually related to the Yellowjacket. Their appearance is also similar to the body of the Yellow Jacket, the body is mostly black from their head to the abdomen with stripes.  The only difference is the Bald Faced Hornets bands are white instead of yellow. These social insects tend to make their habitats in developed areas like backyards, gardens, parks and forest areas.

These insects build their paper nests at least three or more feet off of the ground. You usually see them in trees, shrubs, on overhangs, and structures. These nests can be as large as 14 inches in diameter and more than 24 inches in length. Bald-faced hornets are extremely aggressive and will attack anyone or anything that invades their space. Other stinging insects may rarely sting unless they feel threatened.  

Call in the Professionals

Wasps, bees, and Hornets continue to be a serious nuisance problem throughout Texas, particularly late in the summer or periods of drought. In many cases, the only pest control services needed are pesticides; in other situations, the entire hive will need to be removed. It is best to rely on the professionals for the safety of your family. For all your pest control services, call Beeline Pest Control in Texas at one of our convenient locations today at (210) 739-1320.