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yellow jackets traps

Basic Information as to Stinging Insects

Wasps and bumble bees have annual colonies that last for only one year. The colony dies in the fall with only the newly produced queens surviving the winter. The new queens leave their nests during late summer and mate with males. The queens then seek out overwintering sites, such as under loose bark, in rotted logs, under siding or tile, and in other small crevices and spaces, where they become dormant. These queens become active the following spring when temperatures warm. They search for favorable nesting sites to construct new nests. They do not reuse old nests.

Honey bees are perennial insects with colonies that survive more than one year. Honey bees form a cluster when hive temperatures approach 57° F. As the temperature drops, the cluster of bees becomes more compact. Bees inside this mass consume honey and generate heat so that those in the cluster do not freeze. As long as honey is available in the cluster, a strong colony can withstand temperatures down to -30° F. or lower for extended periods.

Wasp and Bee Stings

Wasps and bees sting to defend themselves or their colony. Stinging involves the injection of a protein venom that causes pain and other reactions. Wasps and bumble bees can sting more than once because they are able to pull out their stinger without injury to themselves. If you are stung by a wasp or bumble bee, the stinger is not left in your skin.

Honey bees have barbs on their stinger which remain hooked in the skin. The stinger, which is connected to the digestive system of the bee, is torn out of the abdomen as the bee attempts to fly away. As a result, the bee soon dies. If you are stung by a honey bee, scratch out the stinger (with its attached venom gland) with your fingernail as soon as possible. Do not try to pull out the stinger between two fingers. Doing so only forces more venom into your skin, causing greater irritation.

Most people have only local reactions to wasp and bee stings, although a few may experience more serious allergic reactions. Local, nonallergic reactions range from burning, itching, redness, and tenderness to massive swelling and itching that may last up to a week. These local reactions can be treated with ice, vinegar, honey, meat tenderizer, or commercial topical ointment to relieve the itching. An allergic reaction may include hives or rash, swelling away from the sting site, headache, minor respiratory symptoms, and stomach upset. These allergic reactions are not life-threatening and can be readily treated with an antihistamine.

Very rarely, a person may suffer a life-threatening, systemic allergic reaction to a bee or wasp sting, which can cause anaphylactic shock (fainting, difficulty breathing, swelling, and blockage in the throat) within minutes of being stung. These systemic symptoms are cause for immediate medical attention. People with known systemic allergic reactions to bee or wasp stings should consult with their physician to obtain an Epi-PenTM or Ana-Guard Sting KitTM to carry with them at all times. The venoms of bees and wasps are different, so having a severe reaction to a wasp sting does not mean a person will have the same reaction to a bee sting. It is vital to maintain pest control especially in situations where allergies are involved.

During late summer and fall, yellow jackets become aggressive scavengers and frequently disrupt outside activities where food or drink is served. Control of scavenging wasps is difficult, as there are no insecticides that effectively repel or discourage them.

The best strategy is to minimize attracting them is to wait to serve food and drink until people are ready to eat. Promptly put away food when done and throw garbage into a container with a tightly fitting lid. Examine glasses, cans, and other containers before drinking from them to check for wasps that may have flown inside. If a wasp flies to your food, wait for it to fly away or gently brush it away. If only a few yellow jackets are bothering your activity, ignoring them or capturing them with a net and may be sufficient. Traps may catch a considerable number of wasps, but not enough are captured to noticeably reduce the wasp population in the fall. Consider a reputable pest control company to address any major concerns.

About the Author

Best Pest LLC offers affordable pest control for Livingston County, MI and the surrounding areas. Their expertise in providing quality, affordable services for commercial and residential clients is unparalleled. For more information please visit Best Pest LLC.

The yellow jacket trap

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