Do you feel your home has been invaded by an army of yellow and black stinging insects? Considering the dangers of yellow jacket wasps, you may be right to feel concerned. However, your uninvited guests may be paper wasps that have no interest in you and your family. In fact, if you have a garden, you may want to allow your paper wasp colony to thrive. But how do you accurately identify such similar insects?
Both yellow jackets and paper wasps display these commonalities:
- Form colonies that last one year
- Create nests by chewing plant and wood fiber which they form into a nest structure with many holes.
- Are predatory omnivores, meaning they hunt other insects but will also eat nectar.
While they have this much in common, you can tell them apart by the following behaviors.
Yellow jackets scavenge meat in addition to hunting other insects, such as spiders, which is why you often see them at picnics. You may not notice any around your patio until you stoke up your grill. Once they detect delicious meat, yellow jackets tend to come out in numbers.
Yellow jackets also nest in the ground, often in abandoned rodent burrows, although some varieties will build their hives above ground. When they do, they usually build their nests with an outer shell for protection rather than the open, umbrella-shaped nests of paper wasps.
The most important difference is the aggressive tendencies of yellow jackets to sting. If they feel in any way threatened, they won't hesitate to sting. Unfortunately, when they nest in the ground, just passing by can be viewed as a provocation.
Paper wasps, on the other hand, prefer live meat, going after pestiferous insect larvae with voracious appetites. While they will sting if you actively threaten the hive, mostly they just want to eat the larvae of insects that damage your garden. Because they efficiently wipe out infestations of undesirable bugs — and do a little pollinating, too — you may wish to avail yourself of their excellent pest control capabilities rather than eradicate them.
Distinguishing Physical Features
While very similar in appearance at first glance, you can tell them apart by the following differences.
- Black antennae
- Thicker waists
- Wider wings
- Retracted legs in flight
- European variety has orange antennae
- Longer bodies
- Significantly more black than yellow
- Darker wings
- Dangling legs when in flight
- Very narrow waists making a sectional appearance
The aggressive nature of yellow jackets can threaten your family and virtually eliminate your ability to enjoy your patio in the summertime. You definitely should try to control them. However, the insect control benefits of paper wasps override the minuscule odds of attack. If your family has no member allergic to the venom of stinging insects, you should seriously consider allowing paper wasps to flourish. If you're having a tough time telling them apart, give us a call at Perfection Pest Control. We can accurately identify wasps and offer expert advice. Please give us a call today!
Excepting chirping crickets and pretty ladybugs, most of us have a horror of bugs. Unfortunately, insects with females that need blood for food in order to reproduce live everywhere around you and can threaten your health and peace with their bites. Here's a little introduction to our common biting insect species that you certainly want to avoid if at all possible.
Mosquitoes need water to breed. Therefore, any place with a lot of water will almost certainly have a population of them. While they're a good insect for bats, birds, fish and other creatures that feed on them, they're not so good when they feed on us. The males do not bite, but there never seems to be a shortage of females that do. Mosquitoes carry several types of communicable diseases which they spread when biting. In North America, mosquitoes can spread West Nile Virus. Mosquito bites, at the very least, cause red, itchy welts that you'd rather avoid.
To lessen the numbers of mosquitoes harassing your family, make sure you empty anything on your property that holds standing water after a rain or irrigation. Also, keep your thick vegetation, such as grass and weeds mowed regularly and your trees and shrubs trimmed. This will also help protect you from ticks.
As arachnids (like spiders), ticks have no wings by which to come to you. Rather, they wait patiently on tree branches, leaves and grass until a mammal brushes by. Then they drop down or climb aboard and look for a good place to bite.
Found in heavily vegetated areas, ticks also spread disease. Dog ticks, black-legged deer ticks, lone star ticks and Rocky Mountain wood ticks make up the majority of species in the United States. Hazards of tick bites include Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease.
They vary in color, from gray to dark brown, and appear like flattened ovals. The longer the head remains under the surface of the skin once it bites, the better the chances an infected tick will pass on the parasite or bacteria of infection.
Bed bugs come out at night when you're sleeping. At a quarter of an inch long, you can readily see adults if you expose them. They resemble apple seeds in shape and color. While bed bugs don't spread disease, they do cause a lot of annoying, itchy welts. Like with fleas, you can develop an allergy to bed bug saliva, which renders further bites more dangerous.
The tiny flea has a narrow body and reddish brown color. The common species is the cat flea which loves to feast on pets and humans alike. It, too, spreads disease, such as the bubonic plague and murine typhus. Also, they can act as intermediate hosts for tapeworms.
Eradicating biting insects from your home and yard presents a daunting challenge. Some retail "solutions" can even make the problems worse. To create a safe environment for your family, call us at Perfection Pest Control. We will happily inspect your property for pests and offer a sensible plan to exterminate any pesky species invading your space. Contact us today!