Types of Bees and Wasps in Phoenix
Paper wasps typically build open coned nests such as these in covered areas such as roof eaves, overhangs, lamp posts, picnic tables barbecue grills and any small covered structure. However, they do enter homes through the breather space at the edge of the roof line. They can also enter through bathroom, stove and dryer vents.
All wasps will defend their nests, but the Yellow Jackets and hornets are the most aggressive. They can be distinguished from bees by their thin “waists.” Bees are thick-wasted. They fold their wings lengthwise when at rest. Like all wasps, yellow jackets prey on a variety of insects and other arthropods. Yellow jackets will also forage on foods that people eat, especially sweets and meats.
They are considered beneficial insects, because they eat other insects. The yellow jacket colony will remain active for only one summer, after which the queens will fly away to start more colonies. The remaining ones, die at the end of the summer, the nest is not reused.
They usually nest in the ground, but will nest also in railroad ties, wall voids, and other above ground locations. In the spring, most yellow jackets will feed on insects. Many homeowners see ”bees” flying around their hedges. These “bees” are usually yellow jackets and are there to eat insects on the foliage. Spraying the hedges with an appropriate insecticide will kill the food source of the yellow jackets, and they will soon leave the area.
In the fall, wasp colonies have become the largest size, and foraging workers may be a serious nuisance as they search for food people eat or discarded food.
If a colony is disturbed, they can become very aggressive and sting. Stings are mostly temporary, but painful. For allergic individuals a single sting may result in a serious reaction, requiring immediate medical treatment.
The Africanized bee, also known as the Africanized honey bee, and known colloquially as the “killer bee”, is a hybrid of the western honey bee species, produced originally by cross-breeding of the East African lowland honey bee with various European honey bees such as the Italian honey bee.
The Africanized honey bee was first introduced to Brazil in 1956 in an effort to increase honey production, but 26 swarms escaped quarantine in 1957. Since then, the hybrid has spread throughout South America and arrived in North America in 1985. Hives were found in south Texas in the United States in 1990.
Africanized bees are typically much more defensive than other varieties of honey bee, and react to disturbances faster than European honey bees. They can chase a person a quarter of a mile; they have killed some 1,000 humans, with victims receiving ten times more stings than from European honey bees. They have also killed horses and other animals.
As you might imagine, these pose an immediate threat to surrounding humans, and pets and should be dealt with by a professional immediately. Neighbors, friends and any passer-by should be made aware of their presence.
Bumble bees typically prefer nesting in mulch or deteriorating organic substance like pine straw piles, abandoned rodent burrows, under piles of grass clippings or leaves, stones, logs, etc. Occasionally bumble bees will establish a nest above ground in a wall, firewood pile, shed, crawl space or attic.
As social insects, bumble bees live in colonies. Each spring newly hatched queens that have survived the cold will leave their birth nest to find a suitable nesting site and establish their colony. Her first brood of eggs mature into workers that forage on pollen and nectar for food. The workers do produce honey, but it is not edible to humans. The bumble bees colony grows larger over the summer. The bumble bees will vigorously attack to defend their nest, so they are considered a safety concern.
Bumble bees can be a little tricky. The nest is not always in the location it seems to be. Spraying or pouring chemicals in their direction will usually do nothing more than make them angry. As with most dangerous pests , bumble bees are best left to professionals.
Most of the time, Honey Bees will be spotted when they are traveling with a new Queen from an existing nest to find a new location. Once in awhile people will get a nest of Honey Bees in their walls or attics. When they do, we will remove it and do our best to relocate the hive using one of several methods. The hive not only needs to be moved but the area also needs to be cleaned from all remnants of the honey and the hive to keep other insects from being drawn to the area.
Hornets have stings used to kill prey and defend nests. Hornet stings are more painful to humans than typical wasp stings because hornet venom contains a large amount (5%) of acetylcholine. Individual hornets can sting multiple times; unlike typical bees, hornets and wasps do not die after stinging because their stingers are not barbed and are not pulled out of their bodies.
The toxicity of hornet stings varies according to hornet species; some deliver just a typical insect sting, while others are among the most venomous known insects. Single hornet stings are not in themselves fatal, except sometimes to allergic victims. Multiple stings by non-European hornets may be fatal because of highly toxic species-specific components of their venom. The stings of the Asian Giant Hornet (Vespa mandarinia japonica) are the most venomous known.
People who are allergic to wasp venom are also allergic to hornet stings. Allergic reactions are commonly treated with epinephrine (adrenaline) injection using a device such as an EpiPen, with prompt followup treatment in a hospital. In severe cases, allergic individuals may go into anaphylactic shock and die unless treated promptly.
Although cicada killers are large, female cicada killer wasps are not aggressive and rarely sting unless they are grasped roughly, stepped upon with bare feet, or caught in clothing, etc. One author who has been stung indicates that, for him, the stings are not much more than a “pinprick”.
Males aggressively defend their perching areas on nesting sites against rival males but they have no sting. Although they appear to attack anything that moves near their territories, male cicada killers are actually investigating anything that might be a female cicada killer ready to mate. Such close inspection appears to many people to be an attack, but male and female cicada killers don’t land on people and attempt to sting.
If handled roughly females will sting, and males will jab with a sharp spine on the tip of their abdomen. Both sexes are well equipped to bite, as they have large jaws; however, they don’t appear to grasp human skin and bite. They are non-aggressive towards humans and usually fly away when swatted at, instead of attacking.
Cicada killers exert a natural control on cicada populations and thus may directly benefit the deciduous trees upon which their cicada prey feed.