Bees, Wasps, and Hornets, Oh My! – Preparing for Stinging Insect Season

a wasp pulling its stinger out of a human arm

Most people look forward to the return of summer each year. They cannot wait to spend time enjoying the outdoors and the many activities Florida has to offer. However, the return of summer also signals the return of stinging insects. Just the sight of these pesky insects can send many people running or cause them to freeze in fear of nasty, painful stings. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep these stinging insects out of your yard, allowing you and your family to safely enjoy your outdoor space all summer long!

Types of Stinging Insects

Stinging insects can be categorized into three species; Bees, Wasps, and Hornets.

  • Bees can often be identified by their fuzzy appearance. These hard-working pollinators are an essential part of our ecosystem; pollinating many fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Honey Bees and Bumblebees are the most common type of bees and are fairly harmless unless threatened. Carpenter bees are known to cause extensive damage to homes, burrowing into wooden structures to build their individual nest. 
  • Wasps come in a variety of shapes and colors; Mud Daubers, for example, are mostly black and have extremely thin long waists. While Yellowjackets are bright yellow and black. They are one of the most common wasps you may see. Yellow jackets and Paper Wasps build easily identifiable papery nests from chewed-up wood fibers. Wood daubers, on the other hand, build distinct nests made up of many small mud tubes.
  • Hornets are extremely useful in keeping the insect population at bay. Hornets have a reputation for being extremely aggressive, like the Bald-Faced Hornet. These hornets have unique white and black markings and will attack anyone who gets too close to their nest.

Clearing Your Yard of Stinging Insects

Getting rid of stinging insects is a top priority for many homeowners. Below are a few tips to keep your yard free of these unwanted pests!

  • Use Traps: Traps are extremely effective at eliminating any stray wasps or hornets that may come to crash your barbecue but will not get rid of nests. 
  • Remove abandoned nests: Some stinging insects will return to abandoned nests in the spring. Most stinging insects will abandon their nests when it gets cold, making winter the perfect time to scout your property and remove any nests you may find. Call professional exterminators to remove any nests during any season to prevent stings!
  • Keep food covered: Wasps and hornets are often attracted to your food. Make sure to cover any food left outside to deter these pests from crashing your picnic.
  • Secure garbage cans: Stinging insects will often swarm dumpsters looking for leftover food or sugary snacks. Keep garbage can lids tightly closed to keep hornets and wasps away.
  • Landscape to keep pests away: Some stinging insects are attracted to bright flowers that produce nectar. To keep these pests away from your patio, plant peppermint, citronella, or lemongrass around your home instead!

Professional Extermination

Removing a bee, wasp, or hornet nest can be a risky endeavor. These nasty pests have painful stings that can send some to the hospital. Removing stinging insects from your yard should be left to the professionals. The experienced pest control technicians at Florida Pest Control have the expertise and equipment to remove any nests from your yard safely and effectively. At Florida Pest Control we want you to be able to enjoy your yard without worrying about being stung.

Don’t let stinging insects ruin your outdoor fun; contact us today for a free quote and let us handle the job!

Avoiding Spring Insect Swarms

A swarm of termites in Florida

The warmth and humidity of spring in Florida draws many species of insects out of their winter habitats to feed and reproduce. Some of these insects are merely a nuisance but some of them can harm people or property. Learn which insects to watch for and what you can do to protect yourself and your home.

Insects That Swarm in Spring

Lovebugs: These small black flies with a red thorax and head are common in Florida during the spring and fall. They are known for their mating swarms, during which large groups of lovebugs can be seen flying together. While they are harmless to humans, their swarms can be a nuisance for drivers and can cause damage to cars if not cleaned off quickly.

Mosquitoes: Mosquitoes are a year-round problem in Florida, but their populations tend to peak in the spring and summer. Female mosquitoes swarm to find a mate and a blood meal, which they need to lay their eggs. Mosquito swarms can be a nuisance for people spending time outdoors, and they can also spread pathogens like West Nile virus and Zika virus.

Termites: Termites are known for their swarming behavior in the spring. In Florida, where the climate is warm and humid, termite swarms can occur as early as February or March. Homeowners should be vigilant for signs of termite activity, as they can cause serious damage to wooden structures.

Ants: Several species of ants are common in Florida, including fire ants, carpenter ants, and Argentine ants. In the spring, these ants may swarm to start new colonies. While they are not usually harmful to humans if not provoked, they can be a nuisance.

Bees: Several species of bees are active in the spring, including honeybees and carpenter bees. Swarms of bees can be dangerous for people who are allergic to bee stings, and homeowners should take care to remove any bee nests or hives near their homes. Particularly carpenter bees, which bore into wood to nest and can do significant damage to wooden structures.

Ways to Thwart Swarming Insects

There are several steps you can take to keep swarming insects away. Here are a few tips:

Eliminate sources of standing water: Mosquitoes and other insects are attracted to standing water, which they use for breeding. Remove any standing water from your property, including in bird baths, flower pots, and other containers.

Be cautious when eating or drinking outside:: Numerous insects, especially wasps, are attracted to food and sugar. If you have a barbecue or picnic, clean up promptly. Put leftovers in sealed containers. Ensure that sugary drinks are covered or sealed.

Maintain your lawn and landscaping: Keep your lawn and landscaping well-maintained to reduce the likelihood of insect infestations. Remove any dead or decaying plant material, and keep bushes and trees trimmed away from your home.

Consult a professional pest control company: If you’re dealing with an insect infestation, contact a professional pest control company, like Florida Pest Control. We can identify the type of insect and recommend the most effective treatment options so you can get back to enjoying your yard or outdoor space this spring.

What’s the Difference Between Bee Stings vs Wasp Stings?

What honey bees look like in Florida - Florida Pest Control

Most people have dealt with a wasp or bee sting at one point or another. It is widely known that their stings are painful, but not everyone knows about the serious side effects that they can cause in cases of allergic reactions.

If you need help identifying the stinging insects in your yard in Florida, look no further than Florida Pest Control. It is important to be able to tell apart bees and wasps to ensure that you are aware of the side effects that you might be in danger of.

Wasp vs Bee Stings in Florida

Bee stings and wasp stings can feel almost the same in some cases, but the processes of their stings are quite different. There are three main differences between bee and wasp stings:

  1. Stinger: When a bee stings you, it ejects its stinger into your body, rendering it unable to sting again. On the flipside, wasps’ stingers remain intact. They can sting you many times in a row.
  2. Volume: Bees sting just once, but inject all of their venom into their victim. This usually totals 50 micrograms of venom. Wasps only inject 2-15 micrograms of venom per sting, but they can issue many stings in a short amount of time.
  3. Venom: Wasps and bees have different allergens in their venom. Despite this, though, their stings both result in the release of histamine in our bodies, which causes a breakout of hive-like patterns on the skin.

Differences between wasp and bee stings in Florida - Florida Pest ControlDo Bee and Wasp Stings Cause Allergic Reactions?

It is possible to develop an allergic reaction to both wasp and bee stings. You might be allergic to one and not the other, both kinds of stings, or neither. Bee and wasp stings usually only result in mild symptoms, like:

  • Pain and soreness
  • Swelling
  • Itchiness and redness

Unfortunately, severe allergic reactions occur more commonly than many people expect. Thousands of people visit the emergency room annually for complications resulting from anaphylaxis, the most dangerous reaction that results from bee and wasp stings. The most serious symptoms of anaphylaxis are:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Swelling of the throat and tongue
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting
  • Pain and itchiness all over the body

Wasp and Bee Control in Florida

Bee and wasp stings should be taken very seriously. It is possible to experience an allergic reaction to a sting without experiencing severe symptoms in the past. If you can’t tell which kind of stinging insect is inhabiting your yard in Florida, ask your local pest control company. Our experts at Florida Pest Control can identify any type of bee or wasp on your property, locate their nest, and remove it safely and promptly. Contact us today for a free estimate on nest removal services!