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Wasp, Hornet, and Stinging Insect Control

Close up of a paper hornets nest with a few hornets around the entry hole

There are more than 100,000 species of wasps in the world, and dozens that occasionally become pests in Georgia. But a small number of species account for the great bulk of stinging insect calls, and those are the ones that appear on this page.

We probably should mention at this point that although wasps and bees are related, they're not not the same. Wasps and bees belong to the same taxonomic order (Hymenoptera, which also includes all ants), but different families. In and around Macon, most of the stinging insect calls we respond to are for hornets or other wasps, not bees.

More so than for most insects, wasps and hornets are not good jobs for do-it-yourselfers. Yes, you can purchase hornet spray from your local hardware store. The problem is, you only get one chance to aim it right. If your aim is off... well, a whole colony of angry hornets coming at you at full speed is not part of a happy day.

In addition, many wasp and hornet jobs require special equipment. Most of the time this includes a protective wasp suit (kind of like a bee suit, but heavier-duty). It may also include long ladders, or even lift trucks for some jobs.

Long story short, you're probably better off not attempting wasp control yourself, and you especially shouldn't attempt hornet control yourself. Call us instead. It's what we do.

Bald-faced Hornets

Baldfaced hornets nest in a tree

A bald-faced hornets' nest in a tree

Bald-faced hornets are stocky wasps that are mainly black in color, with white or yellow markings. They live in colonies that can reach several thousand individuals in number, and live in nests built of paper. The nests have a corrugated-like structure inside where they raise their young, and it's covered by another layer of paper that gives the outside an oblong appearance.

Hornets' nests are usually attached to or suspended from trees, buildings, power lines, utility poles, and other objects. They can vary in height from eye-level (and sometimes lower) to very high in the air.

The entry hole to to a hornets' nest is usually on the very bottom, and two or three "sentries" guard the hole at all times. The number of hornets in the nest varies depending on the time of day, but there are always enough inside to defend the colony. If the sentries decide that something near the nest is a threat, they signal to the rest of the colony; and all the wasps inside the nest, and those close by the nest, will attack whatever the threat is.

Once they attack, hornets are mercilessly aggressive. Perhaps worse yet, they're unpredictable. There's no telling when they may decide that someone is a threat. Perhaps some sentries are more paranoid than others. But for whatever reason, it's not at all unusual for a hornet colony that previously ignored people nearby to suddenly decide to attack those people.

European Hornets

Top view of a European hornet

European hornets are common in Macon and throughout Georgia

There's another specie of hornet that's pretty common in and around the Macon area and throughout Georgia. European hornets are a bit larger than bald-faced hornets and have a much brighter, more distinctive orange and black coloration. They also have a very loud, frightening buzz that sounds kind of like a small airplane just flew by your ear; and their droppings have a horrible, foul-smelling stench.

European hornets usually don't build exposed nests like bald-faced hornets do. They like building their nests in protected areas like hollow trees, attics, sheds, and other voids. In fact, when European hornets get into homes, it's usually the smell that alerts the homeowner to the problem, not a visible nest.

The buzzing and the foul smell of their droppings may be part of the European hornet's defense mechanism, because they're quite a bit less aggressive than bald-faced hornets. They'll still attack if you get too close to the nest, making them a poor choice for a DIY job; but usually if you keep your distance, they'll leave you alone. The smell is usually the reason why customers want these hornets removed; and indeed, if the problem isn't solved, the smell will just get worse as the colony grows.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jacket wasp

Yellow jacket wasps are common in Macon and throughout Georgia

There are quite a few wasps that are called "yellow jackets," either correctly or otherwise. It's really more an informal descriptive term that's applied to a lot of different wasps with predominantly yellow coloration, than a particular specie of wasp.

The wasps that we Georgians refer to as yellow jackets are usually various wasps of the genus Vespula. One of the most common is Vespula germanica, shown on the right, which is also known as the European wasp or the the German yellow jacket.

Like European hornets, yellow jackets don't like building exposed nests. They build paper nests in void areas, and if those areas are tight, will build the nests in the shape of the void. If they have more room, they usually build one side of the nest flat against a vertical surface of the void (for example, flat against an attic wall), and then build the nest out from there in a roughly round shape.

Some of the places where yellow jackets build nests include attics, wall and ceiling voids, sheds, old cars, hollow trees, and roof soffits. The entry holes may be very close to or very far from the nest, and usually they have more than one. This makes finding the nest difficult -- for most companies, anyway. When we're not sure where the nest is, we have newfangled gadgets like infrared cameras to help us. It's usually preferable to find and directly treat the nest in order to prevent wasps from escaping into the living area.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps on a nest

There are many species of paper wasps common in and around Macon

If you thought there were a lot of different wasps called "yellow jackets," that's nothing compared to the number of wasps we call "paper wasps." As with yellow jackets, paper wasps are not a particular insect so much as an informal group of wasps that build their nests out of paper. That narrows it down to a few thousand species, but only a handful are commonly found in Georgia.

Paper wasps tend to build their nests in semi-protected areas that are exposed to the outdoors, but shielded from rain. They're commonly found under soffits, around door and window frames, under patio umbrellas and porch roofs, on playground equipment, inside hollow metal fence posts, and in other similar places.

Depending on the specie, paper wasps may be social, solitary, or something in between (several solitary wasps building nests adjacent to each other in a loosely-social manner). Their sizes and colors also vary: Paper wasps vary in size from about one-half inch to almost two inches, and may be black, yellow, brown, orange, red, or multicolored. Like we said, it's really an informal grouping, not a particular wasp.

As a group, paper wasps tend to be less aggressive than other wasps. Their stings are painful, but they don't usually attack unless you act aggressively toward them (for example, by swatting at them).

Cicada Killer Wasps

Cicada killer wasp

Cicada killers are large, solitary wasps that live in the soil and prey on cicadas.

Cicada killers are sometimes called "lawn wasps" because that's where people usually see them. They can be terrifying to some people because the males fly very aggressively and make a loud buzz. But it's all just bravado. They have no stingers, so the worst they can do is annoy you. The females have stingers, but they rarely sting.

The other way cicada killers can be an annoyance is by their sheer numbers. Over a period of a few years, the number of cicada killers in a lawn can increase to the hundreds. They also make holes in the lawn that are very unsightly. These holes quickly cover over with grass, however, once the cicada killer problem is solved.

The cicada killer is named for its unique life cycle. Females have a venom that paralyzed cicadas, which they then drag down into their holes. They lay eggs in the cicada; and when the eggs hatch a day or two later, the larvae eat the cicada from the inside out. Yeah, it's pretty gross. Nature's always beautiful, but it's not always pretty.

Digger Bees

Another soil-dwelling stinging insect that's common throughout Georgia is the digger bee, which is an actual bee, not a wasp. They can do major damage to lawns, as well as terrify people who live on the property or use the lawns. They're really not very aggressive, however, and usually don't sting unless they're threatened.

Here's a video of a digger bee job we responded to.

Stinging Insect Gallery

Here are some pictures of wasp, hornet, and other stinging insect work we've done.

 

 

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Middle to South Georgia squirrels in the attic? Protecting homes since 2001 against wildlife. Everyone have a fun and safe weekend.
by Jason Arruda
Dec 03, 2021 03:50:03 pm.

Just finished up on a free quote in Albany Ga. Afterwards I was able to let the customer know that the noises they’ve been hearing are squirrels. Now headed to another in Macon Ga.
by Jason Arruda
Dec 01, 2021 11:07:54 am.

Good morning! Headed to Birmingham to quote a client with a multitude of rodent issues squirrels in the attic and rats in the crawl space. Then off to vestavia for squirrels and raccoons. Then to mccalla for more squirrels.
by Chris Scott
Dec 01, 2021 09:20:33 am.

The wildlife might be out of your house but they probably left something behind - like urine and feces, YUCK! Call us for quote to remove contaminated insulation and blow new back in! We can help!
by Amber A.
Nov 29, 2021 06:21:45 pm.

Outside wildlife is beautiful, but not so much if it’s in your home! We can help you keep the animals out! Give us a call for humane removal, and exclusion!
by Amber A.
Nov 19, 2021 09:33:12 am.

Busy day. In Tuscaloosa we have a customer with a bad wildlife problem. They have raccoons, rats, and squirrels. Got my crew in Birmingham for an exclusion for rats.
by Chris Scott
Nov 18, 2021 10:51:23 am.

Good morning everyone! Headed off to Birmingham lots of wildlife activity. My guys are sealing some houses today with raccoons and rats. Call Ridacritter (205) 490-6200 for any wildlife issues you have.
by Chris Scott
Nov 16, 2021 07:45:16 am.

Did you know mice don’t like the cold? If they choose your home to get warm in, give us a call. We can help!!
by Amber A.
Nov 15, 2021 06:59:47 pm.

Headed out to Alabaster and then Tuscaloosa. Got some quotes for customers with squirrel issues. Couple crews out sealing houses in the Birmingham area for some squirrel and mouse issues.
by Chris Scott
Nov 10, 2021 09:24:24 am.

It’s ok to get your Christmas decorations out of the attic a little early, but it’s not ok if you see some furry friends up there hiding in the boxes! If you have some extra visitors, give us a call!
by Amber A.
Nov 09, 2021 08:23:47 am.

The squirrels are in the lead for most calls this week! Lots of squirrel activity with this chilly weather! Give us a call for an estimate to animal proof your home.
by Amber A.
Nov 05, 2021 08:33:53 am.

Hope everyone had a good Halloween! Don’t let the animals trick you into making your home their home too!! If they do, we have some treats to get them out! Give us a call!
by Amber A.
Nov 01, 2021 07:34:48 pm.

Squirrels, bats & mice, oh my! Cooler temperatures bring more animals. Give us a call for a free estimate to remove the nuisance wildlife and animal proof your home!
by Amber A.
Oct 29, 2021 06:11:08 pm.

Leaving Hoover in route to Alabaster for another squirrel quote. Doing a couple of exclusion jobs in the Birmingham area today. Hopefully the rain holds off long enough to get these houses animal proofed.
by Chris Scott
Oct 29, 2021 09:42:05 am.

While most litters of squirrels are at least 4+ wks old by now, there are always a few late bloomers! If you suspect activity in your attic, give us a call for an estimate!
by Amber A.
Oct 27, 2021 09:59:04 am.

Ridacritter teams are all over Alabama and Georgia this week removing all kinds of critters from homes. The best way to get rid of rats, bats, squirrels & mice in Atlanta, Macon and Birmingham is to call Ridacritter.
by Richard Adcock
Oct 25, 2021 08:21:25 am.

In Warner Robins Ga. today finishing up a bat exclusion installing Ridge Guard on the ridge vents. Then I’m going to Mount Plesant Ga. for another exclusion quote.
by Jason Arruda
Oct 25, 2021 08:18:08 am.

Headed to Cropwell to look at a house with a squirrel problem in the attic. Got a big bat exclusion and removal job in trussville today. Mouse job in vestavia. Then back to Birmingham for squirrels.
by Chris Scott
Oct 25, 2021 08:16:14 am.

Its a beautiful Friday in Georgia! We are on our way to Tifton, Albany, Lizella, Macon and Valdosta to help customers with bats, rats and bats. We will remove those animals from their attics, walls and crawlspaces. We will seal to prevent
by Richard Adcock
Oct 22, 2021 10:28:25 am.

Been a busy day! From Birmingham to Mountain Brook to Vestavia. Lots and lots of squirrel calls. They are very active and very destructive.
by Chris Scott
Oct 21, 2021 02:20:17 pm.

Out here in Lizella Ga doing a animal exclusion on a home that has bats. Then we’re headed to Macon Ga to do a exclusion quote for squirrels.
by Jason Arruda
Oct 21, 2021 10:48:10 am.

Albany, Americus and Thomaston squirrel calls are on the rise. Scheduled them all today for exclusion quotes. Scratching noises in the attic prompted them to call. Call for your free quote.
by Jason Arruda
Oct 19, 2021 10:16:47 am.

Another busy day. Off to Tuscaloosa to quote a couple of clients who are interested in having their homes sealed to prevent rodent entry. Then to Mountain Brook for some squirrels in an attic.
by Chris Scott
Oct 19, 2021 07:55:58 am.

In Warner Robins starting a home exclusion. Bats in the attic.
by Jason Arruda
Oct 18, 2021 09:31:04 am.

As we get ready for the cooler weather, so do they! Monday has started off with lots of “animals/noises in attic” calls!! Call your local RAC office for an estimate on humane removal & exclusion!
by Amber A.
Oct 18, 2021 08:44:48 am.

Beautiful week ahead for helping customers rid critters from their attics. If you live in and around Birmingham AL, Atlanta, GA Macon, Ga and you hear animals in your home call Ridacritter. We can get those rats, bats & squirrels out.
by Richard Adcock
Oct 18, 2021 08:10:23 am.

Busy Saturday @ Ridacritter. We accepted new jobs or rat, mice, bat and squirrel removal in Indian Springs Village AL, Macon GA, Acworth GA, Harpersville AL & Albany GA. Don't share your house or attic with nuisance critters.
by Richard Adcock
Oct 17, 2021 09:07:05 am.

Wanna know the best way to get rid of rats, bats, squirrels, mice, raccoons and rodents? Call Ridacritter of course. A+ BBB, TrustDale Cert & over 20 years in business. Critter removal from attics and complete animal exclusions.
by Richard Adcock
Oct 14, 2021 08:19:18 am.

Headed out to Pell City to do a couple of evaluations for rodents one client has some snake issues under the house the other flying squirrels. Then a little drive over to Crowell for a rat and mouse quote.
by Chris Scott
Oct 14, 2021 08:16:35 am.

On my way to Tifton, Valdosta, Perry and Macon. We have rat, bat and squirrel removal jobs to do today. Customers will be happy when they no longer have animals in their attics. Hear noises in your attic? Call Ridacritter for a free quote.
by Richard Adcock
Oct 14, 2021 07:58:48 am.

Had a busy day today! Couple of customers in hueytown with squirrels in their attics. Went down to Pelham for another squirrel quote. Then finished out the day in Vestavia Hills for two more squirrel quotes. Lots of squirrels jobs today.
by Chris Scott
Oct 12, 2021 09:14:00 pm.

Good morning! I’m off to Leeds for a hornet’s nest. Then headed to vestavia for mice and snakes. Got a couple quotes in Birmingham for squirrels.
by Chris Scott
Oct 11, 2021 07:33:23 am.

The Macon, Georgia office of Rid-A-Critter provides stinging insect control in Macon-Bibb County, Georgia and the surrounding areas including Albany, Americus, Barnesville, Byron, Centerville, Columbus, Cordele, Culloden, Eastman, Fitzgerald, Forsyth, Fort Valley, Gray, Griffin, Hawkinsville, Juliette, Kathleen, Milledgeville, Perry, Roberta, Sylvester, Thomaston, Tifton, Valdosta, Warner Robins, Yatesville, and Zebulon. We are fully licensed and insured.

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