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Wasp, Hornet, and Stinging Insect Control

Digger bee holes in a lawn

Digger bee holes in a lawn

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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Hope everyone has a great weekend!!
by Amber A.
Jun 12, 2021 07:23:35 pm.

It’s a competition between bats and raccoons getting up in the attics the last few days! If it’s in your attic, we can get it!
by Amber A.
Jun 11, 2021 06:04:09 pm.

The rain seems to be driving the animals in! We can get them out!
by Amber A.
Jun 10, 2021 06:04:42 pm.

The rain doesn’t scare the animals away! If you’ve noticed one taking shelter in your home, give us a call!
by Amber A.
Jun 07, 2021 07:24:17 pm.

Out and about in LaGrange Ga on snake calls. Give us a call for a free quote today.
by Jason Arruda
May 25, 2021 02:16:41 pm.

Yellow jackets built a huge nest in the attic of a house in Columbus, Georgia. We have a team on their way to kill the wasps and remove the nest. Removing treated yellow jacket nests isn't strictly necessary, but we usually do it if the nest is accessible.
by Webmaster
May 25, 2021 10:33:58 am.

Here's a Paper Wasp Nest Removed from a Garage in Albany, Georgia
by Webmaster
May 25, 2021 10:18:30 am.

A Paper Wasp Built a Nest on the Ceiling in a House in Columbus, Georgia
by Webmaster
May 25, 2021 10:12:02 am.

Hope everyone has a great weekend!
by Amber A.
May 21, 2021 06:06:17 pm.

Happy Friday!! Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!
by Amber A.
May 14, 2021 06:04:38 pm.

I think there was more animal activity outside then inside today! If they get in, we can get them out!
by Amber A.
May 13, 2021 06:10:20 pm.

Cooler weather coming in means the animals coming in! We can help! :)
by Amber A.
May 11, 2021 06:58:32 pm.

Here's What Happens When a Trainee Drops His Cell Phone Inside a Wall
by Webmaster
May 04, 2021 10:23:55 am.

What a Monday! Hope everyone stays safe out there!
by Amber A.
May 03, 2021 06:03:57 pm.

Happy Friday! I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend!
by Amber A.
Apr 30, 2021 06:13:44 pm.

We have a team treating and removing a yellow jackets wasp nest from a cabin in Macon, Georgia. The cabin has been vacant for a while and the yellow jackets are building a nest in the living room. We'll get rid of them.
by Webmaster
Apr 22, 2021 10:26:03 am.

We have a technician from our Macon office taking care of a paper wasp problem at a house in Columbus, Georgia. The wasps are building nests under the soffit, and under the roof and the window frames on the porch.
by Webmaster
Apr 05, 2021 10:33:08 am.

One of our technicians is finding and treating a yellow jacket nest in a house in Valdosta, Georgia. The wasps are coming into the living area of the house through the recessed lights. He'll find the nest and treat it.
by Webmaster
Mar 31, 2021 10:30:19 am.

A crew from our Macon office is treating a yellow jacket wasp problem at a house in Columbus, Georgia. The nest is actually in the attic, but the wasps are getting into the bedrooms through the recessed lighting fixtures.
by Webmaster
Mar 30, 2021 10:15:47 am.

Hope everyone stays safe from the storms. Listen out for animals, they might be taking shelter too!
by Amber A.
Mar 17, 2021 05:45:47 pm.

Today is a wonderful day to call Ridacritter for all of your nuisance animal exclusion needs! We cover rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons, and more!
by Jake A.
Mar 12, 2021 02:54:13 pm.

Warm weather brought out calls for several animals today! From Snakes, to squirrels, mice and bees!!
by Amber A.
Mar 10, 2021 07:41:48 pm.

Rats, mice and squirrels today. Wildlife repairs with trapping. Animal exclusion needed call us for a free quote.
by Jason Arruda
Feb 25, 2021 10:58:52 am.

Rainy all over Georgia it seems like. Hard for us to keep dry when we’re determined to evict the animals and seal to keep them out. In Albany Ga now for a couple quotes and then to Zebulon Ga for another quote for squirrels removal. Be safe
by Jason Arruda
Feb 18, 2021 11:10:35 am.

Our technicians are repairing rat damage to a drain line at a house in Macon, Georgia. The rats also got into the house itself, so we'll be non-chemically trapping and removing them and rat-proofing the house.
by Webmaster
Feb 10, 2021 10:59:15 am.

Bats in Roberta Ga, Rats in Macon Ga and Mice in the walls in Warner Robins Ga. call for a free quote.
by Jason Arruda
Feb 09, 2021 11:43:49 am.

Exclusion quote done in Eastman Ga this morning now I’m headed to Thomaston Ga for another exclusion quote. Customer hearing noises in the wall.
by Jason Arruda
Feb 08, 2021 01:10:45 pm.

Cold and windy day like today reminds me why animals like the warmth and safety of an attic and or crawl space. It’s cold outside stay warm everyone, but if you find yourself hearing scratching noises in the attic/walls give us a call.
by Jason Arruda
Feb 02, 2021 04:49:14 pm.

Headed over to Albany Georgia for a quote to exclude squirrels.
by Jason Arruda
Feb 02, 2021 11:44:36 am.

Give Ridacritter a call for any of your nuisance animal needs. From Bats, to Bees, Squirrels, to Rats, Ridacritter solves all of your problems. Call for an exclusion today!
by Jake A.
Jan 30, 2021 10:25:50 am.

Very busy right now. Lots of squirrels and rats in the Birmingham and surrounding areas. Looks like bats are flying already as I’ve got several bat jobs to look at this week. Had a customer yesterday with squirrels and bats.
by Chris Scott
Jan 26, 2021 08:07:01 am.

We have a team in Macon Ga finishing up on a flying squirrel exclusion job. Local and dependable give us a call.
by Jason Arruda
Jan 18, 2021 01:41:30 pm.

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.

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