We are hiring! Please click here for details.
Phone Icon Google+ Share Button Facebook Share Button Twitter Share Button

Wasp, Hornet, and Stinging Insect Control

Digger bees in a lawn

Digger bees 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.

 

Reviews and Affiliations


Council on Alcohol and Drugs - Certified Drug-Free Workplace Trust DALE Certified Logo Better Business Bureau Accredited Business A+ Badge



Social
Google+ YouTube Twitter


CritterTwitter

Interesting Video of a Queen Hornet After Her Nest was Destroyed
by Webmaster
Aug 13, 2018 12:30:53 pm.

Nice Video of a Hornets Nest Removed from a Soffit
by Webmaster
Aug 13, 2018 12:21:20 pm.

Here's Javors Removing a Hornets Nest from a Bamboo Tree
by Webmaster
Aug 13, 2018 12:12:41 pm.

Enjoy this Close Up Video of a Hornets' Nest Removal Job
by Webmaster
Aug 13, 2018 12:01:02 pm.

Javors Sent Video of a Hornets' Nest Removed from a Juniper Tree
by Webmaster
Jul 25, 2018 10:10:10 am.

Here's a Video of Bats in a Gable Vent
by Webmaster
Jul 23, 2018 09:59:00 am.

An Animal Inspection Revealed a Crack in the Foundation
by Webmaster
Jul 23, 2018 09:51:02 am.

Nice Video of a Hornets Nest Removal from an Azalea Bush
by Webmaster
Jul 19, 2018 09:45:41 am.

Here's a Video of a Hornets Nest Removed from a Tree
by Webmaster
Jul 18, 2018 10:08:19 am.

There Can Be Many Hidden Animal Entry Points on a House
by Webmaster
Jul 18, 2018 09:57:01 am.

Here's Carl Animal Proofing a House
by Webmaster
Jul 17, 2018 09:09:12 am.

Segundo Demonstrates How to Walk Past a Yellow Jackets Nest
by Webmaster
Jul 10, 2018 09:21:05 am.

Matt Sent a Picture of a Cicada Killer Wasp With a Cicada
by Webmaster
Jun 28, 2018 09:56:36 am.

New Google+ Post: What Kind of Cameras and Software Do We Use?
by Webmaster
Jun 19, 2018 12:43:49 pm.

Stunning Video of a Bald-Faced Hornet Emerging from Pupation
by Webmaster
Jun 19, 2018 11:06:56 am.

Here's a Close-Up of a Yellow Jacket Wasp
by Webmaster
Jun 18, 2018 10:16:27 am.

Here are Tim and Jason at the Georgia Pest Control Conference
by Webmaster
Jun 05, 2018 10:41:30 am.

Here's a Picture of a European Hornets Nest
by Webmaster
May 31, 2018 11:05:34 am.

Here's One Reason Why We Sometimes Run Behind Schedule
by Webmaster
Apr 17, 2018 10:41:14 am.

Here's Carl Finding a Well-Hidden Animal Entry Hole in a House
by Webmaster
Apr 16, 2018 10:38:26 am.

New YouTube Video: To Catch the Critter, You Must Become the Critter
by Webmaster
Apr 11, 2018 09:51:07 am.

These Pictures Prove that Carl Obviously Needs More Animal-Removal Work to Do
by Webmaster
Jan 18, 2018 11:22:59 am.

The Folks Up North May Laugh, but This is a Blizzard in These Parts
by Webmaster
Jan 17, 2018 12:02:41 pm.

The Management and Staff of Rid-A-Critter Wish All of our Customers and Friends a Happy New Year
by Webmaster
Dec 31, 2017 10:16:42 am.

The management, staff, and logo animals of Rid-A-Critter wish all of our customers, suppliers, friends, and site visitors a Merry Christmas
by Webmaster
Dec 22, 2017 11:46:48 am.

Based on This Picture, I Think Justin Has Too Much Time on his Hands
by Webmaster
Dec 12, 2017 09:46:14 am.

New Google+ Post: Hey, How About That Weather?
by Webmaster
Dec 11, 2017 09:56:53 am.

The management and staff of Rid-A-Critter wish all of our customers, suppliers, and site visitors a Happy Thanksgiving!
by Webmaster
Nov 22, 2017 11:01:57 am.

Here are Tim and Jason at the Georgia Certified Pest Control Operators Convention
by Webmaster
Nov 02, 2017 10:17:29 am.

Just a little Halloween Silliness
by Webmaster
Oct 31, 2017 10:45:32 am.

Here's a Video of Carl and Chad Watching the Eclipse
by Webmaster
Aug 31, 2017 12:00:44 pm.

Here's a European Hornets' Nest Attached to a House
by Webmaster
Aug 11, 2017 11:02:45 am.

The Macon, Georgia office of Rid-A-Critter provides stinging insect control in Macon, Georgia and the surrounding area, including Barnesville, Byron, Centerville, Cordele, Culloden, Eastman, Forsyth, Fort Valley, Gray, Griffin, Hawkinsville, Juliette, Kathleen, Milledgeville, Perry, Roberta, Thomaston, Warner Robins, Yatesville, and Zebulon.

Site and Photos © 2005 - 2018 Rid-A-Critter®. All rights reserved. Legal, Privacy and Warranty Information. This Web site designed and maintained by RJM Web Design.