WASPS are not wood destroying BUT they sure do sting. Wasp make their nest under eves and lawn furniture. They try to fool us by building in places they don’t think we look at or keep up with.
HORNETS are probably one of the most aggressive bee. They make a paper-like nest. We find them in trees, eves, attics and a variety of other places. We usually don’t notice them until the nest is the size of a baseball and usually don’t call to take it down until it’s the size of a basketball.
Century Termite and Pest offers a FREE inspection of your property for any nest. We treat the nest to kill the bees then return to remove the nest.
Honey bees are beneficial insects who live in colonies of tens of thousands of individuals presided over by a single Queen bee. Bees have lived in cooperation with humankind for millennia and, at this point, our way of life has become so dependent on them for pollinating our crops that we would be in deep trouble if we were to lose their services. Although there are other pollinating insects, the honey bee has the unique tendency to stick to one type of flower at a time as they forage. This behavior greatly increases the chances that the plants will come to fruit — and, as a result, that we will have those fruits to eat.
Honey Bee Biology
The vast majority of bees in a hive are worker bees. Workers are all female and only live about six weeks after they emerge from their cells in the hive. They begin as a fertilized egg, deposited by the queen into the bottom of one of the hexagonal cells that make up the structure of the hive. The egg is provided with a supply of ‘bee bread’ — a mixture of pollen and honey — then sealed into the cell, where it matures through the pupal stage into adulthood over a three-week period. After emerging from her cell, the bee is ready to work within about an hour — just enough time to unfold and dry her wings.
The first job of the worker bee is either to do odd clean-up jobs in the hive or to act as an attendant to the queen, who is largely helpless except for her job as an egg-layer. The workers feed her, prepare the cells for her eggs, clean up her waste and so on. After about three weeks, workers graduate to become foragers, flying up to five miles from the hive to find flowers for nectar and honey. A number of workers remain behind to guard the hive against predators from wasps and hornets to mice, rats, raccoons and bears. Foragers make several excursions a day during their short lives, giving up at last when their worn wings can no longer carry them.
Male bees are called ‘drones’ and are easily recognized by their large eyes and bulky bodies. Drones have one function in life: to fertilize a queen bee. The act of fertilization is both their finest hour and their last moment, as the implantation of the sperm vessel literally tears them apart. Like the queen, drones are fed by the workers, being unable to forage for themselves. They leave the hive each day for their ‘gentleman’s club’ populated by drones from all other hives in the vicinity. Here, they lounge about waiting for an un-mated queen to fly by. This method ensures that the pool of genes is kept in good circulation; drones mate at random with queens, no matter what hive they originate from.
Once mated, a queen can produce fertilized eggs for up to three years. When her capacity slows to a trickle, the workers sense this and begin to prepare for her replacement, a process called ‘supercession’. They construct number of special ‘queen cells’ — about the size and shape of a peanut — and move a fertilized egg into it. The egg, which would normally grow into a worker bee, is fed an enriched diet of ‘royal jelly’, a substance extruded from special glands in the worker’s heads. When the new queens have matured, they begin to signal their readiness by emitting a shrill call. This is their battle cry. With the worker’s help, the queen cell is torn away and the queens join in a fight to the death — there can only be one queen in a colony. Soon after her fight, the queen exits the hive for the first and, and often only time in her life. She instinctively heads for the drone enclave to mate and return, beginning the cycle anew.
Despite their benefits, bees have stingers and will use them in self-defense or to protect the hive. For most people, the sting of a bee produces a few minutes of pain followed by a couple of days of itchiness. In a minority of cases, bee stings can be anywhere from intensely uncomfortable to deadly. If you have ever had a bad reaction from a bee, wasp or hornet sting, it’s wise to get tested for bee venom allergy. People who know they have severe allergic reaction to bee stings can get a prescription for an EpiPen® — a pocket-sized device that injects the drug epinephrine — to arrest anaphylactic shock.
Unless you are a beekeeper, about the only time you’ll ever see bees in large numbers is when they swarm. Bees most often swarm because they are overcrowded in their hive. Within the confines of a hive box, there are only so many cells to store honey and pollen, but most importantly, to make new bees. When the colony senses that a critical threshold has been passed, the queen will gather about half of the bees to her and leave the hive. The remaining workers will then begin the process of supersession to create a new queen.
The swarm usually goes only a short distance on the first day — likely into the branches of a nearby tree. From here, scout bees will check out all nearby cavities for conditions suitable to start a new hive. It must be relatively dark and have limited access from the outside, though either of these factors may be sacrificed in a pinch. Once the verdict has be rendered — who knows how? — the swarm will move in and begin to work drawing new comb by creating wax with special organs in their abdomens. Bee swarms don’t do as well in the wild as they once did, due to the array of diseases and parasites to which modern bees are prey.
Bee swarms are not dangerous to humans and pets unless they are disturbed. They are mainly interested in finding a new home and have no energy left over for aggression. In addition, before leaving the old hive, the workers have filled their bellies with honey, both for their own fuel and to provide the raw material for creating wax to build the new combs. A honey-gorged bee can’t easily bend its body to get into position to sting.
If you see a swarm, you should not try to deal with it yourself — and you should definitely not spray it with water or poisons. Honey bees are protected by law and you could be penalized for harming them. Instead, call Century Termite and Pest. We have qualified personnel, experienced in swarm removal, to give them a safe and proper new home.
Wasps and Hornets
The term “wasp” is typically defined as any insect of the order Hymenoptera.
The majority of wasp species are parasitic and the ovipositor — or stinger — is used simply to lay eggs, often directly into the body of a host.
The characteristics of a wasp are: two pairs of wings, an ovipositor and few or no thickened hairs.
The various species of wasps fall into one of two main categories: solitary wasps and social wasps. A Solitary wasp is just that — they live and operate alone and do not construct nests. The Social wasps exist in colonies numbering up to several thousand strong and build nests of a paper-like material. They will gather fibers from weathered wood, then soften it by chewing and mixing with saliva.
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