Bees and wasps are the stinging insects of most concern in New Jersey. Found on every continent except Antarctica and in all environments with flowering plants, bees are nature’s greatest pollinators and wasps, which feed on other insects, are nature’s pest controllers. Both are beneficial insects that because of their stinging behavior can pose a serious threat to humans.
NJ Stinging Insect Identification and Behavior
Sharing biological ancestry with ants, bees and wasps have six legs, chewing mouthparts, and two pairs of transparent or translucent wings with the hind wing slightly smaller than the forewing. Both bees and wasps undergo complete metamorphosis from egg to larva to pupa to adult. Some species live in huge communal colonies ordered by a strict caste system like ants; other species live solitary lives or in unstructured small groups.
With the sole exception of the Honey Bee, bee and social wasp colonies die out at the beginning of winter. A lone fertilized queen will over-winter deep in the hive or burrow into the ground, emerging in spring to begin a new colony and build a new nest. Old nests are not reused. Solitary wasps winter in ground burrows, also emerging in spring to mate and reproduce again.
How to Tell the Difference Between Bees and Wasps
Although they are often confused because of similar coloration, bees and wasps differ in several distinct ways. Bees are covered with short, dense hairs and are thick waisted; whereas wasps are smooth with thin, constricted waists.
Bees feed on plant nectar while wasps are primarily predators, feeding on other insects. Of particular importance is the difference in stinging behavior between bees and wasps. Bees have a hooked stinger and die after they sting, leaving their stinger with the attached venom sac in their victim. This makes a bee sting especially potent as venom continues to be released into the victim until the sac is empty.
Wasps, which include Yellow Jackets and Hornets, have straight stingers and can sting their victim repeatedly. Unlike bees which usually attack only when bothered or when their nest is threatened, wasps are extremely aggressive and may attack without provocation. As they sting, wasps release alarm pheromones to signal hive mates to join the attack. Repeated stings by swarming wasps can be fatal, even to the non-allergic.
Bee and wasp stings send more than half a million Americans to the emergency room every year and result in 50 to 100 deaths annually. For most people, bee and wasp stings are painful and cause swelling and itching that can last for several days. But for the more than 2.5 million Americans who are allergic to bee stings, a single sting can cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock that can be fatal if antitoxin is not promptly administered.
Protect Your NJ Home or Business from Stinging Insects
Stinging insects can be a serious problem for home and business owners. If you notice bees or wasps repeatedly flying in or out of an area or begin to find them inside your home, a bee or wasp nest is likely located nearby. Contact the Allison Pest Control professionals immediately. The potential danger from stinging attacks makes bee and wasp nest removal a job for experienced professional pest control experts.
Allison Pest Control’s Home Pest Protection Plans provide three exterior barrier treatments to limit stinging pest encroachment onto your property. Our experienced pest control technicians will provide free retreatments between regularly scheduled visits and provide interior inspection and treatment anytime; all you have to do is call.
Commercial businesses and properties have many options when it comes to bee and wasp treatment and hive removal. Ask your sales representative about services tailored to your specific stinging insect needs today or get a free pest inspection and prices.