Wasp, Yellow Jacket, Cicada Killer, & Digger Bee Control
Wasp and yellow jacket control are among our most in-demand summer services. As the Georgia summer gets hotter, stinging insect activity heats up — and so do our phone lines.
When most people think about stinging insects, the first species that comes to mind are honey bees. But actually, most of the stinging insects in Atlanta and North-Central Georgia are wasps or hornets, not bees.
Wasps and bees are related. They both belong to the taxonomical order Hymenoptera. But they are not the same insects. Among the many differences are that, unlike bees, wasps do not make honey, and most wasps are insignificant as pollinators.
In addition, honey bees are highly social, but wasps vary greatly in their social structure, ranging from none at all (as in the case of solitary wasps) to highly advanced (as in the case of hornets and some other social wasp species).
Wasps do have their place in the natural ecosystem, however. Some, in fact, are considered beneficial, like the cicada killer wasp, the aphid wasp, and several other parasitic wasps that help control destructive insect populations. But no wasp species is as vital and beneficial as are the bees.
Wasps of Georgia
There are many species of wasps that vary in their size, coloration, biology, and habits. They also vary in their aggressiveness. Some wasps, such as hornets and yellow jackets, are highly aggressive. But some other wasps, like many of the “paper wasps,” are relatively passive and usually won’t sting unless provoked.
The wasps most commonly encountered in Georgia are hornets, yellow jackets, and various species of paper wasps. We provide control of all of these wasps.
There are a number of wasp species commonly called yellow jackets in Georgia. These wasps vary in their appearance, aggressiveness, and habits. As a group, however, yellow jackets are considered very aggressive, although not quite so aggressive as hornets. They can deliver a painful sting and will attack in large groups if their nests are threatened.
Yellow jackets are commonly seen buzzing around trash pails, dumpsters, and discarded beverage containers where they are foraging for food; as well as around their nests, which may be located a considerable distance away.
Most yellow jacket wasps build nests in voids in hollow trees, attics, wall and ceiling voids, soffits, rock walls, abandoned cars, crawl spaces, and other protected areas. They also may build nests in the ground, usually in abandoned animal burrows.
In urban areas of Georgia & Alabama, yellow jacket control is often needed around picnic areas, outdoor cafes, golf courses, and other recreational areas.
In more rural parts of Georgia & Alabama, we get a lot of calls for yellow jacket control at farms, campgrounds, children’s summer camps, and residences. We have a variety of control methods that can be used to reduce yellow jacket populations in all of these areas.
As with yellow jackets, there are many species of wasps known as “paper wasps.” They get their name from their practice of building nests made of paper that they manufacture from chewed wood and bodily secretions.
Some paper wasp species prefer to build their nests in hollow voids in attics, roof soffits, wall voids, hollow fence posts, and similar areas. Other paper wasp species prefer building exposed nests, usually under overhangs, on window and door frames, or on the undersides of porch or gazebo roofs.
Most paper wasps are solitary, but multiple solitary paper wasps often build nests in the same areas. But most paper wasps are not considered “social” insects because there is no apparent division of labor nor cooperation between nests.
Most species of paper wasps are not very aggressive. They will attack and sting if threatened or provoked, but they are not as territorial as yellow jackets or hornets and are less likely to go out of their way to sting someone who isn’t bothering them. Paper wasp control varies in difficulty depending on the size and location of the nest and the aggressiveness of the particular species of wasp.
Cicada killer wasps (sometimes called “lawn wasps”) resemble large yellow jackets, but their behavior is unique. Cicada killers catch and paralyze cicadas, drag them into their nests in the ground, and lay eggs on them. The cicadas then serve as food for the cicada killer’s young as they develop. The eggs hatch within a day or two after they are laid, and the larvae feed on the cicadas.
Male cicada killers cannot sting and are harmless, but their aggressive flight scares people. It’s all a show. They don’t have stingers.
Female cicada killers do have stingers and may sting humans if they feel threatened, but they are generally non-aggressive toward people. Cicada killer control becomes necessary when the insects’ powerful, aggressive flying style scares people, when they do damage by creating unsightly holes in lawns or golf courses, or when they are present in great numbers and simply become too annoying to ignore.
Digger bees are a group of bees that live in the ground. Although technically solitary bees, they tend to dig their holes in close proximity to each other and may forage together. But each hole is an individual nest tended by one female. Digger bees are common throughout Georgia & Alabama, often occurring in the same places every year.
Although they can sting, digger bees are less aggressive than most other bees and wasps. They generally won’t sting unless they are threatened. Their stings can be painful, however, and are very dangerous to individuals with bee allergies.
Rid-A-Critter provides professional hornet control, yellow jacket control, wasp control, and carpenter bee control in Georgia & Alabama. We have the know-how and equipment to safely remove stinging insects from your property, no matter where they are nesting. Please call us for prompt, professional control of any stinging insect problem.
Hornet Control and Hornets’ Nest Removal
Hornet control and hornets’ nest removal are among our most in-demand summer services. As the Georgia summer gets hotter, hornets become more active and stay that way into the fall.
Hornets have a well-deserved reputation for delivering multiple painful stings, making hornet control a job for professionals.
Over-the-counter “wasp-freeze” products can be effective, but the problem is that you get exactly one chance to get the insecticide stream into the hole. If you miss, the entire colony of hornets will attack you.
Professional exterminators with the most modern and effective materials suit up in protective gear to take care of hornet problems. If professionals have that kind of respect for the stinging prowess of hornets, that tells you something.
Georgia Hornet Species
The most common hornets in Georgia & Alabama are the baldfaced and the European hornets.
Although commonly referred to as hornets, baldfaced hornets technically aren’t hornets at all. They’re wasps. We’ll call them hornets, however, because that’s what most folks call them.
Baldfaced hornets are the most aggressive wasps and the most common hornets in Georgia & Alabama. They’re hardy, ever-vigilant, aggressive, and unpredictable. Walking within three feet of a baldfaced hornet’s nest is like asking to be stung, but hornets often attack people who walk ten feet or more away from their nests.
Baldfaced hornets’ nests are built of paper and usually are suspended from trees or structures, but sometimes, they build nests in the ground or in hollow trees or other voids. Typically, two or three “sentry” hornets circle around the nest opening and watch for potential threats. If the sentries sense danger, they immediately alert the rest of the troops. When that happens, watch out!
Because hornets often build their nests in very high, difficult-to-reach places, many exterminators are unable — or afraid — to treat them. Not us. At Rid-A-Critter, we can handle any hornet control job, no matter how high the nest is. We have ladders, scaffolding, lifts, and even bucket trucks at our disposal, so we can handle the hornet control jobs that other Georgia & Alabama exterminators can’t.
European hornets (who really are hornets, by the way) are larger than baldfaced hornets. Workers average about an inch in length, and queens can be even larger. They also produce a loud and intimidating buzz. Despite their size and their buzz, however, European hornets are considerably less aggressive than baldfaced hornets. They’ll attack en masse if they feel threatened or if they are accidentally swatted at, sat upon, or otherwise bothered; but they’re less likely to attack people at a distance for the sheer joy of it.
Unlike baldfaced hornets, European hornets rarely build exposed or suspended nests. Most commonly, European hornets build their nests in hollow trees and other void areas. When they build their nests inside buildings, their droppings can result in a powerful, sickening stench. Sometimes the smell is the first clue a homeowner notices that they have a European hornet problem.
Hornets are very unpredictable insects. In fact, when people say they got stung by a hornet just for looking at it funny, they’re probably right. Hornets (especially baldfaced hornets) are fiercely protective of their nests and will attack in great numbers if they feel threatened.
When that happens, watch out! Hornets usually attack in great swarms that may number in the hundreds or thousands of individuals, and they can fly faster than any human being can run.
Hornet stings are very painful and can cause serious allergic reactions. Even people who are not particularly allergic to insect stings sometimes have to be hospitalized after being attacked by an entire hornet colony. Hornets’ nests in close proximity to areas where humans live, work, or play must be removed, and do-it-yourself hornet control is a bad idea because of the difficulty and risks involved.
Rid-A-Critter provides professional hornet control throughout Georgia & Alabama. We have the know-how and equipment to safely remove stinging insects from your property at a reasonable cost, no matter where they are nesting. Please get in touch with us for prompt, professional control of hornets or for any stinging insect problem.