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    Bees, Wasps & Hornets Extermination

    How does Toronto Pest Control Services Treat Wasps/Bees?

    The first step to treating any pest infestation is to properly identify the species. The knowledgeable operators at Toronto Pest Control Services can help (1-888-390-7378) or read on and the following article will also be of benefit in identifying your particular pest problem. All wasps and bees have a hole or nest. It may or may not be on your property. It is important to determine the location of the nest before it can be treated. Sometimes there is a hanging nest, or in a hole in the ground, or you may see wasps go in through a crack on the exterior of your home. Some bees drill holes in wooden beams and lay eggs inside. The application will vary depending on what sort of nest you have. No matter what sort of nest you have, the extermination will have taken full effect within 24 hours.


    How can I tell if it is a Bee or a Wasp?

    It is actually quite easy to tell a bee from a wasp. Bees appear to have hairy bodies due to their feather like individual body hairs (setae), while wasps appear to have smooth bodies because their body hairs are not branched. Wasps feed their young mostly animal protein such as insects or spiders while bees feed on and feed their young pollen, nectar and sometimes honey. Due to wasp food preferences they can exhibit scavenging behaviour which can be a nuisance. Social wasps with their aggressive foraging behaviour towards human food and soft drinks can be particularly annoying at outdoor events.

    What types of Bees or Wasps do we have in Southern Ontario?

    Solitary Bees

    Carpenter Bees

    Carpenter bees can have blue-black, green or purple metallic sheen and can be identified by a shiny and relatively hairless abdomen. Carpenter bees burrow in wood. They can be found in exposed drywood of buildings, fence posts, decks, telephone poles, window sills, eaves, raised decks, railings and wooden siding. Carpenter bees prefer bare exposed woods however they may also attack wood that is painted or varnished. Each female Carpenter bee will dig about 5 holes. Holes are approximately 12mm in diameter and up to 30cm long. Carpenter bees will tunnel into the wood against the grain. While they are solitary bees, many carpenter bees can infest one piece of wood. The more activity and the longer the activity of carpenter bees goes untreated, the more damage that can be done to the wood. The territorial males will hover around their territories in the hopes of chasing animals away from their space. While these male carpenter bees seem menacing and very aggressive as they fly around the head of humans, they lack a sting and are harmless. The female carpenter bee does possess a potent sting however they rarely use it.

    Social Bees

    Bumble Bees

    Bumble bees are large insects that are covered with dense branched hairs. This is what gives them their hairy appearance. They resemble carpenter bees, however the bumble bee abdomens are covered in hair while carpenter bees abdomens are relatively smooth. Bumbles bees are black with one or more band of yellow or orange setae. Bumble bees most often nest in the ground. They will use deserted rodent burrows, underneath patio stones, in piles of compost of dense long grass as their nesting sites. If they do make nests above ground they may occupy abandoned bird nests or structural voids associated with outside walls, patio roofing or decks. Bumble bee colonies in temperate regions such as Southern Ontario are small containing a dozen to a few hundred workers. Their nests are founded in the spring time by fertilized overwintered queens who rear the first brood until they mature into workers. This first group of workers will take on the responsibility of forging for food, attending to the young, the queen and defending the colony. When a bumble bee nest is disturbed the nest will emit a loud threatening buzzing sound which gives the impression that there are hundreds of bees inside. Bees that are greatly disturbed will exit and aggressively pursue invaders for a considerable distance from the nest. This behavior can represent a threat to humans.

    Honey Bees

    Honey Bees live in large colonies ranging from 20,000 to 80,000 individuals. They are the only social bee or wasp to have a true perennial colony surviving many years. There are three types of individuals that occur within a honey bee colony: queen, worker and drone. The vast majority of the colony consists of workers who will build and repair the hive, produce wax and honey, feed the young, forage for nectar and pollen and protect the hive against enemies. There will only be one egg laying queen in each hive. The drones (males) only purpose in life is to mate with virgin queens. They mate above ground in flight, and after the drone has successfully mated with the virgin queen, they fall to the ground and die. Drones are large in size and will buzz around menacingly but they lack a stinger and are harmless. Occasionally a queen may die or will leave a crowded nest hive with a portion of the worker population to search out a new nesting area. In a hive when there is an absence of the queen one or more diploid eggs and larva will develop into fertile females. This will only happen if the workers attending to them feed them sufficient "royal jelly". One dominant female will emerge and eliminate the competition. She then mates with available drones and assumes reproduction leadership of the colony.

    Solitary Wasps

    Mud Dauber wasps

    Mud dauber wasps will construct nests from mud that are often attached to the walls or ceilings of buildings. The female will collect spiders by paralyzing them with her sting and place them inside the mud chamber. She will then deposit an egg on one of the spiders in each chamber and then she will seal it off. The larval wasp hatches and will feed on the spiders the female has provided. It will then molt several times before pupating and transforming into an adult wasp. Mud dauber wasps are not aggressive and rarely sting.

    Social Wasps and Hornets


    These are the most important structure infesting wasp. They are moderately aggressive and very common. Yellowjackets are small wasps averaging 1.2cm long. In southern Ontario their colonies may consist of over a thousand individuals. Due to their opportunistic behavior of nesting in attics, structural voids in the walls of homes and cavities associated with landscaped features they are a threat to humans. They will scavenge in trash bins and forage upon beverages and food that is consumed outdoors. Colonies of these wasps are most obvious in the late summer and early fall when the numbers of their colony have peaked. It is in the fall when reproductive wasps will seek warm shelter and they are more likely to invade the living spaces of human structures. This is due to the cooler temperatures and reduced food stimulates.

    In Southern Ontario due to our climate only queens mated in fall or early winter will survive. Queens will spend the winter in protected sites such as under bark or stones, in shutters or shingles and also in abandoned rodent nests. In the spring the queen will emerge to establish a colony and will lay eggs. She will then forage for food, feed the young and start building the nest by collecting wood from which she will manufacture the paper used to make the nest. The queen does this alone until the first broods of workers mature, and then they take over her duties except for that of laying eggs. She will stay in the nest while the workers forage for food, feed the young, enlarge, repair and defend the nest. By the end of the summer, the nests may have multiple combs and hundreds of cells and workers. It is at this time when the colony will begin to produce males and new queens which will fly out of the nest and mate. After mating, the males will die and the mated females will seek sites to stay in over the winter. The founding queen and the workers do not survive the winter.

    Adult yellow jackets will feed mainly on sweet liquid materials such as fruit juices whereas the larvae are fed bits of soft-bodied insects. The workers will chew and condition the flesh before feeding it to the larva. The larvae are given protein food and will secrete a sugar containing substance that in return the workers will consume. Yellow jackets are also drawn to ornamental flowers in large numbers if the plants are infested with insects. They will forage on honey dew to satisfy their nutritional requirements for carbohydrates and metabolites. This behavior can sometimes lead people to believe that there is a nest in the shrubbery or tree that they are visiting.

    Bald-faced Hornet

    The term "hornet" refers to wasps who are large in size, exhibit aggressive behavior and who have a potent sting.

    Bald-faced Hornets are very similar to yellowjacket wasps in appearance except that they are larger (1.2-2cm long) and are striped white and black instead of yellow and black. They are easily recognized by their habit of building large paper nests usually hanging in a tree or shrub. The nest may also be constructed on the sides of buildings. Bald-faced Hornets are more aggressive than yellowjackets and are faster fliers. They will sting quickly if the nest is disturbed.

    European Hornet/ Giant Hornet

    As its name implies the European hornet or giant hornet is the largest of the vespid species in North America. They are quite rare in Ontario and can be very intimidating. These hornets are very aggressive and homeowners should not attempt to manage them without the help of a professional pest control company. Never attempt to block the entry hole of a nest in a wall as the hornets will almost certainly dig through the wall on the other side and come pouring into the interior of the building.

    Paper Wasp

    Paper wasps usually have small nests which typically have less than 100 cells. Their nests consist of a single comb with no paper envelope enclosing it. They like to build their nests under the eaves and porticos of homes, attic rafters, behind shutters, under the deck, among the louvers of gable vents, and in hollow components of playground equipment. To create their nests they gather cellulose fibers from dead wood or plant stems and mix it with saliva. This mix creates a water-resistant nest that is either a grey or brown paper Mache material. Colonies are founded in the early spring when the queens (mated females) emerge from hibernation. When the colony matures, next year’s queens and males are produced. Next year's queens will mate with the males and they will be the only members of their colony to survive through the winter. In the late summer or fall, the workers, males and founding queen all die. The mated females (next year's queens) will find areas in piles of wood, vegetation, voids in building structures to hibernate in through the winter months. Colonies are usually founded by one female who will dominate the colony and who will lay most of the eggs. She will lay the eggs, construct the nest, forage and rear the first generation of off spring. After the first generation she stops forging and will become the queen and rules by dominating the offspring of workers. If the queen dies, then the most aggressive worker will take over. This worker will then lay eggs and continues to dominate the workers. The workers who are unmated females can only lay unfertilized eggs that will develop into males. Therefore unfertilized eggs become males and fertilized eggs become females.

    Do Bees and Wasps all die off in the winter time?

    Most bees and wasps do die off in winter time but not all. In most bee and wasp colonies the original founding queen and all of the workers will not survive the winter. It is the queens who have mated and are fertilized who will find shelter over the winter and will emerge in spring time to find a nesting area and start to build their colonies. The only exception to this is the honey bee. Honey bees do not die off in the winter time; they can actually survive for many years. They are the only social wasp or bee to have a true perennial colony which survives many years. Since most wasp and bee colonies die off in the winter, Toronto Pest Control Services stops treating for wasp and bees by mid-end of September.

    The reason for this is because come this time of year as the temperatures start to cool, bees and wasps will start looking for warmer areas to try to survive, and by spraying a nest especially in a void or crack on a house may drive the wasps or bees to come into the house. It may make your problem worse. If you have a bee or wasp nest around this time of year the best thing to do is to leave it and let them die off on their own as they most definitely will.

    Do all bees and wasps sting? And do they die once they do sting.

    Most bees and wasps do have the ability to sting, however some are more aggressive than others. Bumble bees have the ability to sting but are not generally aggressive while hornets and yellow jackets also have the ability to sting and are often aggressive. Paper wasps can be occasionally aggressive. Maud Daubers are able to sting but rarely do. Most types of bees and wasps are able to sting repeatedly except for the honey bee. When a honey bee stings, their stinger, venom sac, muscle and other parts of their anatomy are ripped from its body and they soon die. Honey bees are the only type of bee or wasp that has a barbed stinger so if the stinger is not immediately removed the attached muscles reflex and will drive the stinger deeper and deeper in the skin. If the stinger is able to go deeper and deeper into the skin then it allows more time for the discharge of venom from the venom sac and the pain from the sting is augmented by this discharge of venom. So, although honey bees rarely sting it actually hurts more when they do. Carpenter bee males are very aggressive however it is all for show as they do not have a stinger. Female Carpenter bees do have a stinger but are generally very unaggressive.

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