Bees are bulky, hairy vegetarians that feed on nectar and pollen. You’re probably most familiar with honeybees and bumblebees, which are social bees that live in colonies. However, there are many other types of bees that lead solitary lives and raise their young in different environments (wood, dirt, leaves, etc.), such as carpenter bees, ground bees, mason bees, and orchid bees.
Wasps are carnivores with constricted waists and little to no hair. They feed on meat scraps, other insects, and spiders. Ew! Yellow jackets, hornets, and paper wasps are all social wasp species that live in colonies. They make paper nests located in the ground, in a void, or hanging from a tree branch, depending on the species. There are several solitary wasp species as well, like cicada killers, ground wasps, and dirt daubers to name a few.
There really are no preventive measures to take other than making sure your windows and doors are screened to keep bees and wasps from flying inside. If bees or wasps are found inside, the safest way to remove them is with a vacuum cleaner.
Wait, Did You Say “Vacuum” Them Up?
Unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to prevent bees and wasps, other than keeping your windows and doors screened and shut. Believe it or not, removing them with a vacuum cleaner if they get inside is the safest way to get rid of them.
How We Deal with a Bee or Wasp Infestation
Treatment strategies depend on the species and the situation. Reachable paper wasp nests and dirt dauber nests attached to the house are scraped down and removed. Solitary ground bees and wasps digging holes in your yard can be treated with an appropriate pesticide. Removal of social bee and wasp nests may require a specialized treatment method and may be handled by our wildlife department, depending on where the nest is located.
Bees and wasps, especially honeybees and bumblebees, are extremely valuable to our ecosystem—and not just because they provide us with delicious honey. They are important pollinators, and many of the fruits and vegetables we eat are dependent on them. Some wasps even help control garden pests, and some parasitize household pests, like cockroaches. Thanks, guys! But bees and wasps can become a nuisance when they create nests on, or near, our homes. Certain species can sting humans, causing pain and discomfort. Some people are highly allergic to these stings, and reactions can become life threatening. Honeybees can only sting once because they have barbed stingers that stay in the skin after the bee flies away. Other bees and wasps have smooth stingers and can sting multiple times.