Many people refer to all flying insects that sting as "bees," but most stinging insects that Virginia exterminators are called upon to control are actually wasps.
Aside from being able to afflict painful stings, bees and wasps present a serious health and safety hazard to people who are allergic to their stings. In addition, most bees and wasps are social insects who will attack in swarms if they feel threatened, and even people who aren't especially allergic to stings could be in danger if attacked by hundreds or thousands of insects at the same time.
The stinging insects most commonly encountered by exterminators in Staunton and the surrounding areas of Virginia are yellow jackets, paper wasps, baldfaced hornets, and honeybees. Of these, only honeybees are true bees. The rest are actually wasps.
Yellow jackets are aggressive wasps that nest in voids, in the ground, or in aerial nests. They commonly are noticed at picnics and other outdoor events, when they create an annoyance by buzzing around people foraging for food. When threatened they may attack in great numbers and inflict painful stings that can be fatal to individuals who are allergic.
Yellow jacket control can be difficult because the nests often are well-protected and hard to find. The wasps can forage great distances in search of food, and finding the nest can be a challenge. Even then, nests that are concealed within voids or other inaccessible areas often are difficult to treat, making yellow jacket control a job for professionals.
Hornets are among the most aggressive of all wasps. It's commonly said that they'll attack you "just for looking at them funny," and this isn't far from the truth. If they feel in the least bit threatened, you can expect an all-out attack by hundreds or thousands of individuals, each of whom is capable of inflicting multiple, painful stings.
The baldfaced hornet is the hornet most often encountered in Virginia, but the European hornet is also being encountered more and more often in recent years. Because of their extreme aggressiveness, the hazards associated with controlling them, and the need for special protective equipment, hornet control should always be performed by professionals.
Other than their common nesting material, paper wasps vary widely in their biology, habits, and aggressiveness. Some paper wasps build exposed nests, while others prefer protected areas such as wall voids, holes in trees, and hollow fence posts. Some are very aggressive, while others are relatively passive. Some paper wasp species have large colonies, others are solitary, and still others, though solitary, build their nests in close proximity to others of their specie.
Because of these differences, it's often difficult for the lay person to determine exactly what kind of wasps he or she is dealing with and how to best approach wasp control. We recommend that paper wasps and all stinging insect problems be handled by pest control professionals.
Honeybees are primarily beneficial insects who are vital to our Virginia agricultural economy because they are the primary pollinators of many crops. As such, they generally should be left alone unless they are presenting a direct hazard to humans and can't be controlled by non-lethal methods.
Although honeybees are not particularly aggressive when foraging, they can be extremely aggressive when they feel threatened. As social insects with a highly-developed communications system, they can rapidly attack in great numbers if they feel threatened. For this reason and others, honeybee control shouldn't be attempted by homeowners or other untrained individuals.
For help with yellow jackets, paper wasps, hornets, bees, or any other pest control problem in Staunton Virginia and the surrounding areas, please contact us for prompt, professional service.