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Hornet, Wasp, & Yellowjacket
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Removing Stinging Pests

Aggressive stinging insects such as hornets, wasps, and yellowjackets can ruin your summertime activities. Not only can they disturb your peace with constant buzzing sounds, but they pose a risk to humans and domestic animals. Venomous stingers in yellowjackets and hornets can cause infection, or worse - allergic reactions can be deadly. Stinging insects sometimes build their nests in areas too close for comfort, such as within decking, under eaves, and behind the siding of your home. Don’t place yourself at risk attempting to remove hostile stinging insects on your own; contact Creature Control today.

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Characteristics of Wasps, Hornets, and Yellowjackets

Hornets and yellowjackets are specific types of wasps. There are about 20 different varieties of hornets and thousands of species of wasps. Hornets are typically more aggressive and rounder than other stinging insects. Bald-faced hornets are mostly black with white markings, while yellowjackets are black with yellow bands and a pinched waist. Yellowjacket stings are the deadliest as they might cause blood poisoning due to their bacteria-laced stinger. These insects will scavenge for food including other insects, spiders, picnic foods, trash, natural sugars, carcasses, and feces. Hornets and some wasps are pollinators, which means they help our ecosystem by pollinating flowers and eating other insects and pests that feed on our crops.

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Hornets

Asexual female workers perform essential community duties. This includes hive building, gathering food, feeding the young, and protecting their colony. The queen hornet dominates the hive and is the only female to reproduce within it. Males are scarce; their one role is to mate with the queen, dying soon after. During winter, hornet nests are abandoned, leaving only the new, young queen and her eggs. To survive the cold, the queen typically finds a protected area under tree bark or within building structures. If the queen survives, she will create a new nest filled with her young, who later become the workers. As the workers perform the new hive’s chores, the queen reproduces, creating a higher population for the overall labor effort.

The most common hornet in Colorado and Wyoming is the Bald-faced hornet. Recognizable by the white pattern on its face, these hornets are roughly three-quarters of an inch long. Bald-faced hornets are typically more aggressive than wasps or yellowjackets. They might sting without provocation and can sting repeatedly. Trees and bushes are their primary nesting habitat in both rural and urban locations. Bald-faced hornets make paper-like nests from wood fibers and saliva. These hives can grow to extreme sizes, sometimes swelling in size larger than an average football. People should not attempt to remove these nests due to the inherent danger associated with doing so. Creature Control’s pest management professionals are trained and equipped to remove bald-faced hornet nests safely and efficiently.

Wasps

Two types of wasps are most common in Colorado: paper wasps and mud dauber wasps. Mud dauber nests are usually found on garage walls, in cracks, corners, and under eaves. They are easily identifiable since their hives are built mostly from mud, displaying a series of cylindrical cells smoothed over to form an orange-sized ball. Mud daubers have a solitary temperament and are rarely aggressive, though they will sting if provoked. Their nests can stand the test of time, lasting for many years if left undisturbed. Other types of wasps have been known to reuse mud dauber hives, also. Black (and brown) widow spiders don’t stand a chance against mud dauber wasps, as they prey on these deadly spiders.

Paper wasps are three-quarters to one-inch long and can be brown or black with yellow spots. They get their namesake from the paper-like nests they create. Their saliva is mixed with the plant stem pieces and fibers of dead wood to form a brown paper-like material. These hives are composed of several open combs where young are reared in cells. They are all connected to a single, thin stalk that anchors the nest. Paper wasps build their nests under horizontal surfaces and are usually found on tree branches, overhangs, eaves, attics, barns, and sheds. They are territorial pests and will attack those close to their nest if they feel threatened. Paper wasp stings can cause anaphylactic reactions in individuals who are allergic and they can be incredibly painful.

Yellowjackets

Yellowjacket dispositions are vast, as there are different kinds with varying behaviors and hive types. When provoked, yellowjackets become extremely aggressive and can be unpredictable. They have painful stings, and can carry anaerobic bacteria on their stingers, picked up from frequent visits to landfills, sewage puddles, or damp manure. In some cases, stings can be deadly as a result of blood poisoning or allergic reactions.

German yellowjackets are common in Colorado, Wyoming, and the entire U.S. They build massive, intricate hives in wall cavities and ceilings, which can reach 12 feet in length. They are most commonly found in vertical sections of drywall underneath attic insulation. Hive expansion involves the colony workers chewing through the drywall and actively flying around inside the residence or business. Hives are built by mixing their saliva with drywall, which creates a paper-like product.

Common yellowjackets build small, wide, flat, and open-celled hives under overhangs. Eastern yellowjacket colonies can reach numbers as high as five thousand in a single underground hive. As small mammals or rodents abandon small burrows, eastern yellowjackets move in. Their colony grows from workers expanding the hive by burrowing through the soil. As they dig deeper, the earth is loosened, creating a natural sinkhole that can vary in size from one to two feet in width and depth. The underground hives cannot bear weight and will collapse under pressure. This will result in an eruption of yellowjackets swarming above ground.

It is best to call a pest control professional if you encounter any of the hives described above. Creature Control has trained expert technicians who can help remediate your yellowjacket or any other stinging pest issue.

Removing Stinging Insects

Eradicating a stinging insect hive is possible in most cases; others require deterrence. Knocking down a bald-faced hornet hive or exterminating a yellowjacket nest is reasonably simple to accomplish, yet some stinging insects will rebuild and repopulate hives only a few days later. There is no guarantee that eaves cleared of wasp nests will not be settled by new colonies later in the season. Creature Control might use a pesticide gas to reach yellowjacket hives that have been built inside brick and would otherwise be inaccessible due to conventional sprays.

Note on honeybees: These stinging insects are also a common problem during certain parts of the year; however, we try not to exterminate them and prefer to opt for live extraction when possible. Honeybees are an essential part of our ecosystem and are treated as such. To learn more, visit our honeybee page or call Creature Control today to speak to one of our pest control specialists regarding any stinging pest issue.

Stings and Allergies

Anaphylaxis is triggered when a stinging insect pricks a human who is hypersensitive or allergic. Approximately 1,500 people die annually from anaphylactic reactions, and it is estimated that 10 – 15 percent of the population might be susceptible. People can develop anaphylaxis over time, making it difficult to determine whether they are initially at risk. Monitor your condition carefully if stung and always be prepared to seek medical attention if circumstances are warranted. Signs of an anaphylactic reaction include hives, rashes, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, light-headed feelings, and/or sweating.

Treatment and Remedies for Stings

If you or someone you know has been stung and no anaphylaxis symptoms are present, follow these steps to remediate the situation:

  • Check to see whether the stinger is still in the skin. Wasps typically do not leave their stingers behind unless they were swatted and the stinger breaks off in the skin. If the stinger is present, remove it with tweezers.
  • Cover the affected area with wrapped ice or pre-packaged frozen food. To avoid ice burn, do not put ice directly on the skin. Leave the ice in place for five minutes to reduce blood flow. This also slows the defensive reaction of the body against the venom.
  • Ibuprofen, Benadryl, or acetaminophen can help reduce pain. Calamine lotion applied to the affected area throughout the day decreases itching. Scratching the affected area will result in a spread of the venom, thus lowering the healing process.
  • Applying mud to the affected area for roughly 15 minutes has been proven to draw venom out of the skin.

For problems with hornets, wasps, yellowjackets, or any stinging insect, contact Creature Control today.

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What's That Noise? What's that noise?
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Scratching during the day may indicate the presence of a bat, but this is uncommon.

More common sources of scratching or clawing during the day is a squirrel or a yellowjacket hive in the drywall, if it is summer.

A scratching sound coming from the attic is a good indication of the presence of a bat. The scratching may be constant or intermittent and may occur at day or night, though with a bat, this scratching will usually be heard at night. This is the sounds of the claws on the bat's wings as it moves around.

It may also indicate the presence of mice, however. An inspection is necessary to more directly pinpoint the source of the sound.

Gnawing sounds during the day are almost always due to the presence of a rodent, such a mouse, squirrel, chipmunk, or sometimes a rat. Rodents are characterized by their large incisor teeth, which continually grow and must be worn down by constant gnawing. Rodents will gnaw on wires, insulation and anything else they can find in an attic. Many house fires due to electrical problems are caused by damaged wires due to squirrel gnawing.

If you are hearing gnawing or chewing sounds at night, it may indicate the presence of a raccoon. Usually this will be accompanied by other noises, such as heavy walking. If you do not hear this, it may be a flying squirrel or some other rodent.

A "rolling" sound is usually due to the presence of a red squirrel bringing in nuts or other debris and rolling it around up in the attic, as squirrels will use attics to hoard food. If you hear this sound during the day, it is certainly a red squirrel, since red squirrels are the only mammals that commonly get into attics that are active during the day (flying squirrels get into attics as well but they are nocturnal). The "rolling" sound associated with a squirrel is sometimes described as the sound of marbles rolling.

If it is not a squirrel, there's a possibility a rolling sound could be made by birds moving around in a tight space.

Rolling sounds at night can be caused by flying squirrels, which are nocturnal. It is made by the squirrel bringing nuts or other debris into the attic or wall.

Raccoons may also make a rolling sound, though this is less common.

Scampering or scurrying during the day is almost always attributable to a squirrel, as most other scurrying animals (such as mice) are nocturnal.

A scurrying or scampering sound at night is usually due to mice moving through the walls, ceiling, or along the floor.

Nocturnal flying squirrels may make this noise as well; peak periods of activity for flying squirrels are just before dawn and shortly after sunset. Their scurrying is light and fast.

Raccoons may also make this sort of noise, but with a raccoon it will be more of a "walking" sound, a bit heavier than a squirrel, and not as fast.

Heavy walking or crawling is a very unique sound that almost always indicates the presence of a raccoon, whether it occurs during the day or night.

Heavy walking or crawling is a very unique sound that almost always indicates the presence of a raccoon, whether it occurs during the day or night.

If you can clearly hear the sound of flapping during the day, it is definitely a bird.

If you hear flapping at night, it is either a trapped bird or a bat. Nuisance birds are generally not active at night, so if you hear flapping it may be a bird that has become trapped. The flapping of a bat's wings is very soft, almost like a dull whirring. If you hear a very faint, soft whirring, it may mean a bat is flying around nearby in the dark.

Crackling is a very particular noise that is generally made by a yellowjacket hive within the drywall of your home. yellowjackets will pick and gnaw on drywall and use the pieces to construct their hives. The sound of this gnawing is often described as a crackling; it sounds a lot like Rice Krispies popping. If you hear this, it means the yellowjackets are close to gnawing through the dry wall. It is not as common at night, but certainly can happen then as well if the hive is big enough.

Crackling is a very particular noise that is generally made by the presence of a yellowjacket hive within the drywall of your home. yellowjackets will pick and gnaw on drywall and use the pieces to construct their hives. The sound of this gnawing is often described as a crackling; it sounds a lot like Rice Krispies popping. If you hear this, it means the yellowjackets are close to gnawing through the dry wall.

A sound of chirping or chattering usually means there are baby animals present. What species depends on the season, but it is very common for baby squirrels, raccoons, or birds (especially chimney swifts) to make these noises. Please contact Creature Control for a more thorough diagnosis.

A sound of chirping or chattering usually means there are baby animals present. What species depends on the season, but it is very common for baby squirrels, raccoons, or birds (especially chimney swifts) to make these noises. Please contact Creature Control for a more thorough diagnosis.

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