Bee and wasp stings
A bee or wasp sting results in local pain, swelling, redness and itching
for most persons. To minimize the sting, a poultice of meat tenderizer
or salt can be applied to the site as soon as possible after the incident
and left on for about 30 minutes. Use about 0.5 teaspoon mixed with
enough water to produce a paste. Commercial swabs are available that
do about the same thing.
Some people may react violently if they are stung. Symptoms can include
difficulty in breathing, dizziness and nausea, as well as the more
common symptoms listed above. With severe reactions, medical
attention is needed. Anyone with a history of hypersensitive reactions
should have a sting emergency kit available and should wear a medical
alert bracelet or other alert item. Consult your physician about
are named after their yellow-and-black-striped body
markings. Worker yellowjackets are about 0.5 inch long. Their nests
consist of multilayered combs surrounded by a paper shell. The eastern
yellowjacket and the southern yellowjacket usually build their nests in
underground holes and only occasionally in aboveground cavities. The
German yellowjacket almost always nests in aboveground cavities. A
large nest usually is about the size of a basketball. In late summer, nests
may contain up to 5,000 workers.
In late summer, colonies produce a group of new queens and males.
After mating, these new queens go into hibernation and those surviving
start new colonies the following spring. The rest of the colony does not
survive the winter. Old nests are not reused.
All yellowjackets will aggressively defend their nests, but this
aggressiveness increases in late summer and fall. Because yellowjackets
forage for meats, sweets, ripe fruit and garbage, they pose a threat to
humans even when they are not near their nests. They are usually a
problem in picnic areas and orchards and around garbage containers.
Control of yellowjackets
Individual yellowjacket foragers are a difficult problem. A single wasp in
an automobile can be gently pushed out an open window using an
object such as a folded newspaper. A single yellowjacket on the lip of a
soft drink container also should be gently coaxed away. Never swat a
wasp, particularly while it is on your skin -- that may prompt a sting.
Good sanitation practices in picnic areas are essential. All food garbage
and empty beverage cans should be placed in containers with
Bald Faced Hornets
bald-faced hornet, is about 0.7 inch long and is black with whitish markings.
It is technically a yellowjacket but builds a distinctive pear-shaped,
basketball-sized nest covered with grayish paper like material.
It usually constructs its nest in a tree or shrub
or under the eave of a building. Some people have tried to remove these nests by suddenly covering
them with a plastic trash bag, tying it tightly to the branch, and then
sawing the branch off. Donít do it! Bald-faced hornets can escape from
trash bags with ease.
Several species of paper wasps of the genus Polistes occur in Kansas
All are about 0.7 to 1.0 inch long, slender and variously colored with
brown, red and yellow. They build their single-comb unprotected nest
from the eaves or porches of buildings or other sheltered locations. As
with all the other wasps, only the female queen survives the winter to
start new colonies in the spring.
Paper wasps are not as aggressive as yellowjackets or hornets in
defense of their nest. These nests should be eliminated only if they are
located near human activity. To do so, spray with a pressurized spray
stream as described above for the bald-faced hornet. Return a few hours
later and remove the nest to discourage others from nesting there.
Mud dauber wasps
Mud daubers are solitary wasps of the family Sphecidae. They vary in
length from 0.5 to 1.25 inches and are very slender with threadlike
waists. They build mud nests in sheltered areas. These nests are
tube like cells often positioned side by side.
The female wasp stocks the nest with insects or spiders that she has
captured and stung into paralysis. After laying an egg on the prey, that
cell is closed and she starts on the next cell.
Mud daubers overwinter as larvae in the mud nests. One of Kansas's
most common species is the black and yellow Sceliphron caementarium.
A related common species, Chalybion californicum, is metallic blue with
bluish wings. It steals the nests of S. caementarium, replacing nest
contents with its own spiders and eggs.
Mud daubers usually sting only when pinned against the skin. They are
beneficial except for their unsightly mud nests, which often are placed
around human habitation. Undesirable nests should be knocked down
and the residual soil washed off with water and a brush. No insecticide
treatments are necessary.
Cicada killer wasps
The cicada killer wasp is 1.5 to 2.0 inches long, and is brownish black
with yellow markings on the abdomen and face. While their size is
intimidating, cicada killers are not aggressive and will sting humans only
if pinned against the skin.
The female digs a burrow in the soil. It captures cicadas, paralyzing them
by stinging, and places them in the burrow. An egg is deposited on each
cicada and that cell is closed off. Cicada killer wasps produce one
generation per year, and the larvae spend the winter in the nest cell in
The only damage these wasps cause is the unsightly dirt piles dug out to
create nests. The piles usually disappear with the first rain. Killing
individual wasps is virtually impossible unless you spray them in the act
of digging or soak the soil to kill developing larvae. Since cicada killers
are so beneficial, control efforts are not recommended. If you feel
control is necessary call Haley Pest Control.
Haley Pest Control offers Pest Control and Hornet and Wasp Elimination
KS and in Topeka, Kansas, Baldwin, Eudora, Overland Park, Olathe,
Lenexa, Leawood, Shawnee Mission, Stanley, Ottawa, Kansas City, Basehor,
Linwood, Tonganoxie, Mclouth, and Perry-Lecompton. We offer Pest
Management and Exterminator services for the following counties:
Douglas, Johnson, Jefferson, Franklin, Shawnee, Wyandotte and