Hornets, Bees, and Wasps Nests Identification

If you notice that stinging insects are becoming a nuisance outside your home than how it used to, then there must be a nest nearby. Being around these insects may put your health at risk especially if you are allergic to bee, hornet, or wasp stings.

Though hornets, wasps, and bees sting when threatened, you may not always get the chance to avoid them. One way to avoid stings is to get rid of the nests. To do this, the first thing that you should do is learn which of these insects are outside your home. Aside from knowing the physical differences, identifying the nests can help in getting the right pest control treatment.

Differences in Bee, Wasp, and Hornet Nests

Wasps and bees are related. About 130 million years, some species of wasps switched to pollen gatherers from being hunters. Bees are some of the evolved species that now play an important role in pollination.

Hornets, on the other hand, are a type of wasp called as social wasps. This is because these wasps live together in their colonies. These colonies are constructed using paper-like substances. The following are ways to identify the different nests of these insects:

Bee Nests

If you find a nest that is waxy, it was built by bees. Honey bees and bumble bees are also called social bees. These bees make their nests with almost similar materials. Thus, confirming the type of bee living in the hive needs more proper identification.

The hives of bumble bees are smaller. They build their nests in abandoned dens of some rodents, trees, thick grass, or sheds.

On the other hand, hives of honey bees are often found in areas offering more protection. Their hives can be found beekeeper boxes, inside a hollow tree, or inside wall voids. You will also notice that their hives have hexagonal cells and are more organized.

Other distinct characteristics of beehives are:

  • They usually have a south-facing void
  • It should have a volume capacity of about 6 ½ gallons
  • Entrance hole has a diameter of at least 1 ½ inches
  • The material they use is beeswax. This waxy substance is secreted from the bees’ abdomens.
  • Bees can construct hundreds and thousands of cells in six or more combs. These cells are meant for storing honey, pollen, and brood.
  • Cells can store approximately 40 pounds of honey, which is a typical amount that a colony needs to consume and survive the winter.

The fact that there is a lot to protect inside bee hives will make you understand why bees sting when their hives are threatened.

Hornets and Wasp Nests

If you find an open nest that has hexagonal cells and looks like an umbrella, it can be a home to paper wasps. For a single nest, there can be more or less 100 paper wasps living in these colonies.

Nests of hornets have smooth walls that look like a football. If you find a hole in the ground where wasps are going in an out, then it’s a nest for yellowjackets. Such nests can be a home for thousands of this species and are often in subterranean sites.

You don’t want to disturb yellow jackets, as they are aggressive and may attack in groups. They are typically most aggressive during late summer. Thus, leading to more cases of stings by this species during this period.

Though hornets also construct their nests inside these trees, different species may build it in other locations. Bald-faced hornets would build them in shrubs or trees since they are aerial species. At times, they also build it low to the ground.

Mud daubers are wasp species that use clay or mud for building their nests. Their nests are tubular mud shutes and are small. These are usually built in cracks and crevices in masonry or timber and stones around sheds, garages, and homes.

Other interesting things about the nests of hornets and wasps are:

  • Their nests are made out of paper-like material that is often a combination of saliva and chewed wood fibre.
  • They use this material to design their combs intricately.
  • Hornets and wasps construct cells where they raise young wasps. Each cell is a home for one larva throughout their pupal stage.

How to Handle the Infestation

One way to handle the infestation is by the removal of their nests. However, it is dangerous to remove it on your own. There are pest management solutions that you can try to handle small infestations. However, asking for professional services is crucial for infestations that are beyond control.