A note on Bumblebees (Bombus spp.).  Bumblebees dwarf their honey bee cousins. These bees are not aggressive and will not disturb you unless you are bothering their nest or blocking the entrance to it. Call us to remove bumblebee nests and protect their dangerously declining populations.

Yellow jackets are small, ground-dwelling wasps, sometimes found in enclosed structure spaces, that attack in numbers when disturbed. They are a threat year-round, but they are a big problem in the fall, when their numbers are highest.

Wasps
  
Wasps are generally seen as a benefit to the environment, wasps are predatory flying insects. Wasps are a great source of organic pest control on gardens, farms, and crops. There are two types of common wasps: solitary wasps and social wasps. Social wasp species live in large numbers. Wasp nests are abandoned by late autumn, the queens individually over-winter until spring. Wasps eat meaty things, spiders, and sweets. Wasps can be more hot-tempered than bees, and should be treated with caution. If you’re trying to eliminate nuisance wasps attached to your home or near a doorway, it is best done at sunset or very early in the morning. If you have wasps inside the house there is likely a nest in the attic, walls, or  windows. Below is listed identification, and information on common wasps in the U.S. and Canada.

Paper Wasps

A common offender throughout Oklahoma, Texas, and throughout the lower U.S.

Size: 3/4 to 1-1/2 inch long. 

Type: Social wasps 

Population: Nest sizes generally consist of 5 to 30 wasps. 

Region: Most popular in West and South East regions of the US and in Mexico.
 
Paper wasps - long with yellow and rusty brown or black stripes. Paper wasp nests can be identified out in the open and under the eave structure of the roof line, the nests a grayish paper-like material honeycomb shaped, with the larger nest sizes approaching the size of a tennis racket containing up to 250 wasps per nest. Paper wasps can be confused with hornets which are similar in shape, but hornets typically have larger enclosed hives and paper wasps do not as commonly build nests on trees.

Paper wasps are often found hanging under the eaves, but can also be found in attics, within walls and window frames, and trees, as well as other structures. Paper wasps attack when aggravated and have a painful sting; they can sting multiple times as they do not lose there stinger.

Often these wasps are found inside; when this happens when a nest is living in the walls, window frames, and attic. Wasps are much more comfortable navigating inside of a house than honeybees; honeybees simply go straight to the window and buzz until exhausted.

Yellow Jackets

Size: 1/2 inch in size. 

Type: Social Wasp 

Population: Up to 5,000 members per nest. Nests have multiple layers.  

Region: North east, mid east and south east regions of US, and in Canada. 

Often mistaken for honeybees, yellow jackets are just a bit quicker, smaller, and are a brighter yellow vs. the more orange color of honeybees. Honeybees will often be caring noticeable yellow pollen sacks on their back legs, while yellow jackets do not. Yellow jackets can be identified by a rapid side to side flight pattern prior to landing. They are scavengers eating meats and sweets and often found in parks or disrupting picnics or other events. 

Yellow jackets are sometimes called meat bees, sweet bees, or ground bees; although not a member of the Honey Bee Family. Nests are generally identified with holes in the ground about golf ball to a softball in size hole; they defend their home very aggressively. Contrary to the honeybee, yellow jackets can sting repeatedly, they do not lose their stinger, and do not die after stinging. The stings often cause a swelling reaction followed by itching for a few days. Nests start out very small then growing larger until winter. Seasonally, yellow jacket colonies can reach a size of 4,000 and 5,000 workers with a nest of 10,000 and 15,000 cells by August or early September. 

Occasionally yellow jackets nest in wall voids and attics, they can end up by accident in the house in large numbers. This is usually preceded by a slow growing wet spot on the ceiling caused by the nest. Every so often, a curious homeowner will poke or push their finger right through the deteriorating ceiling and end up with an unfortunate surprise. It’s generally considered unwise to try to remove an active yellow jackets nest yourself. 

Like all wasps, yellow jackets abandoned their nest by late autumn, the queens will often hibernate in attics and wall voids reemerging in early spring. 

Hornets

Size: Up to 2 inches in size 

Type: Social Wasp 

Population: Have up to 700 members per nest. 

Region: Hornets are most popular in North Eastern U.S., and in Canada. 

Hornets or bald faced hornets may look similar to yellow jackets in color, but hornets are perhaps twice as long and thicker. Hornets are slightly less aggressive than yellow jackets and like most wasps, hornets can sting multiple times with a very strong painful sting. Hornets build warped ball shaped nests ranging in size from football to basket ball. They can be found in attics, walls, and on the side of buildings, and on bushes, tree branches or hallows. It’s generally considered unwise to try to remove a hornets’ nest without experience. While many hornet species are yellow and black, there are also white and black hornets. Like wasps, hornets die off in late autumn leaving the queen to overwinter and may return to the same or a nearby location the following spring to build a new nest. Like most wasps, hornets are considered a natural organic form of pest control to gardens and crops.

Mud Wasps (Mud Dauber, Potter, Pollen)

The 3 types of mud wasps are: mud daubers, potter wasps, and pollen wasps. These wasps are typically found in the same surrounding areas of each other. Mud Wasps construct their homes from mud or clay. Mud wasps nest in the ground as well as in attics, within walls, structures, and under bridges. Mud wasps are solitary wasps and vary from 1/2 inch to 1 inch in size with relatively small nests. 
 
Mud Daubers have a very compressed alien like look with their skinny needle like waist they are sometimes called thread waist wasps. Mud daubers (also called dirt daubers) are commonly identified by their mud nests which are hard flat oval and tube shaped. Mud daubers nests rang from the size of a peanut to a large lemon but rarely get that thick. The mud dauber species seldom sting and are not protective of their nests. Mud daubers typically attach under eaves, porches, walls and attics. Mud daubers prey on spiders and are said to particularly enjoy black widow spiders.

Size: Up to 1 inch long 

Wasp Type: Solitary wasps 

Population: Small nests, perhaps 3 to 20 wasps with tube-like cells. 

US Region: South East and South West 

Potter Wasps sometimes called mason wasps, potter wasps build "pot" or jug shaped nests less than a size of a lemon. Out of all wasp species, potter wasps have the largest diversity of species, which have been classified into about two hundred groups as shown in Wikipedia Potter Wasp Species.

Size: 1/2 inch long 

Wasp Type: Generally solitary wasps 

Population: Very tiny nest sizes 

US Region: These wasps are located in the South East and South West. 

Pollen Wasp, sometimes mistaken for yellow jackets because of their size similarity and because they burrow their nests in ground; however, pollen wasps differentiate and can be identified by their large clubbed antennas; nests are constructed out of mud and water. Pollen wasps are similar to many solitary bees, they feed their young entirely on nectar and pollen, hence the name "pollen wasp". Rocks or crevices low to the earth also make attractive nesting sites for pollen wasps.

Size: 3/4 inches long 

Wasp Type: Solitary wasps 

Population: Smaller than average nest size. 

US Region: These wasps are located in the South East and South West.