Bees and Wasps

Pest Library

Bees and Wasps in South Florida

South Florida is home to many bees and wasps, in part due to the warm climate. If you notice some have made your living space their new house, leave the control and removal process to the professionals at Nozzle Nolen, as removing them yourself can put you in extreme danger. Before you request a free inspection, try to identify which species commonly found in this region is causing chaos:

Honey Bees

Honey Bee

What Do Honey Bees Look Like?

Honey bees are slender, moderately hairy, and approximately 1/2-inch in length. They’re most active during the spring and summer months, and they prefer flowers for their nectar and pollen (although certain soaps and perfumes have been known to attract honey bees, too).

Honey bees are often mistaken for bumble bees, which are typically larger and hairier than honey bees and have a more rounded shape. Honey bees look more wasp-like compared to bumble bees.

Signs of a Honey Bee Infestation

Honey bees tend to nest in tree hollows but may also nest in wall voids and attics. A honey bee nest inside a building can result in structural damage.

In addition to structural damage, honey bees can be dangerous to humans. Some people are allergic to honey bee stings and may need medical attention. Unlike wasps, honey bees only sting once because their stingers have barbs. The stinger and the poison sac remain in the skin.

Africanized Honey Bees

Africanized Honey Bee

What Do Africanized Honey Bees Look Like?

Africanized honey bees, sometimes called the killer bee, aren’t as common here in South Florida, but some do choose to make their homes here. These honey bees are very similar in appearance to other types of honey bees, making identification based off of physical appearance difficult.

Signs of an Africanized Honey Bee Infestation

The best way to identify an Africanized honey bee is by its behavior, which is much more aggressive than other honey bees. These bees react very quickly to perceived danger 50 feet or more from their nest, attack in large numbers, and swarm for long periods of time.

Their sting is toxic, and because they sting in large numbers, this can result in toxic poisoning and even death. If you are stung, run away as fast as possible to a closed space, call 9-1-1 immediately, and attempt to remove the stingers by scraping, pulling, or using sticky tape.

Paper Wasps

Paper Wasp

What Do Paper Wasps Look Like?

Paper wasps are 5/8-inch to 1 inch in length and are brown with yellow, circular striping. They’re active in late spring with heaviest activity in late summer.

Paper wasps are the least aggressive wasp species and typically live in close proximity to humans without aggressive displays. They can act defensively within their perceived territory, and their stings are painful and known to cause allergic reactions in some individuals.

Signs of a Paper Wasp Infestation

Their nests are constructed of paper-like materials derived from chewed wood materials. They tend to build their umbrella-shaped nests under ledges, under eaves, in air-conditioning units, and inside foliage. You might even find nests on barns, sheds, tree limbs, and support beams in attics.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jacket

What Do Yellow Jacket Wasps Look Like?

Yellow jacket wasps are 5/8-inch to 1 inch in length and are black and yellow or black and white. They fold their wings lengthwise. This species is typically most active in the late summer when their numbers are greatest.

Yellow jackets are very aggressive and dangerous but typically will not attack unless provoked. Their stings are painful and known to cause allergic reactions in many people.

Signs of a Yellow Jacket Wasp Infestation

Yellow jacket nests are usually located underground in rodent burrows, in wood piles, or in walls and attics of buildings. Occasionally they are built in trees or in other places in the open.

Bald-Faced Hornets

Bald-faced Honet

What Do Bald-Faced Hornets Look Like?

Bald-faced hornets are roughly 1 inch to 1-1/2 inches in length and closely resemble yellow jackets in appearance. The primary difference between hornets and yellow jackets is their behavior; hornets are much more fierce, vigilant, and unpredictable than yellow jackets. Hornets are aggressive toward humans, often attacking people simply for walking past their nests.

They are most active in the spring and summer months, with the highest activity usually in late summer. They attack in swarms that may number in the hundreds or thousands. Their stings are extremely painful and may be fatal to individuals who are allergic or who have been stung repeatedly.

Signs of a Bald-Faced Hornet Infestation

Hornets build their nests from paper and suspend them from trees or structures. Typically, two or three sentry hornets continuously circle the nest, constantly on the watch for threats.

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