Stinging/Biting

Honeybees (Apis nekkufera Linnaeus)

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Honey bees are social insects found all over the world. They are an extremely important beneficial insect because of their role in pollination. Honey bees pollinate more than 100 crops in the U.S.

Color: Predominantly golden-yellow with brown bands

Legs: 6

Shape; Oval; bee shape

Size: ½ inch


Habits

Honeybees are active pollinators, and produce honey which feeds their young in colder months. The honeybee is the only social insect whose colony can survive many years.

Habitat

Honeybees do sting, but they only sting once. The sting can be extremely painful if the stinger is not immediately removed from the sting. Persons allergic to insect stings will have a more severe reaction.

Prevention

Honeybees should be addressed by a professional. Removal of a honeybee nest and the honey product can be very messy. Because honeybee colonies are so large, only a pest control professional or experienced beekeeper can safely remove a honeybee nest.

Paper Wasp (Polistes sp.)

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Paper wasps are social insects, who build nests of grey papery material around the home often under eaves, or in vegetation.

Color: Varies with Species

Legs: 6

Shape: Oval with smoky black wings flat in the nesting position

Size; ¾-1 inch long


Habits

Paper wasps are semi-social insects and colonies contain three castes; workers, queens and males. Fertilized queens, which appear similar to workers, overwinter in protected habitats such as cracks and crevices in structures or under tree bark. In the spring they select a nesting site and begin to build a nest. Eggs are laid singly in cells and hatch into legless grub-like larvae that develop through several stages (instars) before pupating. In late summer, queens stop laying eggs and the colony soon begins to decline. In the fall, mated female offspring of the queen seek overwintering sites. The remainder of the colony does not survive the winter.

Habitat

Nests are built from wood fiber collected from posts and occasionally from live plant stems, causing some plant damage.. This fiber is chewed and formed into a single paper-like comb of hexagonal cells. Nests are oriented downward and are suspended by a single filament. Mature nests contain up to 200 cells. Paper wasps prey on insects such as caterpillars, flies and beetle larvae which they feed to larvae. They actively forage during the day and all colony members rest on the nest at night.

Threats

Nests commonly occur around the home underneath eaves, in or on structures and plants; wasps attack when the nest is disturbed and each sting repeatedly, stings typically cause localized pain and swelling, but in sensitive individuals or when many stings occur whole body effects can occur including allergic reactions that may result in death.

Prevention

Wasps can be found on flowers, particularly from goldenrod in late fall. Paper wasp nests can be dislodged from eaves using sprays of high pressure water from a good distance, taking precautions not to allow wasps to attack nearby people or pets. Wasps will eventually abandon the nest.

Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa species)

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Carpenter bees look like typical bumblebees but often lack yellow stripes. They are solitary bees.

Color: Blue-black, green or purple metallic on abdomen

Legs; 6

Shape: Oval; bee shape

Size; 1 inch


Habits

Unlike bumble bees, carpenter bees are solitary insects. Female carpenter bees will chew a tunnel into a piece of wood to build a nest gallery. The bits of wood she chews and deposits outside the nest are called frass. The male carpenter bee guards the outside of the nest. He does not have a stinger, but his constant buzzing caused concern for some.

Habitat

Carpenter bees bore through soft woods to lay eggs and protect their larvae as they develop.

Threats

Carpenter bees do not pose a public health threat, but they can damage wood through their nest building.

Prevention

Carpenter bees prefer bare wood, so painting and staining wood can sometimes deter them. However, they will sometimes attack stained or painted wood, so contact a pest control professional for assistance.

Africanized Bees (Apis mellifera scutellata)

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Africanized “killer” bees looks so much like a regular honeybee that the only way to tell the two apart is by measuring their bodies. Africanized bees have different wing measurements than honeybees.

Color: Golden-yellow with darker bands of brown

Legs: 6

Shape: Oval; bee shape

Size: ½ inch


Habits

These bees defend their colony and attack when threatened.

Habitat

Africanized bees have small colonies, so they can build nests in unique places. They have been known to live in tires, crates, boxes, and empty cars.

Threats

Their venom is no more dangerous than regular honeybees- they just tend to attack in greater numbers, which causes more danger to humans.

Prevention

Because of the aggressive nature of these pests and the enormity of their nests, a pest control professional or beekeeper must address an infestation. If you are chased by Africanized honeybees, run in a zig zag pattern and seek shelter in a house or car.

Yellowjackets (Vespula spp.)

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There are several species of Yellowjackets. These flying insects typically have a yellow and black head/face and patterned abdomen. Many say, the pattern resembles stripes. Signature to species, the abdomen pattern can help an entomologist or pest professional identify specific types of Yellowjackets.

Color: Abdomen usually black and yellow pattered similar to bands

Legs: 6

Shape: Wasp-like

Size: Workers 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch


Habits

Yellowjackets nest in the ground or in cavernous areas such as eaves, attics, etc. They feed on sweets and proteins and commonly invade outdoor activities.

Habitat

Yellowjackets can be found any place humans can be found. Check near recycling bins or other areas where sugars are common but keep in mind these pests also feed on protein. Yellowjackets become more aggressive in autumn when the colony begins to die out except for the queen.

Threats

Yellowjackets pose significant health threats to humans as they may sting repeatedly and can cause allergic reactions. Stinging insects send over 5000,000 people to the emergency room each year.

Prevention

Remain vigilant and call a pest professional if you suspect yellowjacket activity. Control requires specialized equipment and safety precautions. Do not leave sweet drinks or meats in accessible areas. For example, clean up and remove food and trash after picnics and outdoor events.

Mosquitoes (Culex species and others)

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One of the best known summer pests, mosquitoes breed in stagnant water or soft soil and can develop from egg to adult in 10 to 14 days.

Color: Varies; Pale brown with whitish stripes across abdomen

Legs: 6

Shape: Narrow Oval

Size; ¼-3/8”


Habits

Female mosquitoes suck our blood. Male mosquitoes feed on plant nectars. They can develop from egg to adult in 10 to 14 days. They are most active from dusk to dawn and will fly up to 14 miles for a blood meal.

Habitat

Mosquitoes breed in stagnant water sources such as storm drains, old tires, children’s wading pools and birdbaths.

Threats

Mosquitoes are well-known to spread diseases such as West Nile Virus, malaria and dengue fever.

Prevention

Eliminate or reduce mosquito breeding sites by replacing all standing water at least once a week. This includes bird baths, ponds and unfiltered pools. Remove unneeded vegetation or trash from around any standing water sources that cannot be changes, dumped or removed. Introduce mosquito-eating fish such as gambusia, green sunfish, bluegills and minnows to standing water. Screen windows, doors and other openings with mesh. Avoid going outdoors when and where mosquitoes are most active, during dusk or dawn. Use insect repellent containing DEET on exposed skin whenever or wherever mosquitoes are likely to bite.

Flea (Siphonapters)

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Fleas are parasites that feed on the blood of any warm-blooded body. The most common species is the cat flea, which often feasts on cats, dogs and humans

Color: Dark reddish-brown

Legs: 6

Shape: Flat

Size: 1/12 to 1/6 inch long


Habits

Fleas transport themselves on rodents and other mammals. They infest both household pets and wild animals. Fleas use their powerful legs to jump as high as 8 inches vertically and 16 inches horizontally.

Habitat

Fleas usually remain on their warm-blooded hosts at all times. They can also be found on shoes, pant legs, or blankets, which can transfer the fleas to new environments. They are often found infesting opossums, raccoons, and skunks in urban settings.

Threats

Fleas are the most common transmitter of the rare bubonic plaque. They also transmit the bacterial disease murine typhus to humans through infected rats. Their saliva can cause similar allergic reactions in humans. Fleas can also transfer tapeworms and cause anemia in pets. Flea bites commonly cause painful, itch red bumps.

Prevention

Clean and vacuum frequently to help remove flea populations and prevent the laying off eggs. Keep your lawn groomed to avoid rodent habitation. Protect pets by keeping them on a leash when outside, bathing and grooming pets regularly, visiting a veterinarian annually, and using flea treatments according to direction. It is important to hire a pest professional to rid your home of fleas.

Brown Dog Tick (Rhipicephalus sanguineus)

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This is one of the most widely distributed ticks in the world, and there are records of its occurrence on a number of hosts. By far the most common host is the domestic dog, and the brown dog tick is virtually restricted to this host in the United States.

Color: Uniformly red-brown with tiny pits scattered on the back

Legs: 8

Shape: Flat

Size: 1/8th inch long

Habits

Under normal circumstances in North America, all feeding stages of the tick feed on dogs. The adults commonly attach to the ears and between toes, and the larvae and nymphs are often found in hair along the back. When the individuals of each feeding stage become fully engorged, they drop from the host and seek some protected situation in the immediate surroundings. For this reason, all tick life stages may be found behind baseboards, around window and door moldings,  or in furniture.

Habitat

Brown dog ticks can be found outdoors in the southern United States during any time of the year, but they are found active outdoors only during the warm months in the northern United States. The female may deposit as many as 5,000 eggs in places such as between boards, under plaster or carpeting, or in other cracks and crevices.

Threats

A home can become heavily infested if the family dog picks up ticks from an infested residence, boarding kennel, open field, or similar place where other infested dogs have been present.

Prevention

Some non-product techniques that help reduce tick problems include keeping grass and weeds cut short in thick-infested areas. Sealing cracks and crevices where ticks can hide, both inside and on the exterior of the home, will aid in management. Checking the dog prior to entering the home and removing any ticks found will also help to reduce the chance for ticks to infest the home. The dog must be treated if the infestation is to be eliminated and the treatment should be performed by professionals trained in animal treatment such as veterinaries.

Bed Bugs (Cimex lectularius)

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Bed bugs get their name because they like to live and feed in beds.

Color: Mahogany to rusty brown; red after a blood meal

Legs: 6

Shape; Flat; broad oval

Size: ¼ of an inch

Habits

Bed Bugs like to travel and will hide in suitcases, boxes and shoes to be near a food supply. They are elusive, nocturnal creatures. They can hide behind baseboards, electrical switch plates, picture frames, even wall paper. They come out at night for a blood meal.

Habitat

Bed Bugs like to hide in small cracks and crevices close to a human environment. They can be found behind baseboards, wallpaper, upholstery, and furniture crevices.

Threats

Although bed bugs can dine on any warm-blooded animal, they primarily dine on humans. Bed bugs do not transmit diseases, but their bites can become red, itchy welts.

Prevention

  • Vacuum suitcases after a vacation.
  • Check your bed sheets for tell-tale blood spots.
  • Consider bringing a large plastic trash bag to keep your suitcase in during hotel stays.
  • Carry a small flashlight to assist you with quick visual inspections.
  • Bed bugs are elusive creatures, so it is imperative to seek professional pest control.