Hornet Extermination & Removal in Connecticut
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It is reported that at least 200 people die each year in the United States as a result of anaphylactic shock following the stings of wasps, hornets, and bees. This figure does not include deaths reported as heart attacks and heat strokes which actually may have resulted from stings, nor does it include deaths in automobile accidents which may have been caused by wasps in cars.
Social wasps vigorously defend their nests when disturbed. Their powerful venom, a mixture of enzymes and protein, is injected by a needle-like projection from the tail end of the body, usually called “the stinger”. The sting may be scarcely perceptible or may cause severe pain. While the pain is usually localized at the site of the puncture, there may be various systemic effects, and some people develop allergies to the venom. Nearly 80% of all venom related deaths occur within 1 hour after a sting. Yet overall, the danger of wasps has been largly exaggerated.
The vast majority, perhaps 90% of the known species, are solitary wasps that cause few problems. Their venom is quite different from that of social wasps, and seldom causes more than momentary pain. Also, solitary wasps are not aggressive and usually do not attempt to defend their nests. Except in limited tropical settings, the stinger does not remain in the wound with the poison sac attaches, as is the case with honey bee stings. Therefore, a single wasp can sting its victim repeatedly. Since the stinger is a modified ovipositor or egg laying tube, only the females are able to sting.
These wasps build small, tube-like nests of mud under eaves, in attics and under the roofs of storage buildings. As they develop in the mud tubes, the young larvae are generally fed spiders, including the poisonous brown recluse. Adult mud daubers are 3/4 to 1 inch long and vary in color from dull black with bright yellow markings to blackish or iridescent blue-black. They have longer, more slender waists than most other wasps. Mud dauber nests can be removed by hand with a putty knife, as the attending female will not defend her nest. Even when insecticides are used, it is a good idea to scrape the nest away and dispose of it to prevent other insects from being attracted to it.
Yellow Jackets are easily recognized but are often confused with paper wasps. Bald-faced hornets are also yellow jackets, but because people often view them differently, they will be discussed separately. Worker yellow jackets are strikingly marked with black and yellow bands. The queens are 1 1/2 to 3 times larger than the workers and are marked with black and orange bands. Yellow jackets construct their nests of a paper-like material consisting of wood fiber. Unlike paperwasp nests, they are completely enclosed in an envelope except for the entrance hole.
Yellow jackets are primarily ground nesters, but also construct aerial nests.Subterranean nests may be found in gardens, flower beds,pastures, roadside embankments and elsewhere. Aerial nests are typically constructed in trees, under eaves, in wall voids of buildings, in open garages and storage sheds, on porches, in abandoned furniture and in other places that provide protection and are close to food and water. Because of their scavenging behavior, yellow jackets are a menace around parks, camps and suburban sites where people leave open food and discard garbage. Yellow jackets forage to feed their larvae meat, especially insects and spiders. They also gather nectar, honeydew and other carbohydrates, but they do not store honey as do bees. Queens over-winter under loose bark, in cracks and crevices and occasionally in attics or similar sheltered locations. They emerge during the early spring and build small paper nests in which they lay eggs.
When the eggs hatch, the queen feeds the young larvae for about 18 to 20 days. After the firstbrood of workers reaches adulthood, the nest may rapidly expand up to a foot long or larger within a few days or weeks. Maximum colony size is attained in August or September. This is followed by the emergence of males and the next year’s queens in October and November. They mate and the males die. The inseminated queens seek sheltered locations in which to over winter. The nest may then be abandoned; if so, it rapidly decomposes and disintegrates during the winter. If the nest is not abandoned and the existing queen(s) and her workers continue to maintain it through the following year, it is termed a perennial colony. Annual nests are not re-used.
If it becomes necessary to destroy a yellow jacket nest, hire a professional pest controloperator. A single sting from an alarmed yellow jacket can excite other yellow jackets to attack, resulting in multiple stings.
The bald-faced hornet is quite common in Connecticut. It is actually a member of the yellow jacket family. Bald-faced hornets are large (up to 3/4 inch long) and black with white markings, particularly on the front of the head. They construct an inverted, pear-shaped, enclosed paper carton nest which can be up to 3 feet long. The grayish to brownish nest has two to four horizontally arranged combs and an entrance hole at the bottom. Nests usually hang in trees, but may be attached to the sides of buildings. A mature colony may contain anywhere from 200 to 400 adults.
Their sting can be intensely painful. When attempting to control bald-faced hornets, always wear protective clothing such as a bee suit or hire a professional pest control operator, because hornets are likely to attack. Hornet nests high in trees or other remote locations where they pose no threat to humans should be left unharmed.