Honey Bee

The first thing you need to know when attempting to get rid of a bee, wasp, hornet or yellow jacket is to identify exactly what variety of insect you are looking at. The image above is that of a Honey Bee and when at all possible you should try to avoid getting rid of them. Honey Bee populations have plummeted in recent years having an adverse effect on our food crops. In fact, according to the National Geographic Honey Bee populations have declined by 50% in the last 50 years. Farmers depend on bee populations to populate their crops and if this trend continues it’s going to have severe effects on the food we consume. Please be careful and identify that the pest that you’re about to spray is in fact a pest and not a vital contributor to our environment. With that being said, there are a number of wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets out there that can be a big nuisance.

Paper wasp with its nest

One of the most common wasps that we see in this area is the paper wasp. The Paper Wasp builds its nest in trees, building overhangs, eaves, or other areas out of the elements such as sheds, or children’s playhouses. If at all possible leave a nest alone if it’s not bothering you. Paper wasps are not considered pests and are actually beneficial to the environment. They feed on caterpillars, beetle larva, flies and other nuisance insects. If a nest is too close for comfort a can or two (depending on the size of the nest) of wasp and hornet killer can be used to kill a colony of paper wasps. It is highly recommended that this be done at night preferably when it’s cool (50 degrees or less). Wasps have a hard time flying when the temperature is cooler. It is also recommended that you don’t make sudden movements as this will attract any wasps toward you as a target to defend against.

A 30+ year old Paper Wasp nest hanging in the store from owner Loren LeVahn’s back yard

Yellow Jacket

 Yellow jackets are  a wasp variety that is attracted by sweets, and meats. They will congregate around public areas such as parks, zoos, schools, beaches or anywhere else they can find sources of food. For this reason preventative measures should be taken to prevent yellow jackets from taking up residence near you. Here are some tips to help prevent yellow jackets from becoming a nuisance:

  • Keep garbage and recycling contained and covered at all times.  They would love to make a meal out of your old discarded food and drink refuse.
  • Get rid of your hummingbird feeder. I know this may be painful for some of you out there to do this but it may not be as painful as a yellow jacket sting.
  • Properly seal awnings, siding, and trim around your home. Yellow jackets would love to nest inside the walls of your home so seal-up all gaps that you can find to prevent this (and make your home a little more efficient in the process).

    Yellow Jacket Trap

  • In the springtime use a yellow jacket trap to hopefully snare a queen looking for a place to set-up shop. Queens will be making their rounds in the springtime looking for the perfect place to start their colonies. The traps can also be used in the summer months to help control populations of yellow jackets and wasps.

Once yellow jackets are established in your area they are  more difficult to get rid of due to the fact that you can’t normally see the actual nest. Do your best to locate the entry point of where they are coming from.  Yellow jackets will nest inside your siding/awnings of your home, in your foundation, in your retaining walls or any other number of locations. Be mindful that the actual nest may be up to a couple of feet or more away from the entry point. In other words spraying a poison into the hole may not be sufficient enough to take care of the problem. You may need to drill multiple holes into the structure and inject poison directly into a nest to be certain that you kill the whole colony. Be incredibly careful when attempting to do rid yourself of yellow jackets. They are more aggressive than other bee varieties and can really cause some harm when aggravated. They will defend their nests to the bitter painful end and will sting multiple times before they die. If  you have no choice make sure to follow these hints: Work late at night in cooler temps (50 degrees or less) and wear protective clothing. Move slowly to attract less attention (easier said than done). Have an arsenal of yellow jacket and wasp killer at your disposal and use all of it. You may want to do 2-3 treatments to ensure that you’ve got all of them. The winter temps will kill off the colony so if possible don’t be a hero and wait until nature takes care of them for you. Be careful to make sure that you killed off the ENTIRE colony before you plug up any holes (they have been known to chew their way out of a nest and that could potentially mean chewing into your house instead of out of it).

For yellow jackets that make their nest in the ground the rules change a little bit.  Instead, use an insect killer that is a dust like Bonide’s Ground Bee Killer. You could also use other insect killers that are in powder form such as sevin, eight, or Dursban. You can also use a few aerosol cans of Yellow jacket killer. Find some means of injecting the dust or spray into the ground where the nest is located.  On a cool night locate the nest and inject an ample amount of poison into the nest. Move slowly to avoid attracting attention to yourself as a threat. You may need to treat a nest a few times to ensure that the nest is fully dead.

Take the proper precautions when dealing with bees

Whenever dealing with bees, wasps, hornets and yellow jackets take the proper precautions. If you are allergic, have someone else take care of it for you. Don’t take a chance it’s not worth the risk.

For more information contact us at 763-553-1222

Stop in and see us at 12700 Bass Lake Rd. Maple Grove, MN 55369

Visit us on the web at levahnbros.com

For more information on pest control check out these blogs: How to get rid of ants in your yard, How to get rid of mice, How to get rid of mosquitoes using a bat house, What to do for emerald ash borer