5 minute guide to wasps, bee's, hornets and hoverflies
Posted on 20th May 2019 at 16:21
Here at Reading Pest Control we get a lot of call outs to deal with wasps, many times the perceived pest isn't actually a wasp but something like a white tailed bumble bee which is something we don't regard as a pest. Bee's are in decline across the UK with one third of the species in decline; pollination is vital to our survival and 65% of all pollination is done by wild bee's, bumble bees and hover flies.
Below is a quick guide to what is a pest and what isn't a pest.
The bumble bee gets its name from the Latin word for booming - bombus from its noisy flight, bumble bee's are a favourite of mine and we often get called out to treat a type called the White Tailed Bumblebee.
All bumble bees can sting but will only do so as a last resort; if they are trapped in someones clothing for example. They live in very small colonies with a Queen in a similar manner to wasps but these insects aren't aggressive and usually the colony moves on after a short time.
What would summer be without bumble bees?
The word bumblebee is thought to have derived from the common name for them: humblebee in the 16th Century.
Important pollinators and not considered a pest as such.
There are 270 different species of hoverflies in the UK with around 90 of these to be found in gardens across Reading and they range in size from 3mm to 20mm - these amazing insects mimic certain types of other insect for defense.
Some like the largest; the hornet hoverfly closely resemble the European hornet while others have markings close to the common wasp. Others types of hoverfly have furry sections on their back and look just like honey bees.
Hoverflies are important pollinators and their larvae feed on aphids, if you want to attract these masters of disguise plant nectar rich plants in your garden and sit back and enjoy.
Hoverflies present as absolutely no risk or pest status and something we will not look to treat.
Our native hornet is shown top - a large insect around 25mm in length and mainly red with a yellow abdomen, these tend to live in woodland or close to wooded areas.
Smaller nests than the wasp and one unusual feature is that they hunt at night and will be attracted into brightly lit houses through open windows.
The Asian hornet shown bottom has recently arrived from France and poses a serious risk to our domestic honeybee's; slightly smaller than our European hornet with a dark body with yellow legs. The Asian hornet is a dangerous insect as they have larger nests with multiple Queens and can number up to 5000 drones in a mature nest.
Extremely aggressive they will attack anyone within 5 metres of their nest.
Without a shadow of doubt the most common of the summer pests found all over Reading; there are two species of wasp - the common wasp and the European or German wasp.
Similar in colouring but different in nature: the European wasp has a more aggressive nature and can be found nesting in bushes whereas the common wasp will be found in lofts and sheds.
You can tell which wasp species you have from the colour of its nest - a drab grey and its the European and an elaborate cream coloured nest with whorls means its the common wasp.
Whether its the European or common wasp, they all have a painful sting and can also give you a nasty bite and as numbers can reach into the thousands something to be avoided!
The mining bee is a solitary bee, seeking a south facing aspect to burrow into and lay her eggs; you will often find huge numbers congregating together as they have all found the ideal place.
Sandy well drained soil or a soft cement joint in a older wall are the ideal places for these bee's to tunnel into - hence the mining bee.
These little bee's don't really have a stinger anymore and are incapable of hurting us; we get called out to these late in the summer when they hatch out en mass and form a nuptial flight - hundreds of these will emerge all over the Reading area and Lower Earley is particularly suitable due to the type of soil.
Where would we be without the humble honey bee?
One third of our total food production relies on pollination and honey bees are responsible for just over a third of that, so we definitely need the honey bee and then of course theres' honey!
We will not treat honey bees; we recommend either the use of a beekeeper to collect a swarm or the use of a specialist bee collection service to open up a void, collect the bees and then seal up again.
Honey bees will protect their hive and should be treated with respect; if one stings then others may become activated to attack - as Winnie the Pooh said
"You can never tell with bee's".
We treat wasps and hornets right across Reading and towns all over Berkshire throughout the summer months with August being our busiest month.
These insects pack a powerful venom which when injected can trigger a severe allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis in small numbers of people.
Not to be taken lightly these insects have a painful sting and many people react with swelling over a wide area which can pose a danger if stung on the throat or inside the mouth.
Wasps can also inflict a nasty bite from their powerful mandibles.
Antihistamine is recommended to reduce the effects of the wasp toxin and ensure you clean the injection site with disinfectant - wasps use their stinger to paralysis prey and can transfer harmful bacteria from the last insect that they stung.
Hopefully this guide will help you determine whether or not you have a true pest: wasps and hornets being the common problem through the summer months; we always recommend using a professional pest controller to deal with any wasp or hornets nest - we have access to the correct PPE and equipment and here at Reading Pest Control we guarantee our treatments to leave you 100% pest free.
Tagged as: Bee's and wasps
Share this post: