Bees, wasps and hornets

What are bees, wasps and hornets?

Bees are fuzzy, flying insects with yellow and black stripes. There are two types of bees common in Ontario: the honeybee and the bumblebee.

Wasps and hornets have similar hairless bodies. The major difference between wasp and hornets is size and colour. Wasps are about one third inch (one centimeter) to one inch (two and one-half centimeters) long. Hornets are larger. Wasps have black and yellow rings, while hornets have black and white rings.

Bees are beneficial to humans because they pollinate plants, whereas wasps and hornets help out by eating other insects. However, all three can be hazardous. Stings can be dangerous to those allergic to their venom – although these insects will only sting if they feel they or their nests are in danger. Bees die after they sting. Unlike bees,wasps and hornets will not die after they sting.

What is the lifecycle of a bee, wasp or hornet?

Each colony of these insects has a queen. The queen can give birth to between 1,000 and 30,000 each spring, depending on the conditions of her surroundings. If the nest is located in a cool, damp place with plenty of food, the number of offspring will be high. The queen is the only member of the community that can give birth. Most wasp and hornet colonies are considerably smaller for most of the year. They reach peak size in September before frosts kill off most of the colony.

Queens can live up to five years. Drones, the males in the colony, live for 40 to 50 days.

Worker bees, the females in the colony, live between one and four months.

What do bees, wasps and hornets feed on?

Pollen and nectar are the main sources of food for bees. Pollen is a fine powdery substance found in the head of flowers (left).Nectar is a sugar-rich liquid produced by plants. Wasps and hornets are general scavengers feeding on other insects , food left lying around and decaying fruit.

How do I know if I have a problem?

The presence of many bees, wasps or hornets flying around your home is the main indicator of pest problems at home.

These insects will be hunting for food and protecting their nests. If their presence becomes a nuisance, then you have a problem.

Where do bees, wasps and hornets live?

The areas surrounding houses provide a number of ideal homes for bees, wasps and hornets. Some of these areas include verandas, ceilings, attics ,walls, trees and shrubs. The insects will find holes and small burrows and set up nests, because holes and burrows are often near food sources (such as fallen fruit, flowers or nectar-producing plants).

What to do if I see a nest near my home?

Contact us immediately if you have a bee or hornet infestation at the number on the website so we can remove the nest in a manner that is safe for you and your family. PPC services will kill the nest and take it away so it will no longer be a concern to you.