Honey bees vary in color from yellow to black, have black or brown bands across the abdomen, are approximately 3/4 inch long and are covered with hairs or setae. A foraging honey bee has pollen baskets on each hind leg, which often are loaded with a ball of yellow or dark green pollen. Honey bees sting once and die as their barbed stinger remains in the skin and their venom sack is left behind. An alarm pheromone is released to help others find and continue the attack.
I recommend caution around established honeybee colonies. Africanized honeybees have been found in Kansas City, MO according to Dr. Chip Taylor, Professor, Insect Ecology, University of Kansas. Africanized honeybees were reported to have been able to make it through a harsh winter in Palisade, Colorado.
Please do let us help you. We work in the entire KC Metro Area including Olathe, Overland Park and Kansas City, MO.
Yellowjackets lack the dense body hairs that are found on carpenter bees and honey bees. Yellowjackets do not have the pollen baskets on the hind legs. The yellowjacket is about 1 inch long, and the abdomen is characterized by having alternating yellow and black bands. Yellowjackets live in meadows and usually nest in the ground or at ground level. They sometimes establish colonies inside structural walls. The adults love nectar and feed pre-chewed insects to their larva. They enjoy invading picnics and will actually carry off small pieces of food. Yellowjackets have a very painful sting and attack in large numbers. They are very aggressive and will sting repeatedly at the slightest disturbance. One Yellowjacket may sting numerous times during an attack and like most hornets and wasps stings usually occur on the face. For more information, see an ID Guide at the bottom of this page. We use safe and efficient pest control methods to either help prevent or exterminate them when requested.
Wasps are social insects with behavior similar to bumble bees. A new nest is built each season usually by a single female (sometimes more than one) who becomes the queen for the colony. As new offspring develop and the colony size increases, the offspring take over the major duties of food collection, caring for the young, nest maintenance and defense. The colony does not remain active and intact throughout the year, but disbands before winter begins. Only selected females will mate during the fall swarming rituals. Then, as the temperatures become cool, brood rearing and food gathering comes to a close. The nest disbands and these newly mated female wasps seek shelter for the winter in protected places such as attics, wall voids, hollow trees, bird houses, wood piles or similar settings. Sometimes they form small clusters, but there is no nest. Only the mated females survive until next spring.
We use safe and efficient pest control methods to either help prevent or euthanize them when requested.
People who complain about bumblebees flying about under the eaves of their homes are probably being annoyed by carpenter bees.
Carpenter bees resemble bumblebees in both size and appearance, but are not social insects. They construct their nests in trees or in frame buildings. Most of the top of the abdomen of carpenter bees is without hairs and is shiny black in color. By contrast, the abdomen of bumblebees is fully clothed with hairs, many of them yellow in color. If you see a number of large bees hovering near the eaves of the house or drilling in wood, you have carpenter bees.
We use safe and efficient pest control methods to either help prevent or exterminate them when requested.
Bald-Faced Hornets also known as the White-Faced Hornet, are a large (1.5 inches) black and ivory yellow jacket. Bald-Faced Hornets aren't hornets, but pretty close, they are wasps. Typically Bald-faced hornets live in wooded areas but may occasionally be found attached to your home or out buildings. The nests are constructed of a paper-like martial formed from chewed wood. Bald-faced hornets construct almost exclusively gray football-shaped nests attached to trees and buildings (but they may exceed a basketball in diameter or even the nest may grow to be larger by the end of the summer). Bald-faced hornets are the most aggressive of the stinging insects so you will want to avoid them!
Bumblebees are are characterized by black and yellow body hairs, often in bands. However, some species have orange or red on their bodies, or may be entirely black. Another obvious characteristic is the soft nature of the hair, called pile, that covers their entire body, making them appear and feel fuzzy. Bumblebees can sting, but unlike a honey bee, a bumblebee's stinger lacks barbs -- so they can sting more than once. Bumblebee species are normally non-aggressive, but will sting in defense of their nest, or if harmed. Click for conservation information. As a last resort, we use safe and efficient pest control methods to euthanize them when requested.
Cicada killers are solitary, meaning that each female typically builds her own nest and hunts prey to feed her own offspring (unlike yellow jackets, hornets, and paper wasps, which live in social colonies). Even so, cicada killers are often found in groups, since many wasps are attracted to the same suitable nesting areas. These are usually sparsely vegetated, southeast-facing slopes or unmortared retaining walls, with plentiful cicadas in nearby deciduous trees.
Male wasps appear a week or two before females, and spend their time feeding at flowers or sap and establishing territories. They perch on vegetation or stones and make brief, hovering flights to inspect newcomers, including people, pets, and other wasps. Although these inspections may be intimidating, male wasps cannot sting.
When females emerge, they mate once and then begin to prepare nest burrows, which can be up to 40 inches long and include about 16 individual chambers. One female wasp can excavate nearly a half-gallon of soil for a single burrow, and she makes about four burrows in her lifetime. She piles the tailings in a neat, U-shaped mound at the entrance of each burrow, and this soil can damage turf and other plants.
We use safe and efficient pest control methods to euthanize them when requested.
Ground bees become active in early spring. These bees dig nests in the ground, often in bare patches of the lawn or garden. If you find mounds of soil, similar to anthills but with larger openings, these may be ground bee nests. Watch for bees flying low over the ground and entering their burrows.
Female ground bees can sting, but rarely do. Ground bees are not aggressive. However, they will sting in defense if threatened. Males of some species may behave aggressively around nesting areas, but they lack a sting.
In most cases, you can mow your lawn and continue your regular outdoor activities without fear of being stung. And nesting activity is limited to spring, so ground bees won't stay for long. Unless you have concerns for a family member with a bee venom allergy, it's usually preferable to leave ground bees alone.
Ground bees nest in dry soil, and avoid damp areas when choosing nest sites. The easiest and least toxic method of controlling ground bees is simply to water the area. As soon as you see ground bee activity, start soaking the area with a full inch of water per week. This is usually enough to discourage the burrowing females, and to make them relocate to drier ground. A thick layer of mulch on bare garden beds will also make ground bees think twice about nesting there.
As a last resort, we use safe and efficient pest control methods to euthanize them when requested.
I've had some customers ask about prevention of woodpeckers. It is true they look for insects on a structure and treating the structure with a pesticide can work. However, they may simply be nesting or exhibiting mating behavior. I recommend concrete siding which makes it uncomfortable for their beak.
This Johnson County Extension Website might be helpful to you: http://www.johnson.k-state.edu/natural-resources/nuisance-wildlife/.
Check out this study from Cornell University for more of the story: http://www.birds.cornell.edu/wp_about/.
How to protect yourself from woodpecker damage: