Home/Wasps, Hornets, & Bees
Stinging insects are some of the scariest to deal with, even for the bravest of homeowners. The threat of being stung makes many people wary of sharing a space with bees or wasps, let alone aggressive hornets. Sage offers pest control services across North Carolina to help keep homes and workplaces insect-sting-free.
There are about 20,000 different types of bees worldwide, not all of which you’ll find in North Carolina or even the US. Although honey bees are the most widely spread and familiar, they are a European import established in the States four centuries ago.
Other bee species found in NC include bumble bees, carpenter bees, mason bees, digger bees, leafcutter bees, and sweat bees. Some bees are solitary, while others are social and build large nests or hives in tree hollows, underground, and between rockery or logs that can provide shelter.
Unlike bees, wasps and hornets have smooth, hairless bodies. Some species have black and yellow coloring, so it can be easy to confuse them with bees. However, they can sting multiple times repeatedly, making a swarm of hornets exceedingly dangerous. Common wasp and hornet species in North Carolina include yellowjackets, mud daubers, bald-faced hornets, and cicada killer wasps.
Like bees, some wasp species are social, while others are solitary. Social species tend to build vast papery nests in trees, under roof eaves, or even in the walls of houses! They may also burrow underground, damaging lawns and gardens.
Despite their tough-guy appearance, most wasps will not sting unless they feel threatened. They feed on spiders and caterpillars and can be an ally for gardeners. However, hosting a swarm in your home can be dangerous for your family, pets, and property.
Bees and wasps in your backyard are good—they pollinate your plants and control garden pests. However, you should evict them immediately when they get into your home. Apart from the threat of a painful sting, having a bee or wasp nest in your walls, above a door, or in the attic can cause structural damage to your house.
The beeswax and honey residue in your home might attract other pests like rodents, roaches, and ants. It can also leave unsightly stains on your siding. Carpenter bees drill holes in wooden structures that damage them over time, and honey bees build giant hives that add up to 80 pounds of weight to the structures they hang from.
It’s challenging to get a good look at flying insects like wasps and bees, especially when trying to keep your distance. The nest will hold many clues about what species you’re dealing with, giving your bee control company a head start.
Honey bees make the biggest hives, with colonies of up to 50,000 bees! You can identify them by their hexagon-shaped holes. However, these nests are designed to fill cavities, so you might only see the entrance. A low humming sound from the walls and an uptick in the number of bees you encounter could indicate a bee infestation. These bees sting only once when their stinger penetrates the skin.
Unlike honey bees, bumble bees build nests on the ground or below ground level. You might find them in your lawn or among your plants—they look like small yellow-brown spheres clustered together. This species is far less aggressive than honey bees and wasps, and you can get pretty close to their nests without worry. Still, they will sting multiple times when threatened.
These menacing critters incite fear in homeowners across NC and other southeastern states. Their nests look like yellowjacket nests—papery gray with a smooth exterior surface. Unlike their yellow counterparts, however, they like to build nests high up and away from predators. You might find them hanging from trees, street poles, or in attics and chimneys. They will sting their enemies repeatedly when sensing danger.
You’ve almost certainly seen a paper wasp nest at some point. These papery, sophisticated structures resemble delicate sea sponges suspended from rafters and branches. Like bees, social wasps build hives in hexagonal formations. Stay away from their nests and call wasp control to remove them safely. Their sting is painful, and they will continue stinging any mammal threatening their nest.
Yellowjackets are a type of paper wasp that make their nests from chewed-up wood fibers. They can nest almost anywhere—attics, walls, underground, and in trees. Their nests are gray with a wavy, cylindrical structure enclosing the hexagonal interior. Like many other wasps, they abandon their nests during the colder months. They are the most aggressive species and are prevalent in the US. Interestingly, they bite and sting.
The most effective way to remove a wasp nest from your home is to call a professional pest control service. Exterminators have extensive training in dealing with stinging insects safely and typically wear protective gear while removing a nest. Most wasps are territorial and can be aggressive when you attack their home.
First, wasp control technicians will inspect the building and identify the insect species it harbors. Then, they will use pesticides to eradicate the wasps or hornets. Pesticides come in powder, smoke, spray, and foam forms. The technician will choose the best option based on the size and location of the nest.
Insects that fly into the nest will carry the pesticide on their wings and bodies, spreading it throughout the colony. Eventually, all the hornets/wasps will expire, and you can safely remove the empty nest. Wasps won’t use the same nest twice, so you don’t have to worry about removing an empty nest in a wall cavity if you can’t get to it.
According to the USDA, 35% of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators like bats and bees. However, bee populations are declining worldwide. Unlike wasp and hornet control, the best bee removal is not about killing the insects. Instead, beekeepers relocate the colony to a safe place where the bees can live peacefully.
Eco-friendly bee removal generally happens in four stages:
Bees like to build nests in cavities and hard-to-reach spaces. A beekeeper may remove part of the surrounding structure to get to the heart of the hive before they can relocate the bees.
Bees always follow their queen, so removing her will take care of the entire colony. Experienced beekeepers can find the queen relatively quickly and will gently remove her from the hive and place her in a new pre-made home nearby.
Sometimes beekeepers use special vacuums to suck the rest of the bees out of their hive without harming them. They may also take some honeycombs from the original hive to preserve the bees’ larvae.
Once the beehive has been safely relocated, it’s time for operation cleanup. Honey and beeswax may be left behind, attracting rodents or even bears. Pest control technicians will likely refer you to builders for significant structural repairs.
Most bees, wasps, and hornets won’t return to an abandoned nest, but that doesn’t stop them from building a new one right next door. A big part of hornet control is identifying how insects get into your home to prevent it from happening again. Damaged roofs or cracks in the walls appeal to insects because they promise shelter and warmth.
The best way to prevent wasps, hornets, and bees from building a nest in your house is to seal all possible entry points and use fly screens during the summer. Try putting out bee boxes in your yard to divert carpenter and other burrowing bees away from your deck and siding. Finally, keep a tidy shed and garden to eliminate insect hiding places and deter carnivorous wasps.
We offer professional pest control services across North Carolina and have helped dozens of Raleigh, Greensboro, and Charlotte homeowners remove stinging insects. Our friendly and experienced team undergoes regular training to keep them up to date on all the latest industry advancements so we can provide the best bee and wasp removals in the state.