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Stinging Insects

Stinging Insects: Yellowjackets vs. Honey Bees


At Bee Removal Specialist we have over 40 years of service and experience in the bee service industry. Many people ask what is the difference between a bee and wasp? When it comes down to it, they are very different yet still have some similarities.

Yellowjacket Wasps vs. Honeybees


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Yellowjacket Appearance

Yellow Jackets are a type of wasp that has a bright yellow color to them, they are smooth with a slender abdomen. They are faster and longer, a great advantage when hunting for food. This should help when trying to identify that insect around your home.

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Honeybee Appearance

Honeybees are not smooth and have fuzz all around their body, this fuzz helps collect pollen to bring back to the hive. They have a darker golden brown to them than other insects. They are not as thin and generally a little bigger with shorter antennas.

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Yellowjacket Sting

With a smooth stinger and extremely aggressive nature, yellowjackets can sting more than once without dying. Not only do they sting but they bite their prey to tear the flesh apart to make it easier for taking it back to the hive.

The venom from a yellowjacket sting is stronger, the pain will go on for hours leaving the area swollen. You cannot remove the stinger because it never detaches from the yellowjacket. Easiest way to reduce the pain is washing the area and applying a cold compress.

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Honeybee Sting

Unique to the honeybee alone, they carry a sac of venom that is attached to their stinger. These stingers have barbs that act like fishhooks, making it harder to remove.

The sac is left behind with the stinger to keep pumping venom into the target, but the honeybee dies shortly after. The barbed stingers are easy to remove if you drag it out. Do not pinch or all the bee venom will be released, some people will show a reaction to a bee sting, others will not.

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Yellowjacket Nest

The yellowjacket nest is made from wood fiber turned into a paper like-material. They do not store honey; they build underground or in a secure area that is covered for example a weep hole. The average nest can hold up to 5,000 wasps at a time. Nesting sites are hard to find since they choose anywhere with a dense vegetation, abandoned holes in the ground, anywhere with an enclosed area.

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Honeybee Nest

The honeybee species are known to create honeycombs in hollowed areas where they can store honey and reproduce. These honeycombs are made from a wax that held together by propolis. Which acts like glue and can be used to keep invaders out. The average honeybee hive can contain anywhere from 10,000 to 60,000 honeybees.

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Yellowjacket Queen

The queen is easier to identify, she has bigger abdomen with dots running down. They remain hidden underground and only produce eggs. Her role is laying eggs come spring early summer, these fertilized eggs will be part of the future nest.

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Honeybee Queen

A honeybee queen is born after exclusively only being fed royal jelly in the queen cell for a period. This activates the genes for the queen bee to have reproductive ovaries. There is only one queen bee in every hive.

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Yellowjacket Diet

Yellowjackets are known to be attracted to anything sweet, fruit, and the nectar from flowers. The main distinguishing factor is that yellow jackets are carnivores. They look for a higher source of protein and meat from smaller insects, picnics, and garbage. They will only go about 1 mile from the nest to collect food.

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Honeybee Diet

The food process of the honeybee starts by collecting pollen and nectar which can be made into a variety of food sources depending on the bee process. If a larva is chosen to be a queen, then she will be given royal jelly exclusively, other larvae will receive beebread that is high in protein. The last food source that everyone knows is honey! Bees prefer to fly around 5 miles near the area to pollinate.

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Yellowjacket Natural Predators

The skunk is one of the main predators for a yellowjacket. They can find the nest and dig at it. The praying mantis is also known to eat the wasps flying around. Bears have a thick skin, that they do not feel the stingers, making a yellowjacket nest one of the best snacks they can find.

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Honeybee Natural Predators

The crab spider as seen in the picture is known to wait near a flower for a bee to come along and attack. Hive beetles are also known to come into a beehive to infiltrate and disturb their food source.

Bee Removal FAQ

1. Do you have experience removing bees from a wall?

Removing honeybees from a wall requires carpentry experience. A novice beekeeper can cause more damage than good if they are not experts in carpentry.

2. What is the process of removing bees from a wall?

An experienced beekeeper will identify the location of the bees with an infrared camera, use a smoker to calm the bees, use a bee vacuum and other professional tools to remove the honeybees safely, extract the hive, clean the affected area, apply pesticide to deter honeybees from returning to the empty hive, fill the open area with insulation and replace the wall with the original material whenever possible.

3. Do you have pictures of honeybee removals from walls?

Trustworthy honeybee removal companies will have plenty of pictures. Choose a company that has more than just a few examples.

4.How long have you been a beekeeper?

Because there are many species of bees, a beekeeper must have extensive knowledge of the different techniques to safely and effectively remove the bees.

5. How long have you been in business?

Make sure they have a valid business license and have many years of experience in the bee removal field.

6. Do you have references?

A reputable bee removal company will have good ratings online on platforms such as Google. Be wary of businesses that have too few good reviews. It’s not unusual for novice companies to ask friends and family to create favorable reviews.

7. Do you guarantee your work?

Read the warranty or guarantee agreement carefully. A good bee removal company will warranty a removal requiring a repair for at least a year.

8. Do you have insurance?

Some companies operate with little or no insurance. Companies should have both liability and workers' compensation insurance. This is a good precaution against accidents caused by bee smokers causing fires or beekeepers falling from roofs or trees.

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