Pest Information

Bees/Wasps

European wasp

waspNotoriously aggressive, the European wasps shiny yellow and black striped abdomen is an unmistakable warning. They construct paper nests up to several feet across that contain combs arranged like the floors of a building covered by a papery envelope.

A European wasp nest commonly contains from several thousand to tens of thousands of individual wasps. About 80% of European wasp nests will occur in the ground with the remainder usually found inside buildings. Adults consume nectar and sweets, but feed the larvae on captured insects.

When temperatures cool in late summer, European wasp numbers peak just as their insect food supply begins to decline. They scavenge more aggressively at this time, taking food from rubbish containers and picnickers. When disturbed, European wasps can sting repeatedly; their stingers are not barbed nor lost after stinging like those of honey bees.

The greatest health risk posed by European wasps is if stung in the mouth or back of the throat. The soft tissue in these areas will immediately swell and may cause breathing difficulties. For this reason, we recommend that you NEVER drink directly from a can or bottle outdoors.

Honey Bee

BeeThe honeybee is a 12mm long, hairy, honey brown insect. They should not be confused with European Wasps, which are black and bright yellow wasps. Honeybees live in extra large colonies of up to 50,000 individuals.

Their colonies can grow this large because they survive winter. The nest consists of several tiers or “combs” made of beeswax. It can be located in the cavities of trees, rock formations and buildings. In spring, a colony may produce a “swarm.”

This occurs when a newly produced queen flies off with about half the colony’s worker bees to establish a new colony. These swarms often come to rest on trees and houses while scout bees search for a good spot for a new nest.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are perhaps the most common wasps around structures. They are also known as “umbrella wasps” because their nests look like umbrellas hanging upside-down from eaves and overhangs. There are many species, but the typical paper wasp is up to 18mm long, reddish brown in colour with a long, cylindrical abdomen.

A paper wasp nest is a single comb of hexagonal cells made of a papery material the wasps form by chewing wood and mixing it with saliva. Larger nests can harbour up to 75 paper wasps including larvae and pupae developing within the cells. To feed the larvae, paper wasps capture insects, especially spiders & caterpillars.

Late in the year, colonies of paper wasps produce new queens that abandon the nest (it will not be reused) and seek shelter for winter. Once spring comes the cycle will start again. Wasps have a painful sting and will attack any person approaching or disturbing nest. Nests likely to be disturbed represent a hazard.