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Bees & Wasps

Bees and wasps have a painful sting, producing histamine in the human body which can be life threatening in some cases. It is important to be careful if you identify a bees or wasps in or around your home or business, as bees and wasps aren’t only annoying and harmful to your family, they can also be quite damaging to your home. Bees and Wasps often set up nests, hives or swarms in the cavities of the structures, this can require costly repairs if left for long periods of time. A bee hive is full of honey which can cause considerable damage to your home. A wasp nest in a cavity of your home can eat at the plaster, if you see bubbling in your walls or ceilings don’t poke at it, you may get a nasty surprise.

Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera)

Honey bees are the species kept by Bee Keepers.

If you have a problem with honey bees, contact a local Bee Keeper or Environmental Health Department as they will be able to
arrange for the swarm to be relocated.

Lifecycle

  • They live in hollow trees or in chimneys, wall cavities or roof spaces.
  • They are similar in size to wasps but are furrier and mostly black in colour.
  • Honey bees convert nectar into honey and beeswax.
  • A honey bee swarm will arrive in flight and cluster on a tree branch.
  • A colony size can often be greater than 30,000 individual honey bees.
  • Population under threat from varroa mite.

Yellow Jackets (Vespula Spp)

    Appearance

  • Worker – 1/2 inch long.
  • Queen – 3/4 inch long.
  • Alternating black and yellow bands.
  • Two sets of wings.
  • Narrow waist.
  • Lance-like stinger.

Lifecycle

  • Annual colonies.
  • Queen begins to nest in Spring.
  • Aggressive numbers in late Summer.
  • Colonies begin to decline by Fall.
  • Only inseminated Queens nest over Winter.

Habits

  • Habits
  • Feeding – at certain times of the year feed on insects including caterpillars / harmful flies, as colonies increase they are attracted to food consumed by humans.
  • Sting – sting repeatedly, will sting if provoked with symptoms range from swelling to life-threatening allergic shock.

    Visibility – visible during the day as they don’t see well at night.

  • Nesting – in trees / shrubs, or internally in attics, hollow walls/ flooring, sheds, under porches/eaves of buildings.

European Wasp (Vespula Germanica)

These are the two commonly found wasp species in NSW, Vic, and Tasmania and the ones responsible for causing painful wasp stings.

Once indoors, they prefer to build nests in sheltered locations with easy access to the outside, such as lofts, garages and wall cavities. Outside they may nest in old rodent burrows, hollow trees and bushes.

    Appearance

  • Yellow and black body, marking varies according to species.
  • Workers vary in size from 12 – 17mm.

Lifecycle

  • Only young Queens survive over winter and emerge in the spring to start nest building and lay eggs.
  • Workers (sterile females) emerge during early summer and take over nest building. Queen continues to lay eggs.
  • New queens and males mate in early autumn.
  • Nest dies during winter, including all the males and workers.
  • Wasps do not swarm.
  • Food preferences — will take insects and sweet foods.
  • Females sting readily and repeatedly.
  • A colony may have as many as 25,000 individual wasps.

Paper Wasp (Polistes Humilis)

Lifecycle

  • Longer and thinner than a bee. Approximately 15-25 mm
  • Black abdomen with bright yellow stripes
  • Longer and thinner than bees and European Wasps with a narrow
  • All yellow but may have a black base
  • Flies with legs hanging down
  • Seen above ground hanging in pergolas and eaves or under fence caps. Typically golf ball size or
  • Slightly larger
  • Can sting multiple times without dying
  • Generally not aggressive unless nest is disturbed upon which it will attack
  • Adults feed on plant nectar but will catch caterpillars to feed to larvae