Eradicating Wasps, Hornets, and Yellowjackets in Michigan
Don’t let your summer outdoors be ruined by the presence of aggressive stinging insects. Hornets, wasps, and yellowjackets are the most common stinging pests in Michigan, besides bees. Yellowjackets and hornets are generally much more aggressive than bees and they pose a real risk to humans with their venomous stings. Thousands of people are killed every year in the United States due to allergic reactions to hornets and wasps. Like bees, these pests can build their nests in trees, under eaves, behind the siding of your home or business, underground, and in other unwanted locations. Whether it’s paper wasps, yellowjackets, bald-faced hornets, or anything else that stings, Creature Control can take care of them.
Wasps, Hornets, and Yellowjackets Facts
There are more than 30,000 identified wasps throughout the world and they are divided into two groups: social and solitary. Social wasps (those who form colonies) account for about 1,000 species while the remainder is independent. Solitary wasps include some of the family’s largest members, like cicada killers and the striking blue-and-orange tarantula hawks, which can both reach about two inches in length. Social wasps use their stingers only for defense while solitary wasps use their stingers to inject venom into their prey while hunting. The most common wasps found in Michigan are the mud dauber wasp and the paper wasp. Yellowjackets are also wasps, but since there are twelve types in Michigan alone, we separated this species below.
Similar to bees, the queen hornet dominates their hive and is the only female to reproduce within it. Most other hornets are asexual female workers that perform essential community duties such as building the hive, gathering food, feeding the young, and protecting the colony. Males are few and they have only one real role, to mate with the queen. Males typically die soon after their sexual task is complete. In colder climates, hornet nests are abandoned in winter and only the new, young queen and her eggs survive the season by finding a protected area under tree bark or inside human dwellings. In the spring, the queen will start a new nest and soon, her young will become the workers that will take over the chores of the new hive, leaving the queen to manage reproduction, which she will produce more workers to expand the colony. The primary hornet found in Michigan is the bald-faced hornet.
Yellowjackets are commonly referred to as wasps and are regular pests throughout Michigan and the U.S. There are twelve different types of yellowjackets in Michigan and they each have different behaviors. They build their nests either in underground abandoned burrows or within wooden decks and play structures, and even within landscaping materials including brick and boulders. Yellowjackets can be unpredictable and are extremely aggressive when provoked, and their painful stings, in some cases, maybe deadly. Yellowjackets can carry anaerobic bacteria on their stingers, which they pick up from frequent visits to landfills, sewage, or manure. The sting can result in blood poisoning in the victim. If you discover a ground hive, make sure to keep all pets and children well out of harm’s way until the hive has been removed or exterminated. Because of their aggressive nature, it is best to call a pest control professional when dealing with yellowjackets. In Michigan, the German and the eastern yellowjackets are the most prevalent.
Learn More About Stinging Insects in Michigan
Creature Control may also use a pesticide gas to reach yellowjacket hives that have been made inside brick fascia and would otherwise be inaccessible to conventional sprays. * Honey bees are also a common problem during certain times of the year. However, because honey bees are vital to the eco-system, we recommend contacting a local beekeeper to live extract them and rehome their colony whenever possible. For the specifics of any stinging insect job, please call Creature Control today to speak to one of our pest control specialists.
- Check to see if the wasp’s stinger is still in your skin. Wasps will not leave their stingers behind unless they have been swatted and the stinger breaks off. If the stinger is embedded within your skin, use a pair of tweezers to remove it.
- Cover the affected area with ice wrapped in a towel or a bag of frozen vegetables. Do not put ice directly on the skin, as this can cause an ice burn. Leave the ice in place for five minutes; this will reduce blood flow to the affected area and slow the defensive reaction of your body against the venom.
- Ibuprofen or acetaminophen helps reduce pain. Calamine lotion can be applied to the affected area throughout the day to reduce itching. It is important not to itch or scratch the affected area, as this will spread the venom and slow the healing process. Benadryl is also helpful, either taken orally or applied topically to the sting.
- One effective Native American remedy for wasp stings is to apply mud to the affected area for about 15 minutes. The mud helps to draw the venom out of the skin.