BEES & WASPS
We have more than 1500 species of native bees in Australia, but the one most commonly found setting up home in wall cavities or adjacent trees is the introduced commercial honey bee.
Honeybees can sometimes break away from commercial hives and establish themselves with a new queen. Unfortunately, even though bees are intrinsically important to our environment, it can be dangerous to allow a bee hive to set up in your home. Bees present a significant stinging risk to your family members and pets.
ERADICATION OF ACTIVE BEES
Removal of an active bee hive from within a brick veneer or fibro sheeted wall should only be done by a professional. Treatment involves blowing professional strength insecticidal dust carefully into the void. It needs to take place in the late afternoon when most of the bees have returned from their day’s gathering. Any late arriving bees will not enter the hive once the queen is deceased.
Within 24 hours all the bees will be gone, but that is only half the job. The honey that remains in the hive can act as an attractant for many other insect pests and can absorb moisture and ferment without adult bees to tend it. Leaking honey can also penetrate ceilings and walls, causing stains, sticky puddles around doors, windows and softening gyprock so all remnants of the hive must be removed.
The process is time consuming and labour intensive; bees may become aggressive at the attack on their home so it is best to keep right away and leave it to the professionals.
Bees and wasps can be confused for one another because of their similarities in appearance, but treatment of a wasp nest is a very different to clearing a bee hive. Wasps will feed on insects like flies and caterpillars yet once a colony is larger, they will also be attracted to sweet things and human food.
The English Wasp and the European or German wasp have become established in southeast Australia including Tasmania and over time will be found all over Australia. The Paper Wasp generally builds smaller nests than the others and are the ones you’ll more likely see on the outside of your home.
Wasps are sometimes mistaken for hornets because they share distinctive yellow and black markings, but wasps are smaller in size. They have a distinct head, thorax and the abdomen and workers vary from 12mm – 17mm in size.
The earlier a nest is treated, the safer your family and pets will be. If you spot a nest, keep family members away and don’t attempt to treat the nest yourself, especially if you’re sensitive to stings. Wasps can be easily provoked and will aggressively defend their nest if disturbed.
Nests constructed of chewed wood pulp and saliva are often found in sheltered spots under eaves, high on walls, in outdoor entertaining areas or on sheds and even in hollow trees or shrubs where there is shade and protection yet easy access to the outdoors. They can also establish nests in wall cavities making them particularly difficult to see and eradicate.
They are most active during the warmer months of the year. A queen starting a new nest in the spring can build a nest the size of a walnut, then as the temperature increases towards summer, the same nest can grow to the size of a football or larger with thousands of stinging wasps living in it.
Only female wasps sting. Unlike bees, wasps can sting repeatedly without consequence. The stings are notoriously painful and can be extremely dangerous to those who are allergic. Some people are so afraid of wasp stings, they are reluctant to go outside into the garden. For reliable information about reactions to stings, see the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy.
If you have a wasp problem, professional treatment is the most effective and safest solution. Our technicians have all the necessary protective gear to wear and can offer expert advice to help prevent another problem in the future.