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Pest Control Hornets, Wasps & Yellow Jackets
For Every Pest There is a Season
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Summer is prime time for wasps, yellow jackets, hornets and ants. Ridding homes of such insects is a nearly $7-billion-a-year industry, according to the National Pest Management Association. The industry doesn't merely manage peskiness; stinging insects send more than 500,000 people to emergency rooms every year, the association's statistics show.

"If they're on the home or on the premises, there's a possibility you may have a child or a resident who may be allergic," says Tom Dobrinska, a board-certified entomologist and training director with Elmhurst, Illinois-based Anderson Pest Solutions. "If they get stung, you're talking about possible anaphylactic shock or even death."
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Even without the threat of injury, the presence of summertime pests can be annoying to homeowners and their guests. "Nothing will break up a party like a small-scale wasp invasion," says Frank Vullo, a resident of Chicago's Jefferson Park neighborhood. "A few summers ago, I had about 60 people in my yard for a retirement party. Someone upset some wasps and the next thing you know, I have five people in my yard. Everyone else left."

Vullo says someone must have hit the side of his garage with a basketball, which unleashed a steady stream of wasps. "It was like a cartoon," he says. "They just kept coming." Safety and health are just two reasons why experts such as Dobrinska say homeowners should take steps to keep their properties safe.
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Know Your Stingers!
The Difference Between Hornets & Bees
Experts say the sight of a few bees shouldn't lead anyone to panic. "Honeybees are good; you want to have them pollinating your fruits and vegetables and flowers," Dobrinska says. "But they become defensive once you start getting too close to the nest, and depending on the species, some are more ornery than others." To head off a potential bee problem, identify places where colonies enjoy setting up shop. "You're looking for a structural integrity compromise on the outside of the building, and areas that can be tuck pointed or sealed to keep them from nesting there, such as soffit vents," Dobrinska says.

One particular and curious exception to this is the carpenter bee. "They will actually drill a hole with their mandibles to excavate wood, and go in on a 90-degree angle," he says. "They'll lay their eggs and the young will survive on the inside." To prevent this infestation, you need to make sure exterior wooden surfaces are varnished or painted. Wood putty also will work to seal holes where there's no activity. "But once you've got them in there, it's a done deal," Dobrinska cautions. "If you seal up the hole, they'll just find another way out."

You can also use a product like a foaming aerosol pest killer, which is especially helpful when trying to get to those difficult-to-reach places in and around your property. If you meet an aggravated bee, remember that the insect can only sting you once. Wasps and yellow jackets, however, can sting multiple times – and you can cross paths with them at the most inconvenient times. "The worst-case scenario is when you're mowing the lawn and run into an active nest," Dobrinska says.

Wasps and yellow jackets can be aerial or ground nesters. Aerial nests often are hidden along soffits or the sides of houses. On the ground, you'll want to look in bare areas in the soil, old animal nests or holes between air-conditioning units and concrete. "Make sure exhaust vents are well sealed, such as the dryer vent, and that your home screens are in good repair," he says. "If they're not, they may get (through) the screen and nest under your window."

If you do choose to go after the nest yourself, you can use "dusting material" that's sold in spray cans, although it won't be the same grade as what professionals use, Dobrinska says. The commercial products can be especially useful in combating wasps and hornets because they not only kill the pests but also destroy their nests. After a few days, the nest can be removed safely and any holes that lead to a house or garage can be sealed. Hornets, which are another type of wasp, make their home in papery nests shaped like a football or volleyball. "Out of all the wasps we deal with, those are the ones that are the most aggressive," Dobrinska says. "If they're way up in a tree, you may not see them; they're so well hidden out there."

An aerosol hornet spray can be used to help destroy hornets in your yard. Because hornets are so aggressive, it's a good idea to let a professional remove their nests, Dobrinska warns. For those who want to do the job themselves, however, it is possible to cut down a low-lying nest at night when hornets are less active and have it fall right into a strong, insecticide-treated plastic bag, he says. Don't try this without help, though, and wear protective clothing from head to toe, including safety goggles.

Yellow Jackets, Wasps & Hornets by Season

April and May are the most crucial months for wasps, yellow jackets and hornets because that's when they create their nests. "At that time, they're small nests and they're not threatening, so that's the best time to go in and knock those out," Dobrinska says.
Yellow jacket season peaks in September. A common place to see them is around soda cans, which attract the insects because of the sweet stuff inside.

Baited traps are a good solution to safely get rid of these bugs. Traps work by using entry holes that yellow jackets and wasps can squeeze into, but can't get out of, and are safe because they employ no toxic poisons – you can use sugary pop or sugar water to attract pests.

– Lou Carlozo, Tribune Brand Publishing
Hornets are the most aggressive type of wasp.
Spectracide - Controlling Wasps, Hornets & Yellow Jackets Video
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PrEtt2jQgk Spectracide Wasp & Hornet Control
Video: Controlling Wasps, Hornets & Yellow Jackets
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