Stand outside for a few moments, and you’ll quickly identify some bees and wasps.
They thrive in the warm weather, and right now their busy making babies so their families will grow.
These stinging insects grow in numbers all summer long. Right now you don’t see very many as you look around your yard, or any other outdoor area. As the summer progresses you’ll see them everywhere you look.
The most you’ll see flying out there are the bees. They come in a number of different species. Some are threats, some are harmless.
But all are pretty intimidating.
The bee we see most in the yard is the yellow jacket.
This yellow and black striped stinger flies around your yard visiting the dandelion blooms. They gather nectar from those little flowers, and carry it back to the nest for food. They also pick up pollen from each plant they contact, and take it to other plants for pollination.
Yellow jackets usually don’t bother you unless you step on them.
Once the worker stings anything, the worker dies. That doesn’t help you if you’re the victim though because you’re already stung. Fortunately yellow jacket stings only hurt for a few minutes (unless you’re allergic), and the pain goes away.
You’ll nevertheless have a small bump to show you where the bee got you though. And the stinger often stays behind so you’ll likely see that sticking up from the middle of that bump.
They attack in clouds if you upset their nest too. Once I squirted some insecticide into a nest of yellow jackets that plagued children at a day care. Those bees spewed out of that hole like a wave rushing to shore along the Pipeline on the north side of Oahu.
Before I got back out-of-the-way of that bee cloud I had a number of stings.
The next most often seen bee is the bumblebee.
The only time I ever got a bumblebee sting was when I managed to make the insect mad somehow.
I disturbed their nests a time or two. And they don’t like that. Bumblebees don’t come swarming out of the nest quite as fast as yellow jackets. But you nevertheless need to move quickly to get away from them if you mess with their nest, and make them mad at you.
Another time as I rode my motorcycle a bumblebee stung me on my side. I guess it got swept inside my jacket. At first I thought someone shot me it hurt so bad. I pulled over to have a look, and seen the welt. It’s hard to mistake bumblebee stings. They expand up round as a nickel, and have a dark red identify right in the center.
Sometimes I mistake carpenter bees for bumblebees until I get a closer look. Their turn up is very similar.
Carpenter bees rarely sting, and only the female can sting. You must really rile them up before they attack you. When you get too close to their nest they fly around you. They try to intimidate you into running away from the area.
The biggest problem with the carpenter bee is that it bores into wood, digs a tunnel, and builds its nest at the far end. When they do this in the beams of your buildings they weaken the structure. They especially like to chew into untreated wood.
Wasps don’t grow large numbers, but their sting is painful. They’ll mostly leave you alone if you leave them alone. But when you trouble their nest every one of them are coming after you. When that happens you’re in trouble.
Most of the time bees and wasps don’t bother us. But when you have a nest in an area where you travel often these stinging insects sometimes become big threats to you, and your family.
When you see them in large numbers, too close for comfort, you need to treat for the bees or wasps before you’re stung.