Prepare for the Height of Stinging Insect Season in Wisconsin

Stinging insects, such as wasps, hornets and bees, can easily ruin your outdoor fun. Most active and aggressive in late summer and early fall, these pests are frequently uninvited guests at many outdoor cookouts. Their stings contain venom capable of causing allergic reactions that send over half a million people to the hospital each year and result in painful swelling even for those without an allergic sensitivity. Severe allergic reactions can involve shortness of breath, dizziness, hives and even anaphylactic shock.

If you have been stung by a bee or wasp and are experiencing any of the above mentioned signs of allergic reaction, proceed to the hospital for immediate inspection.

Differences Between Bees and Wasps
Bees, including honey bees and bumble bees, feature hairy bodies and play a vital role in pollination. They are generally non-aggressive, though will attack if provoked or threatened.

Wasps are more aggressive than bees and often attack whenever someone invades their space. Yellow jackets, paper wasps and hornets are all wasp subspecies. Yellow jackets are particularly aggressive. Typically building their nests in the ground, they can easily be spurred to attack if stepped on or disturbed in anyway.

Honey bees can sting only once as they have a barb that detaches during the process, causing them to die shortly afterward. However, yellow jackets and paper wasps can sting targets repeatedly. Whether in the presence of bees or wasps, it is important to remain calm and vacate the area slowly to help ensure you are not perceived as a threat.

Avoiding Insect Stings

  • Cover up with pants and long-sleeved shirts when gardening or working outdoors.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in the grass.
  • Take caution when eating or drinking anything sweet. Cover up desserts and sodas.
  • Don’t wear sweet smelling perfumes, hairsprays and deodorants when heading outdoors.
  • Avoid brightly colored clothing; especially clothes with floral patterns.

The best defense to stings is simply to limit exposure to stinging insects, so any nests near your home should be removed. If you attempt to remove the nest yourself, use great caution as this will be perceived as a direct threat on their space and can provoke them to attack. It is best to hire a professionally trained exterminator who is equipped and trained to eliminate any dangerous hive and ensure the infestation does not reemerge in the immediate area.

Why Are Bees and Wasps so Bad in the Fall?

Have you ever been at a fall tailgate and thought, “Wow, there seems to be way more wasps now than during summer?” This experience, combined with the increased interest in stinging insect treatments we see in the fall, prompted me to ask Batzner Associate Certified Entomologist Dave Kusnierek whether stinging insects really are worse in autumn or if it was just my imagination. Here is his response:

Population Size

Problems with stinging insects such as bees, hornets, and wasps do increase in the early fall, mainly because populations are at their largest size around that time of year. The size of the nest has been growing all summer, so in the beginning of fall you start to run into fully mature nests that simply have a higher population than earlier in the summer. The larger nests send out more foragers, increasing the chances that they become a bother to you.

Dietary Changes and Food Availability

During the fall, some species of stinging insects become more aggressive because they are preparing their queen for the winter, and are more protective near the hive. This aggravated behavior is made worse as natural food sources, such as flowers and insects, are depleted with colder weather, and they grow hungry. Many stinging insects also undergo a change in their dietary needs in the fall, switching from requiring proteins to requiring carbs. These factors cause stinging insects to seek out artificial food sources, leading them to become more of a nuisance around outdoor events like festivals and backyard picnics. Our own behavior can also increase run-ins with stinging insects, as doing fall maintenance around the house often leads to areas where stinging insects are likely to build nests.

The best way to stop them from becoming a major problem in the fall is by having an ongoing service to prevent the population from growing too large throughout the summer. The populations will decrease naturally once the weather gets too cold; however, it is still worth it to treat the nests in the fall. The queen will leave the nest to spend winter in a crack or void of a building, so treating the nest before this happens can reduce the likelihood of having a nest built on your property the following year.

If you experience an issue with stinging insects, don’t hesitate to contact us or call (262)797-4160 for more information on our year-round preventive or single treatment stinging insect services!

Don’t Let Pests Crash your 4th of July Party

Independence Day is a time for food and fun with family and friends. There are also some uninvited guests that will undoubtedly try crashing your party.

Common cookout-invading pests include mosquitoes, stinging insects such as wasps and hornets, pesky ants like carpenter ants and pavement ants. The combination of holiday cookouts and high pest activity can make for a less than enjoyable experience if you’re not properly prepared.

Before and during your 4th of July festivities, take the following measures for an enjoyable and pest-free celebration:

  • Check your screen doors and patch any holes to keep pests out of your home.
  • Eliminate any source of standing water around the outside of your home to reduce the threat of mosquitoes.
  • Stinging insects love sweet treats and drinks. Keep food and beverages covered.
  • Consider using clear plastic cups for beverages. Cans and bottles make for great hiding spots for stinging insects.
  • Trash cans should be covered and kept away from the party area.
  • If possible, it’s best to serve food indoors and keep the outdoor space for eating.
  • Clean up any food or drink spills immediately.

Keep the bugs away and have a safe and happy 4th of July!

Centipedes and ants and bees, OH MY! 10 of the deadliest insects in the world.

Centipedes are a common pest in commercial properties in New Berlin WI - Batzner Pest Control

There are about 900,000 different kinds of insects in the world, making up about 80% of all of the world’s species. That’s right; insects far outnumber humans. The following list includes 10 of the deadliest insects in the world. While some are not the deadliest, they still have caused reported human deaths.

10. House Centipedes

Terrifying, I know. I personally turn right back into a two year old girl when I see one of these scurry across a wall or carpet in my house. Jumping on top of couches and throwing shoes, I can never seem to actually make the kill. Centipedes pack a painful sting, but it is usually nothing to worry about. However, every couple years, someone does die from a centipede bite, usually due to allergic reaction to its venom.

9. Fire Ants

I sat on a pile of these once; they are no joke. These ants kill their prey by stinging and injecting venom called solenopsin. When a human is bit and injected with a fire ant’s venom, it provides a burning sensation, hence the name. Around 5% of people bitten by fire ants die due to anaphylactic shock.

8. Siafu

What is that? They are similar to fire ants, and they are mainly located in Africa or Asia. They live in colonies of 20 million ants, and a group called soldier ants are the ones who sting to kill prey. Young and elderly people are very susceptible to the bites of these ants, and some have died due to complications. Around 20-50 people die every year from a Siafu bite.

7. Wasps and Bees

This sounds familiar. I feel like the bees were really bad this summer, at least here in Wisconsin. They are just about everywhere you go, and are attracted to sweet things. Most people have experienced a bee or wasp sting, which can be very serious if you are allergic.

6. Asian Giant Hornet

Keeping with the theme, the Asian Giant Hornet is the biggest hornet in the world at 2 inches in length and a wing span of 3 inches. The sting from its 1/4th inch long stinger has been explained as feeling “like a hot nail being driven into your skin.” Definitely not something I want to experience. The venom released by the stinger contains about 8 different compounds that can not only induce discomfort and damage soft tissue, but can release an odor to attract more hornets. Around 70 people die each year from either an allergic reaction to the bees or a direct result of a chemical called mandaratoxin.

5. Africanized Honey Bee

Yes, more bees. These bees hang around in swarms, so if you do get stung, expect to be stung more than once. These bees have been known to take down a horse.

4. Kissing Bug

I know what you’re thinking: “You’re kidding, right?” Nope. The name sounds cute, but they actually get the name because they typically bite people on their faces. There are around 138 known species in existence, most within the U.S. They are able to transmit a harmful parasite that can be fatal. Around 45,000-50,000 people die every year from kissing bug bites. The parasite that the bugs spread causes Chagas disease, which usually leads to death.

3. Tsetse Fly

House flies are annoying enough; a fly that lives off of human blood? No thanks! The tsetse fly is found in the Kalahari and Saharan deserts. Around 250,000-300,000 people die every year from a disease spread by the flies called sleeping disease.

2. Rat Fleas

Fleas can kill? I bet you’re wondering how your pets are even alive. Thankfully, these type of fleas only live on rats. They are known to carry devastating diseases and bacteria. The bacteria called the Yersinia pestis is responsible for killing around ¾ of Europe during the 14th Century. This was referred to as “the Black Death”, a plague that killed between 350-375 million people.

1. Anopheles Mosquito

Don’t get confused, it’s just the regular old mosquito we’re talking about here. They are everywhere, and much like the bees, they were abundant this hot and dry Wisconsin summer. Most mosquito bites only result in a small, red, itchy bump that goes away with a little lotion and time. However, sometimes a bite can lead to serious illness or death. The most popular diseases mosquitos can spread are Malaria and West Nile Virus. There are 1-3 million deaths from Malaria alone each year.

Three Stinging Insects to Avoid in Wisconsin

They’re among the most feared pests out there. And they’re back. Fall is peak stinging insect season, and wasps, hornets and yellow jackets are once again a bothersome reality for people heading outdoors to enjoy the remainder of summer.

While many simply classify any stinging insect as a “bee,” there are important differences in behavior that set stinging insects apart. The National Pest Management Association and Batzner Pest Control offer helpful tips in identifying and preventing common stinging insects.

Bald-Faced Hornets

Bald-faced hornets get their common name because they are largely black in color, with a mostly white face. These social insects live in colonies that can contain between 100 and 400 members at their peak. They build nests that are at least three feet off the ground and in exposed locations such as trees, utility poles, overhangs, houses, sheds or other structures. Unlike many other stinging insects, bald-faced hornets do not reuse their nests season after season.

Sting Prevention: Bald-faced hornets are aggressive and will attack if their space is invaded. During the summer months, walk around the exterior of your home to inspect for nests on a routine basis, paying special attention to overhangs, eaves, the underside of porches and decks.

Yellow Jackets

These social insects tend to build nests in trees and buildings, as well as in the ground. They are slow to sting unless their nest is threatened, in which case they will become highly aggressive. Unlike bees, yellow jackets can sting several times and inflict severe pain.

Sting Prevention: Yellow Jackets are especially attracted to sweets and proteins, so it is important to cover food and drinks during outdoor events and promptly clean up and dispose of food and garbage in a sealed trash container.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps get their common name from the paper-like material they use to build their nests. Their nests are typically made in the shape of an umbrella. These pests build nests on twigs and in tree branches and shrubs, as well as porch ceilings, eaves and similar covered places. Wasps are capable of stinging more than once and may use alarm pheromones to call for back-up in defending their nest.

Sting Prevention: Check for paper wasp nests before performing yard work such as shrub or hedge trimming. Treat wood fences and deck railings with a repellant oil to deter paper wasps from gathering cellulose for nest creation.

Attempting to self-treat a stinging insect nest is a dangerous task. When dealing with a stinging insect nest, it’s always best to leave the job to a professional.

Learn more about common stinging insects below.