Stay Safe from Wasps While Working

Wasp on a jobsite

If your job takes you outdoors, then you’ve probably run into wasps or other stinging insects while working. These pests are capable of delivering painful stings that could be fatal for some, which is why it’s important to be alert and take precautions to keep yourself and your coworkers safe. While it may not be possible to avoid them completely, there are some steps you can take to stay safe from wasps while working outside:

Carefully Inspect Your Jobsite

Before starting your work for the day, carefully look around for any places that stinging insects could be hiding. Taking just a few minutes to do so could save you from unknowingly running into a nest and upsetting a hive. When inspecting your jobsite for wasps, look in places such as:

  • Hollowed trees, wall voids, or attic spaces
  • Tree branches, overhangs, or eaves of a building
  • Shrubs, bushes, hedges, and other greenery
  • Crates, boxes, and playground equipment
  • Abandoned vehicles and rubber tires

Wear Protective Clothing

Protective clothing will keep you safe from all sorts of dangers, from stinging insects and parasites like mosquitoes to harsh weather and poisonous plants. For full protection, be sure to wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and close-toed shoes. It may also be useful to wear gloves, a hat, or an extra layer of clothing to ensure the fabric is thick enough to prevent stings or bites. We also recommend tying up long hair that pests could get caught in, and avoiding any fragrant perfumes that may attract wasps.

Be Cautious With Power Tools

Wasps and other stinging insects are very sensitive to vibrations, which means they may become irritated by loud power tools such as lawn mowers and weed eaters. Moving too quickly near a nest could cause a hive to swarm. To avoid aggravating wasps when using power tools, screen the area beforehand and move cautiously as you work.

Have a Safety Plan

Wasps are capable of stinging multiple times at once, which can be extremely painful or even fatal to individuals with severe allergies. That’s why it’s important to have a wasp safety plan in place if you or any of your coworkers are stung. If you encounter a swarm while working, try to avoid the insects and contact an expert right away.

Should you or a coworker get stung, safety is your first priority. Once you are away from the threat of being stung again, assess the damage. If you experience an allergic reaction or are otherwise concerned about the sting, call 911 and seek immediate medical attention. Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • Swollen eyes or eyelids
  • Wheezing or difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Shock or unconsciousness
  • Hives or swelling outside of the sting

Get Wasp Control Services

If you encounter stinging insects on a job site, don’t try to handle the pests yourself. A swarm can be dangerous to you and your coworkers, so it is best to contact an experienced wasp control specialist to have the insects removed quickly and safely. For reliable wasp removal services, you can count on the experts at United Pest Solutions! We have proudly served the greater Seattle metropolitan area for nearly 60 years, and we are committed to providing quality solutions that you can depend on. Give us a call today to get fast and effective results!

7 Ways to Prevent Yellowjackets

Man trimming shrub. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA and Everett WA offers 7 tips to help prevent yellowjackets.

Man trimming shrub. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA and Everett WA offers 7 tips to help prevent yellowjackets.

The arrival of summer means grilling, hiking, and vacations, but it’s also peak season for yellowjackets. To help prevent painful stings and swarms while you enjoy your outdoor areas, follow these tips from United Pest Solutions.

1. Trim Trees

If you have trees that are touching your home, you may want to prune them. This is a great way to help prevent many pests from easily invading your home, from rodents to yellowjackets.

2. Remove Standing Water

Yellowjackets need water to stay hydrated, so your birdbath or clogged gutters may be attracting these stinging insects to your home. Consider removing these sources of standing water to help deter yellowjackets.

3. Make Repairs

Yellowjackets will take advantage of small holes in your home to build nests. Inspect your soffits on a regular basis and make sure to seal up any holes that would allow the yellow jacket access to a wall void. Check your windows for gaps as well, so these stinging insects don’t fly into your home. If necessary, consider touch-up painting. Yellowjackets love bare wood, so any flaking or peeling paint areas will be prime candidates for nesting or obtaining nesting materials.

4. Clean-Up Food Waste

Yellowjackets love soda, juice, and other sweets, especially in late summer. They’re also meat-eaters which is why you often see yellowjackets swarm your BBQs and picnics. Clean up crumbs, keep your garbage bins tightly closed, as far away from people as possible, and cover your drinks to help keep yellowjackets away.

5. Avoid Perfume

If you’ll be spending a lot of time outside, consider skipping scented bath products as yellowjackets are attracted to sweet-smelling scents.

6. Landscape Wisely

Yellowjackets are attracted to certain plants, especially blossoming flowers. Keep these stinging insects away from your property by avoiding plants they love such as cherry blossoms, hydrangeas, and clover.

7. Work With a Pest Professional

More than 500,000 people are sent to the emergency room every year because of stinging insects. So if you’re dealing with yellowjackets or other wasps on your property, don’t attempt to remove the nest on your own. Turn to a pest professional such as United Pest Solutions. We provide yellowjacket removal services in the greater Seattle WA area. We’ll quickly and safely remove your yellowjacket nest so you can return to enjoying your outdoor activities.

What’s the Difference Between Wasps and Yellowjackets?

Wasp up close. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA explains the differences between wasps and yellowjackets.

Most people can differentiate between a wasp and a bee but can you tell the difference between a yellowjacket and another wasp? Before contacting your local pest control company to remove these insects, continue reading to learn how to identify them.

What Are Wasps?

Wasps are a group of insects in the Hymenoptera order that aren’t ants, bees, or sawflies. They have smooth bodies and no hair.

Types of Wasps

There are over 30,000 wasp species in the world, but only a few you may encounter here in the Pacific Northwest. Those include yellowjackets, bald-faced hornets, paper wasps, and mud daubers.

We’ll further explain each wasp species and its habits below.

YellowjacketYellowjackets

Yellowjackets are the smallest of social wasps. They are typically black with yellow stripes and feed on other insects and even human food. In fact, they’re diet changes with the season. In spring, they are attracted to protein whereas in late summer, they’re attracted to sweets. They generally build their nests in eaves, in holes, in trees, and underground. They are especially aggressive in late summer and early fall when food becomes scarce.
Bald-Faced Hornet

Bald-Faced Hornets

Bald-faced hornets are black with white faces and are around ¾” in length. They will build nests in shrubs, trees, and sometimes buildings. Bald-faced hornets typically feed on nectar and fruit juices and are very aggressive. They will not hesitate to sting anything that comes near them. People who’ve been stung by bald-faced hornets have described their allergic reactions similar to that of other hornet stings.

Paper WaspPaper Wasps

At a glance paper wasps appear black, but they’re mostly brown with large red or yellow patches. They have two body sections and are the most docile of the three main social wasp species. They are generally beneficial, helping control fruit-destroying insects. And they tend to only become aggressive when their nest becomes provoked.
Mud Dauber

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers are generally black and yellow with two body sections and long, string-like waists. They’re non-aggressive and solitary. They don’t live in colonies. Like paper wasps, mud daubers are also considered beneficial insects in that they pollinate flowers and prey on other pests.

Experts in Wasp Control

We hope you have a better understanding of wasps. If you have wasps on your property, contact your local pest control company like United Pest Solutions for expert advice. We serve the greater Seattle metropolitan area.

Common Spring Pests in the Pacific Northwest

Yellow jacks on a sandwich. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about the common spring pests in the Pacific Northwest.

Yellow jacks on a sandwich. United Pest Solutions, serving Seattle WA talks about the common spring pests in the Pacific Northwest. Ah spring, a time for warmer weather, sunshine, blooming-plants…and pests! When the cold weather subsides, we often get caught up in the excitement of the season change that we forget about pests being abundant this time of year.

Many pests emerge in spring looking for places to nest and food to eat–which can lead them into your home. To help prevent your spring from being ruined by a pest infestation, here are some common pests to lookout for and what you can do to stop them in their tracks.

Ants

The two most common ant species in the Pacific Northwest are odorous house ants and carpenter ants.

Odorous house ants, commonly referred to as sugar ants, are a nuisance more than anything. They’ll send scouts into your home in search of food, and when they find it, they’ll signal the others to come on over.

Carpenter ants are wood-destroying pests that cause a lot of property damage every year. These ants are smaller than most ant species and they favor damp or rotting wood. When they find favorable wood, they’ll excavate through it to build their nests. Because they’re most active at night and are hidden, carpenter ants are difficult to locate.

There are several steps you can take to deter ants, including:

  • Trimming back shrubs away from your home
  • Keeping all surfaces clean
  • Sealing holes and gaps
  • Ensure windows and doors are sealed

Spiders

Most spiders are harmless and don’t have enough venom to cause severe harm, but there are a couple that are considered dangerous in the Seattle area–the black widow spider and the yellow sac spider. However, the most common spiders you may encounter are the giant house spider, domestic house spider, jumping spider, and the funnel web spider.

Many people often forget that spiders are beneficial to our environment as they help control other pests such as flies, moths, and earwigs.

Here are some tips to help protect your home from spiders.

  • Remove clutter
  • Trim vegetation
  • Fill gaps around the home
  • Ensure windows and doors are snug fitting
  • Remove other insects, which spiders feed on

Stinging Insects

Yellowjackets and honey bees are the most common stinging insects during spring. Honey bees are considered beneficial as they pollinate growing plants and trees. Yellowjackets, on-the-other-hand, are very aggressive and territorial. If they’re provoked or feel threatened, they may sting multiple times.

Here are some tips to help keep yellowjackets away from your property.

  • Remove standing water
  • Cover trash cans properly
  • Cover any holes in the ground
  • Keep doors and windows shut
  • Inspect decks, under eaves, and other wood structures as some wasps build their nests using wood fiber

Spring Pest Control in Seattle WA

Now that you know more about the common spring pests in the Pacific Northwest, you are one step closer to preventing an infestation. If you’ve tried the suggestions above or want professional help, turn to United Pest Solutions. We’ve served the greater Seattle area since 1960.

Bees vs Wasps: Your Guide to Stinging Insects in the Seattle Area

United Pest Solutions' guide to wasps vs bees in Seattle WA

Summer is here, are you prepared for stinging insects? Take a look at our guide to bees and wasps in the Seattle area.United Pest Solutions' guide to wasps vs bees in Seattle WA

Bees and Wasps Look Very Different

Here’s an easy and quick way to tell the difference between bees and wasps: how does their waist look? If it’s thick and the same width as the rest of their body, you’re probably looking at a bee. If it’s thin and drawn in the middle, you’re probably facing a wasp.

Here’s the deciding factor: is the insect hairy? If there are a lot of fine hairs on the body, almost making it look fuzzy, it’s a bee! Wasps typically have much less hair, if any at all.

Are wasps more aggressive than bees?

The short answer is: yes, wasps can be more aggressive than bees. The entire picture is a little more nuanced than that, however.

Bees will attack if they feel threatened. If you pinch or squeeze them, they will sting. If you threaten their nest or territory, they will sting! But if you ignore them, they’ll generally ignore you too. The exception to this is the Africanized honey bee, but only because they have a much larger definition of territory.

Wasps, however, are much more inclined to defend and attack. Wasps are also predators in a way that most bees are not. Meat can be an attractant to wasps, which causes them to linger around garbage cans and human eating areas. This close proximity heightens the chance that a wasp will be aggressive toward you, simply because they’re in the area.

Do both wasps and bees make honey?

The substance Westerners think of as “honey” is only made by one type of bee: the honey bee. Some other bees (and even wasps!) will make a small amount of honey (or nectar) for their queen or larvae, but not anything close to the large scale operation that honey bees thrive on.

There are other insects that make a honey substance, but only when you consider the definition of honey: a substance made from pollen and nectar that is used to feed another of their species. These insects include stingless bees, honeypot ants, Mexican honey wasps, and aphids.

What if I find a bee or wasp nest?

We don’t ever recommend handling a nest of stinging insects on your own. Bee sting allergies are very serious, and any action that puts you in danger of a sting should be carefully considered. People can also develop allergies as they get older. Just because you’ve never had a reaction doesn’t mean you won’t have one!

We always recommend calling a professional. You can call us for bee or wasp nest removal!

Can bees and wasps sting multiple times?

Yes! Honey bees are the only species that will sting once. A honey bee stinger has a barb at the end that hooks into whatever is stung. The stinger is connected to the digestive system, and will be ripped out upon stinging, causing significant damage to the honey bee and eventual death.

What if I’m stung?

The first and most crucial thing is to remove yourself from the area. If you’ve stumbled on a nest or a wasp territory, you must exit the area and eliminate the chances of being stung again. Some species release a pheromone when they sting that signals other nearby nestmates to attack.

The second step is to remove the stinger. Don’t pluck or rub it; take a credit card or another stiff and flat object, and scrape the stinger out of your skin. This will limit the amount of wasp venom that enters the wound, and can also rid your skin of any “danger” pheromone that was released.

The third step is to remain calm. We know it’s difficult to stay calm when you’ve just been stung, but your fear may only increase the agitation of the insect that has just stung you.

If you’re worried about a wasp or bee nest near or around your property, give United Pest Solutions a call. We’d be happy to remove the nest safely and quickly!