Stay Informed with our Knowledge Center

Staying informed about pests can help make sure that you understand the proper treatment to get rid of them. Some pests may seem insignificant but their effects on your health and home can be severe. We have listed a number of pests that are indigenous to our service area and details regarding them.
 
 

Bed Bugs

Bed bug - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Bed bugs are parasites that preferentially feed on humans. If people aren't available, they instead will feed on other warm-blooded animals, including birds, rodents, bats, and pets.

Bed bugs have been documented as pests since the 17th century. They were introduced into our country by the early colonists. Bed bugs were common in the United States prior to World War II, after which time widespread use of synthetic insecticides such as DDT greatly reduced their numbers. Improvements in household and personal cleanliness as well as increased regulation of the used furniture market also likely contributed to their reduced pest status.

In the past decade, bed bugs have begun making a comeback across the United States, although they are not considered to be a major pest. The widespread use of baits rather than insecticide sprays for ant and cockroach control is a factor that has been implicated in their return. Bed bugs are blood feeders that do not feed on ant and cockroach baits. International travel and commerce are thought to facilitate the spread of these insect hitchhikers, because eggs, young, and adult bed bugs are readily transported in luggage, clothing, bedding, and furniture. Bed bugs can infest airplanes, ships, trains, and buses. Bed bugs are most frequently found in dwellings with a high rate of occupant turnover, such as hotels, motels, hostels, dormitories, shelters, apartment complexes, tenements, and prisons. Such infestations usually are not a reflection of poor hygiene or bad housekeeping.
 
 
 
 
Distribution

Bed bugs are fairly cosmopolitan. Cimex lectularius is most frequently found in the northern temperate climates of North America, Europe, and Central Asia, although it occurs sporadically in southern temperate regions. The tropical bed bug, C. hemipterus, is adapted for semitropical to tropical climates and is widespread in the warmer areas of Africa, Asia, and the tropics of North America and South America. In the United States, C. hemipterus occurs in Florida.
 
 
Identification

Adult bed bugs are brown to reddish-brown, oval-shaped, flattened, and about 3/16 to 1/5 inch long. Their flat shape enables them to readily hide in cracks and crevices. The body becomes more elongate, swollen, and dark red after a blood meal. Bed bugs have a beaklike piercing-sucking mouthpart system. The adults have small, stubby, nonfunctional wing pads. Newly hatched nymphs are nearly colorless, becoming brownish as they mature. Nymphs have the general appearance of adults. Eggs are white and about 1/32 inch long.

Bed bugs superficially resemble a number of closely related insects (family Cimicidae), such as bat bugs (Cimex adjunctus), chimney swift bugs (Cimexopsis spp.), and swallow bugs (Oeciacus spp.). A microscope is needed to examine the insect for distinguishing characteristics, which often requires the skills of an entomologist. In Ohio, bat bugs are far more common than bed bugs.
 
 
 
 
 
Life Cycle

Female bed bugs lay from one to twelve eggs per day, and the eggs are deposited on rough surfaces or in crack and crevices. The eggs are coated with a sticky substance so they adhere to the substrate. Eggs hatch in 6 to 17 days, and nymphs can immediately begin to feed. They require a blood meal in order to molt. Bed bugs reach maturity after five molts. Developmental time (egg to adult) is affected by temperature and takes about 21 days at 86° F to 120 days at 65° F. The nymphal period is greatly prolonged when food is scarce. Nymphs and adults can live for several months without food. The adult's lifespan may encompass 12-18 months. Three or more generations can occur each year.
 
 
Habits

Bed bugs are fast moving insects that are nocturnal blood-feeders. They feed mostly at night when their host is asleep. After using their sharp beak to pierce the skin of a host, they inject a salivary fluid containing an anticoagulant that helps them obtain blood. Nymphs may become engorged with blood within three minutes, whereas a full-grown bed bug usually feeds for ten to fifteen minutes. They then crawl away to a hiding place to digest the meal. When hungry, bed bugs again search for a host.

Bed bugs hide during the day in dark, protected sites. They seem to prefer fabric, wood, and paper surfaces. They usually occur in fairly close proximity to the host, although they can travel far distances. Bed bugs initially can be found about tufts, seams, and folds of mattresses, later spreading to crevices in the bedstead. In heavier infestations, they also may occupy hiding places farther from the bed. They may hide in window and door frames, electrical boxes, floor cracks, baseboards, furniture, and under the tack board of wall-to-wall carpeting. Bed bugs often crawl upward to hide in pictures, wall hangings, drapery pleats, loosened wallpaper, cracks in plaster, and ceiling moldings.
 
 
 
 
Injury

The bite is painless. The salivary fluid injected by bed bugs typically causes the skin to become irritated and inflamed, although individuals can differ in their sensitivity. A small, hard, swollen, white welt may develop at the site of each bite. This is accompanied by severe itching that lasts for several hours to days. Scratching may cause the welts to become infected. The amount of blood loss due to bed bug feeding typically does not adversely affect the host.

Rows of three or so welts on exposed skin are characteristic signs of bed bugs. Welts do not have a red spot in the center such as is characteristic of flea bites.

Some individuals respond to bed bug infestations with anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Bed bugs are not known to transmit disease.
 
 
Tell-tale Signs

A bed bug infestation can be recognized by blood stains from crushed bugs or by rusty (sometimes dark) spots of excrement on sheets and mattresses, bed clothes, and walls. Fecal spots, eggshells, and shed skins may be found in the vicinity of their hiding places. An offensive, sweet, musty odor from their scent glands may be detected when bed bug infestations are severe.

Information provided courtesy of Ohio State University Extension
 
 
 
 

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ant - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Carpenter ants are large (.25 to 1 in/0.64 to 2.5 cm) ants indigenous to many parts of the world. They prefer dead, damp wood in which to build nests. They do not consume it, however, unlike termites. Sometimes carpenter ants will hollow out sections of trees. The most likely species to be infesting a house in the United States is the black carpenter ant (Camponotus pennsylvanicus). However, there are over a thousand other species in the genus Camponotus.

Carpenter ant species reside both outdoors and indoors in moist, decaying or hollow wood. They cut "galleries" into the wood grain to provide passageways for movement from section to section of the nest. Certain parts of a house, such as around and under windows, roof eaves, decks and porches, are more likely to be infested by Carpenter Ants because these areas are most vulnerable to moisture.

Carpenter ants can damage wood used in the construction of buildings. They can leave behind a sawdust-like material called frass that provides clues to their nesting location. Carpenter ant galleries are smooth and very different from termite-damaged areas, which have mud packed into the hollowed-out areas.

Control involves application of insecticides in various forms including dusts and liquids. The dusts are injected directly into galleries and voids where the carpenter ants are living. The liquids are applied in areas where foraging ants are likely to pick the material up and spread the poison to the colony upon returning.

Information provided courtesy of Ohio State University Extension
 
 

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bee - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Carpenter bees are so named because they excavate galleries in wood to create nest sites. They do not consume wood. Rather, they feed on pollen and nectar. Carpenter bees are important pollinators of flowers and trees. Carpenter bees typically are just nuisance pests that cause cosmetic rather than structural damage to wood. Nonetheless, considerable wood damage can result from many generations of carpenter bees enlarging existing galleries in wood.

Large carpenter bees belong to the genus Xylocopa. Two native species, Xylocopa virginica and Xylocopa micans, occur in the eastern United States. There also are a number of native carpenter bees in the western United States. This fact sheet primarily pertains to X. virginica, which has the common name of carpenter bee.

Carpenter bees are large and robust. X. virginica is three-fourths to one-inch long, black, with a metallic sheen. The thorax is covered with bright yellow, orange, or white hairs, and the upper side of the abdomen is black, glossy, and bare (Figure 1). The female has a black head, and the male has white markings on the head. Carpenter bees have a dense brush of hairs on the hind legs.

Carpenter bees somewhat resemble bumble bees, except bumble bees have dense yellow hairs on the abdomen and large pollen baskets on the hind legs. Various species of bumble bees and carpenter bees are similar in size. Bumble bees typically nest in the ground whereas carpenter bees nest in wood.

Information provided courtesy of Ohio State University Extension
 
 
 
 

Centipedes

Centipede - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
House centipedes (Scutigera) are common arthropods with long, flattened, segmented bodies with one pair of legs per segment. The house centipede is up to 1 1/2 inches long and has 15 pairs of very long, almost thread-like, slender legs. Each leg is encircled by dark and white bands. The body is brown to grayish-yellow and has three dark stripes on top.

Centipedes prefer to live in damp portions of basements, closets, bathrooms, unexcavated areas under the house and beneath the bark of firewood stored indoors. They do not come up through the drain pipes.

House centipedes feed on small insects, insect larvae, and on spiders. Thus they are beneficial, though most homeowners take a different point-of-view and consider them a nuisance. Technically, the house centipede could bite, but it is considered harmless to people.

Information provided courtesy of Ohio State University Extension
 
 

Clover Mite

Clover mite - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Clover mites sometimes invade homes in enormous numbers, in early spring and late autumn, overrunning floors, walls, drapes, window sills and furniture, even occasionally getting into beds and clothing. They may become troublesome in hospitals, nursing homes, apartments, food processing facilities, etc. If crushed, they leave a reddish stain quite noticeable on linens, curtains, walls and woodwork. They are a nuisance by their presence but do not bite humans or animals, transmit disease nor feed on household furnishings or pantry supplies. Skin irritation may be caused in sensitive persons. They live outdoors feeding on various plants.

Clover mites are about 1/30 inch long (smaller than a pinhead), oval-shaped arachnids, reddish-brown to olive to pale orange or sometimes green-brown after feeding. They are eight-legged with the front pair of legs very long, protruding forward at the head. These front legs are sometimes mistaken as antennae or feelers. There are featherlike plates on the body and fan-shaped like hairs along the back edge of the body when viewed under a magnifying glass. Young are smaller and bright red. Also, eggs are bright red. Crawling mites are sluggish, slow-moving and normally invade the home where the sun is warmest at south, southwest and east side of the house.

Information provided courtesy of Ohio State University Extension
 
 
 
 

Cockroaches

Cockroach - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Cockroaches carry bacteria on their legs and other body parts that can cause illnesses such as food poisoning, dysentery and diarrhea. When cockroaches crawl around looking for food they leave this bacteria behind on food, food preparation surfaces and dishes. In addition to the diseases cockroaches spread, some people are allergic to their excrement and empty egg case skins. Allergic reactions may include skin rashes, watery eyes and sneezing.

Cockroaches have been around for over 35 million years and are found in nearly every part of the world. Cockroaches are most active at night or in the dark and prefer small spaces. Cockroaches like to live in warm, humid environments in protected cracks and crevices, under and behind appliances and in cabinets and drawers. Cockroaches like to eat starches, sweets, grease and meat products; but they also eat things like cheese, beer, leather, baked goods, starch in book bindings, glue, hair, flakes of skin, dead animals and plants. Cockroaches produce an egg case that survive in very harsh conditions for very long periods of time until conditions improve enough for the eggs to hatch. Under good conditions cockroaches multiply very rapidly.

Information provided courtesy of Ohio State University Extension
 
 

Earwigs

Earwigs - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Earwigs are a relatively small group of insect that belong to the Order Dermaptera. Earwigs often upset people when discovered indoors. Their forcep-like tail appendages make them look dangerous, but they are quite harmless. Earwigs run rapidly around baseboards, and they may emit a foul‑smelling, yellowish‑brown liquid from their scent glands when disturbed or crushed. Earwigs are mainly active at night, usually hiding during the daytime. They’re often found in clusters hiding in dark crevices like door or window frames. Earwigs normally live outdoors and do not establish themselves indoors, though the ringlegged earwig is a common resident in greenhouses. Earwigs are harmless to humans and animals, though if picked up and restrained, adult earwigs can give a slight pinch with the forceps. While mainly predaceous on other insects, earwigs often feed on flower petals, soft vegetables and fruits, or seedling plants when hot and dry conditions persist.
The name earwig actually comes from an Old English name, ēarewicga (meaning “ear insect”), which was derived from the superstition that earwigs can enter your ears at night and burrow into your brain to lay eggs. This belief is totally unfounded, though earwigs will occasionally seek out ear canals of campers as dark, moist hiding places. This can obviously be a traumatic experience!

Adults of the European earwig are usually winged, while the ringlegged earwigs are wingless. If wings are present, the first pair are hard, short, and scale-like, while the second pair are membranous, fan‑shaped, and folded under the hard first pair of wings. Tips of the second pair of wings usually protrude from under the first pair. The European earwig ranges from 1/2 to 3/4 inch long, with banded legs and a reddish head. The ringlegged earwig ranges from 1/2 to 3/5 inch long and is black‑yellowish underneath with legs having white crossbands at the joints.Young earwigs (nymphs) are similar to adults except that the nymphs lack wings and the cerci are short.

Information provided courtesy of Ohio State University Extension
 
 
 
 

Fleas

Flea - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Fleas (Order: Siphonaptera) are very important pests on domestic dogs and cats, especially during the warm months of July through October, but fleas may persist all year indoors. It is estimated that pet owners alone spend over $1 billion each year controlling these ectoparasites. There are over 2,000 described species of fleas worldwide, however the most common flea encountered in and around homes is the cat flea. The dog flea, while very similar to the cat flea, is relatively rare in North America. Most dogs infested with fleas have cat fleas! Adult fleas are not only a nuisance to humans and their pets, but can cause medical problems including flea allergy dermatitis (FAD), transmission of tapeworms, secondary skin irritations, and, in extreme cases, anemia. Although bites are often felt as a sharp pricking sensation, it is the resulting irritation caused by flea salivary secretions that varies among individuals. Some may experience a severe reaction (general rash or inflammation) that results in secondary infections caused by scratching
the irritated skin area. Others may show no reaction after repeated bites over several weeks or months. Bites on humans are usually found on the ankles and legs. The typical reaction to the bite is the formation of a small, hard, red, slightly raised (swollen) itching spot, surrounded by a red halo. Flea bites on sleeping people typically occur in clusters or lines of two or more bites. On pets, fleas tend to concentrate their bites to the neck, shoulder blades, and base of
the tail regions. However, with heavy infestations, the fleas can be seen running across the sparse hair areas of the belly. While rare in North America, fleas are known to transmit bubonic plague from rodent to rodent and
from rodents to humans. Oriental rat fleas can transmit Murine typhus (endemic typhus). Tapeworms use fleas as intermediate hosts to infest dogs and cats. The flea larvae may consume tapeworm eggs, the eggs develop into a larva that incysts in the fleamuscles, and if an infested flea is eaten by a cat or dog, the tapeworm completes its development in the cat or dog gut. Rarely, children can be infected with tapeworms if parts of infested fleas are accidentally consumed.

Adult fleas are approximately ⅛-inch long, dark reddish-brown, wingless, hard-bodied insects, with enlarged hind legs, and are flattened laterally (from side to side) allowing easy movement between hair, fur, or feathers on the host. Fleas are excellent jumpers, leaping vertically up to seven inches and horizontally thirteen inches. They have piercing-sucking mouthparts and spines on the body projecting backward. They also have a distinct row of spines on the face known as a genal comb. These backward-facing spines lock into hairs, which makes fleas difficult to pull out of the fur of animals. Eggs are smooth, oval, and white, approximately (0.5 mm). The worm-like larvae are ¼-inch long (1.5–5.0 mm long), slender, translucent white, and sparsely covered with hairs. Larvae are blind and legless with chewing mouthparts. Flea larvae are typically active at night and tend to avoid light by hiding in carpet fibers, bedding, lawns or other protected areas. Pupae are enclosed in silken cocoons covered with particles of debris.

Information provided courtesy of Ohio State University Extension
 
 

Pill Bugs

Pill bug - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Pillbugs are more closely akin to shrimp and crayfish than to insects. They are the only crustaceans that have adapted to living their entire life on land. Pillbugs live in moist environments outdoors but occasionally end up in buildings. Although they sometimes enter in large numbers, they do not bite, sting, or transmit diseases, nor do they infest food, clothing or wood. They are simply a nuisance by their presence.

Pillbugs range in size from 1/4 to 1/2 inch long and are dark to slate gray. Their oval, segmented bodies are convex above but flat or concave underneath. They possess seven pairs of legs and two pairs of antennae (only one pair of antennae is readily visible). Sowbugs also have two tail-like appendages which project out from the rear end of the body. Pillbugs have no posterior appendages and can roll up into a tight ball when disturbed, for which they are sometimes called "roly-polies".

Pillbugs are scavengers and feed mainly on decaying organic matter. They occasionally feed on young plants but the damage inflicted is seldom significant. Pillbugs thrive only in areas of high moisture, and tend to remain hidden under objects during the day. Around buildings they are common under mulch, compost, boards, stones, flower pots, and other items resting on damp ground. Another frequent hiding place is behind the grass edge adjoining sidewalks and foundations.

Pillbugs may leave their natural habitats at night, and crawl about over sidewalks, patios, and foundations. They often invade crawl spaces, damp basements and first floors of houses at ground level. Common points of entry into buildings include door thresholds (especially at the base of sliding glass doors), expansion joints, and through the voids of concrete block walls. Frequent sightings of these pests indoors usually means that there are large numbers breeding on the outside, close to the foundation. Since sowbugs and pillbugs require moisture, they do not survive indoors for more than a few days unless there are very moist or damp conditions.

Information provided courtesy of Ohio State University Extension
 
 
 
 
 

Spiders

Cellar spider - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Cellar Spiders

Cellar spiders are frequently found in dark, damp places such as cellars, basements, crawlspaces, and outbuildings. They typically construct a loose, irregular-shaped web in a dark corner. Cellar spiders continually add to their web, which can result in extensive webbing. The male and female live together in a web and can be found hanging upside down in it. They shake the web violently when alarmed. Cellar spiders can quickly establish large populations in a structure.

Cellar spiders have very long, slender legs (up to 2 inches long). Their body is about 1/3 inch long and pale colored (whitish-yellow to gray). They are sometimes confused with daddy-long-legs
 
 
Cobweb spider - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Cobweb Spiders

The web building habits of cobweb spiders contribute to their pest status. These spiders typically construct an irregular web in sheltered sites indoors or outdoors. The outer sticky threads of the web entangle insect prey. These spiders often are inconspicuous, although their web is not. Some species construct a retreat within the web and hide therein during the day, and the spider hangs upside down in the center of the web at night.

Cobweb spiders, including widow spiders, belong to the family Theridiidae and have a rounded globular abdomen (black widow spider shape). One member of this family, the common house spider (Achaearanea tepidariorum) is about 1/3 inch long (female), gray to brown, and its spherical abdomen has several dark stripes near the tip. The common house spider requires high humidity and plentiful prey; it typically occurs in damp basements, cellars, crawl spaces, and outbuildings. This species frequently abandons webs that do not yield prey, and then constructs new ones until it finds a productive site. Webs become dust covered when abandoned.
 
 
 
 
Wolf spider - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Wolf Spiders

These hunting spiders are fast runners that will chase their prey. Wolf spiders are hairy and often large, up to 1-3/8 inches long, sometimes confused with tarantulas. Their legs are long and spiny. Many are dark brown.

Wolf spiders may hunt day and night. They usually occur outdoors, but may wander indoors in search of prey. They tend to stay at or near floor level. They typically construct web retreats in sheltered sites.

Females carry their large, globular egg sac attached to spinnerets under the abdomen. Upon hatching, the spiderlings climb onto their mother's back and stay there several days or more before dispersing.

Wolf spiders frequently alarm homeowners because of their large size and rapid movements. Wolf spiders are not aggressive, but may bite if handled.
 
 
Jumping spider - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Jumping Spiders

These spiders are so named because of their jumping ability. They can jump many times their own length. They make quick, sudden jumps to capture prey or avoid a threat. They also can walk backward.

These common spiders are about 1/8 to 3/4 inches long, very hairy, stocky built, and short-legged. Two of their eight eyes are very large. They have the keenest vision of all spiders. Many species have patches of brightly colored or iridescent scales. Some are black with spots of orange or red on the upper surface of the abdomen, at times confused with black widow spiders.

Jumping spiders are active during the day and prefer sunshine. They normally live outdoors, but jumping spiders can become established indoors and their hunting activities often center about windows and entry doors where their prey is most common.
 
 
 
 
Crab spider - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Crab Spiders

These spiders have a flattened body and hold their legs at right angles to their sides, presenting a crablike appearance. They can walk forward, backward, or sideways.

Many crab spiders have horns or ornaments on the cephalothorax or abdomen, and some mimic bird droppings. Those that inhabit trees or hunt on the ground are usually colored with shades of gray, brown, or black, while those that frequent flowers are bright red, yellow, orange, white, and/or green.
 
 
 

Termites

Termites - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
CHECKING FOR TERMITES IS A FRUSTRATING GAME OF HIDE-AND-SEEK. HOW CAN YOU KNOW IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM?

Termites rarely announce their arrival. Although there are a few tell-tale clues, it’s always best to have a professional inspection done before it’s too late. To understand the situation, though, it’s helpful to know the players. Here’s the scenario:
 
 
 
 
COLONY - What You Can’t See

Hundreds of thousands of termites, swarming, multiplying, crawling, and digging. The underground colony is a well-organized system of workers, soldiers, and of course, the queen. 24 hours a day, workers tunnel through soil and into the wooden frames of homes, fences and buildings, eating and alerting the colony about new sources of precious cellulose.

YOUR HOME - Where They’re Headed

Termites are crucial to our ecosystem, consuming and recycling dead plant and wood material. To the colony, though, the wood in your home is just as delicious as any dead tree. You may not be aware of termites in your home until they have caused severe damage, reducing floor joists and load-bearing timbers to the equivalent of cardboard.

DAMAGE - What You Should Know

Every year in the U. S., more than 5 million homes1 have some sort of termite problem, amounting to approximately $5 billion2 in damage. That’s more damage than is caused by tornadoes, fires, and earthquakes combined. And termite damage is rarely covered by homeowner’s insurance policies.
Information provided courtesy of Ohio State University ExtensionAction Now uses the Sentricon Colony Elimination System to safely and effectively get rid of termites.
 
 
Termites are smart. You’re smarter.

Termites have survived since the days of the dinosaurs. The queen and king produce a steady stream of offspring. Workers find food sources and bring it back to the rest of the colony. Soldiers defend the colony. Reproductives create new colony members, and swarmers leave the colony to begin new ones. To keep things running smoothly, termites use specialized chemical signals. These chemical signals not only lead workers to good food sources but also warn if there is a threat. With bait termites prefer even more than wood, the Sentricon® System is smart science and an ally in helping you destroy your enemy.

Sentricon is smart science.

Sentricon defeats termites at their own game. They feed readily on it but never detect the threat — not even while the patented active ingredient is taking away their ability to eat, survive or breed. They never catch on. The result is death to the queen and her colony.
It's revolutionary.

Sentricon takes the fight to the colony better than liquid insecticides by killing the colony and the queen. And it’s the first and only termite product to be awarded the Presidential Green Chemistry Award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Expert help. Unmatched results.

Expert results are ensured by your Certified Sentricon Specialist who has been qualified to use Sentricon to eliminate and prevent termite attack. He or she will install and maintain a ring of Sentricon stations around your home. Your Certified Sentricon Specialist will protect your home from termites. You gain the peace of mind that comes from the No. 1 brand in termite protection.

 
 
 
 

Wasps & Hornets

Wasp - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Paper wasps and hornets may become a nuisance when nesting around homes and other structures where people live, work or play. Although considered beneficial to agriculture, (since northern or paper wasps feed abundantly on corn earworms, armyworms, tobacco hornworms, etc. and hornets on house flies, blow flies, harmful caterpillars, etc.), it is their painful stinging ability that causes alarm and fear. Nevertheless, unless the threat of stings and nest location present a hazard, it is often best to wait for Mother Nature to kill these annual colonies with freezing temperatures in late November and December. Stinging workers do not survive the winter, and the same nest usually is not reused the following year, except by the yellow and black dominulus paper wasp, on occasion.

The northern or paper wasp is about 3/4 to 1-inch long, slender, narrow waisted with long legs and reddish-orange to dark brown or black in color. There are yellowish markings on the abdomen (rear body part). Paper-like nests, shaped like tiny umbrellas, are suspended by a short stem attached to eaves, window frames, porch ceilings, attic rafters, etc. Each nest consists of a horizontal layer or "tier" of circular comb of hexagonal (six-sided) cells not enclosed by a paper-like envelope. The ends of the cells are open with the heads of the larvae exposed to view.

New to Ohio in 1991, the dominulus paper wasp is somewhat smaller than our native northern paper wasp. It is black with bright, yellow stripes and spots resembling yellowjacket wasps in color.

Baldfaced hornets are up to 3/4-inch long with black and ivory white markings on the face, thorax (middle body part) and tip of the abdomen. Paper-like nests are grayish-brown, inverted, pear-shaped up to three feet tall with the nest entrance at the bottom. Each nest consists of a number of horizontal layers, stories or "tiers" of circular combs, one below the other completely enclosed by a paper-like envelope as a covering. Also, the cells are not exposed to view.

Paper wasps and hornets are social insects, living in colonies containing workers, queens and males. Colonies are annual with only inseminated queens overwintering. Fertilized queens occur in protected places such as houses and other structures, hollow logs, in stumps, under bark, in leaf litter, in soil cavities, etc. Queens emerge during the warm days of late April or early May, select a nest site and build a small paper nest in which eggs are laid. One egg is laid in each cell. As she adds more cells around the edge, eggs are deposited. Larvae in the center are older with the younger larvae further out. It is the cells at the rim of the nest which contain eggs. After eggs hatch, the queen feeds the young larvae. When larvae are ready to pupate, cells are covered with silk, forming little domes over the individual openings. Larvae pupate, emerging later as small, infertile females called "workers." By mid-June, the first adult workers emerge and assume the tasks of nest expansion, foraging for food, caring for the queen and larvae and defending the colony. Remember with paper wasps, the nest is the work of a single female, has a single layer or "tier" of cells and is not enclosed by envelopes. In hornets, the nests usually consist of a number of stories or "tiers," one below the other and completely enclosed by spherical walls. Each cell may be used for two or three successive batches of brood.

Adult food consists of nectar or other sugary solutions such as honeydew and the juices of ripe fruits. Paper wasps and hornets also feed on bits of caterpillars or flies that are caught and partially chewed before presenting to their young. Hornets may be seen almost any summer day engaged in their winged pursuit of flies.

Northern or paper wasps nest in window sills, along eaves and in open areas sheltered from the rain. It is expected that the dominulus paper wasp will become a permanent, widespread and common resident in Ohio. Reports indicate it is much more "alert to activity near its nests" than our present indigenous paper wasp species.

Information provided courtesy of Ohio State University Extension
 
 

Yellowjackets

Yellowjacket - Pest Control Services in Bolivar, OH,
Yellowjackets (Family: Vespidae) are predatory wasps that occur throughout North America. The German yellowjacket first appeared in Ohio in 1975 and is now the dominant species in the state; the other species are natives. In the late summer (August–October), their food preferences change from proteins to sweets. At this time, yellowjackets are known to be persistent, unwelcome guests at picnics and other outdoor events, as they fly about scavenging for food, especially sugary foods and drinks. Large numbers of the wasps may be attracted to garbage cans, sweet beverages, fruit, flowery clothing, and perfume. Yellowjackets rarely cause structural damage to buildings, but they may build their nests in attic and wall voids. Their stings are painful and even dangerous if an allergic reaction
occurs.

A typical yellowjacket worker is about ½-inch long with alternating black and yellow bands on the abdomen (the black and yellow patterns on the abdomen help separate various species). Queens are visibly larger, approximately ¾-inch long. The larvae within the nests are white and grub-like. Workers are often confused with honey bees; however honey bees are covered with dense hair and have flattened hairy hind legs used to carry pollen, while yellowjackets
have hard, shiny, mostly hairless bodies. Wasps and hornets tend to fold their wings lengthwise while at rest and fly with their legs close to their bodies, while honey bees often fan their wings out slightly while feeding. Mouthparts of yellowjackets are welldeveloped for capturing and chewing insects with a tongue for sucking nectar, fruit, and other juices.

Yellowjackets are social, living in annual colonies containing workers, queens, and males (drones). Fertilized queens overwinter in hollow logs, under loose bark of dead trees, soil cavities, and other protected places. These queens emerge during the warm days of April and early May. After feeding on nectar and insects, she selects a nest site, often an abandoned mouse or rabbit burrow, but other secluded cavities work. She initially builds a small paper nest in which she deposits her eggs, individually, in brood chambers. The queen feeds the young larvae for about 18 to 20 days, which then pupate and emerge as worker-daughters that assume the tasks of the nest: gathering wood fibers to expand the nest size, foraging for food, caring of the queen and developing larvae, and colony defense. The sole duty of the queen is to lay eggs and expand the colony. Nests quickly reach a population of approximately 4,000 to 5,000 workers with 10,000 to 15,000 cells by August and late September. Adults feed primarily on items high in sugars and carbohydrates (fruits, flower nectar, and tree sap) while the larvae need proteins (insects, meats, fish, etc.). Adult workers chew and condition the captured insects or meat to feed to the larvae. Larvae in return secrete a sugary substance fed upon by the adults. The last generation produces new queens and males called drones that mate upon leaving the nest. The workers, drones, and old queen die at the onset of cold temperatures, while fertilized, new queens seek protected places to overwinter. Abandoned nests typically decompose and disintegrate during the winter or are occasionally reused by another queen.

Nests are typically built in animal burrows, cavities formed in thick mulch piles, or other protected cavities such as rotted tree trunks, wall voids, and ceilings. Nests are constructed entirely of wood fiber mixed with wasp saliva and are completely enclosed, except for a small opening at the bottom. The nest contains many tiers of combs, sometimes 10 or more. Nests built in the open are usually constructed by bald-faced or yellow hornets, which have similar life cycles and habits of yellowjackets.

Information provided courtesy of Ohio State University Extension