How are Bee and Wasp Stings Different?

honey bee on honeycomb

We all know that bee and wasp stings are painful, but did you know there are some key differences between them? It is important to be able to identify stinging insects on your property so that you understand the risks associated with being stung by them. Read on for expert advice about bees, wasps, and their stings from the experienced technicians at Russell’s Pest Control.

Wasp Stings vs Bee Stings

One wasp sting can be comparable in pain to a bee sting. However, one wasp sting can easily be accompanied by many more. When you are stung by a bee, on the other hand, its barbed stinger latches into your skin, ripping out part of the bee’s digestive tract that it is attached to. This causes the bee to die shortly after it stings you.

Sometimes, bee and wasp stings can feel almost identical in their strength and symptoms. Although they are quite comparable in results, they work very differently. There are three main differences:

  1. Stinger: Bees’ stingers completely eject from their bodies when they target a victim, pulling out parts of their innards and causing them to die shortly after. Wasps’ stingers stay intact and can be used many times in a row on a single victim.
  2. Volume: Bees only sting once, but use all of their venom on this sting, usually totaling around 50 micrograms. Wasps limit their stings to 2-15 micrograms of venom, but it is more powerful and can be used multiple times in quick succession.
  3. Venom: Wasps and bees’ stings also differ due to the venom that they contain. However, despite the different chemical makeups of their venom, they both cause the release of histamine in our bodies, which creates hive-like bumps across our skin.

bee vs wasp infographic

Do Bee or Wasp Stings Cause Allergic Reactions?

Yes, you can develop an allergic reaction after either a bee sting or a wasp sting. It is possible to be allergic to both kinds, just one or the other, or neither at all. Usually, a sting from a wasp or bee will only result in these mild symptoms:

  • Swelling
  • Itchiness and redness
  • Pain and soreness

However, serious allergic reactions can catch you off guard if you aren’t prepared. There are thousands of hospitalizations resulting from bee and wasp stings every year. The most dangerous result of a bee sting is the development of anaphylaxis, a particular kind of allergic reaction. The worst symptoms of anaphylaxis are:

  • Swelling of the tongue and throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain and itchiness across the body
  • Vomiting
  • Fainting

What Causes Wasps to Sting?

A wasp will sting someone when they think that their nest is being threatened. The problem with this is that they are easily provoked, and they release a pheromone that alerts nearby wasps to come help deal with the threat. This results in many people experiencing multiple wasp stings at a time. When a swarm of wasps targets you, the effects can be very serious. 

Does a Wasp Die After It Stings You?

No – unlike bees, wasps can sting multiple times on many targets throughout their life. Despite their apparent similarities, wasps are actually quite different. 

Bees have many unique quirks and character traits. Beyond their intricate communication style and their profound environmental importance, another interesting fact about bees is that they can only sting once in their life. 

Wasps’ stingers remain attached to their bodies after they sting. The stinger looks like a small needle, and the wasp uses it to inject venom into their victim. The venom is designed to paralyze small insects so that they can bring them back to their nest, but also to convince large predators not to mess with them.

Avoiding Bee and Wasp Stings

While you can respect that stinging insects like bees and wasps play an important role in the ecosystem, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work to avoid the threat of their attacks. Different bees and wasps have different things they’re attracted to, and a lot of what is done to deter them will also prevent a variety of other pests. Precautions to help keep bees and wasps out of your property may include: 

  • Treating exterior wood with a proper repellent to keep nests from being built
  • Eliminating sources of stagnant water, which will keep them from multiplying
  • Covering food sources, especially pet food and any sweet-smelling trash
  • Hire a professional exterminator: If you find a nest on your property, call a professional to have it removed safely.

If you do all of that and still wind up with a nest full of sharp-ended invaders, that’s okay. All it means is that it’s time to hire a professional wasp and bee exterminator. And if you have a household in Knoxville, the best bee and wasp residential services are done through Russell’s Pest Control.

Treating Bee and Wasp Stings

Sometimes things don’t go your way, and you or someone else ends up with a nasty wasp or bee sting. If you need to treat a bee sting, it’s important to remove the entire stinger as soon as possible. This can be done as easily as with a pair of tweezers. Afterward, you should wash the area with soap and water before covering it with a warm compress. From that point on you may experience itching and mild swelling, both of which can be relieved by mild painkillers and hydrocortisone cream.

But what do you do if you get stung by a wasp? Wasps don’t leave behind a stinger, which is why they’re able to sting as much as they’re able. Aside from that, you can treat a wasp sting in the same way you do a bee, by washing the area with soap and water and applying an ice pack to soothe pain and swelling.

With bees and wasps, stings should normally result in mild pain and irritation for a short duration of time. If you or someone you know experiences symptoms that are particularly severe, you shouldn’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention.

Wasp and Bee Control for Knoxville Homes

Bee and wasp stings are not to be brushed off as inconsequential. Even if you’ve never had an allergic reaction to a sting before, there is an underlying chance of an adverse reaction. 

If you find that wasps have constructed a nest somewhere around your home, let the experts at your local pest control company know. Our specialists at Russell’s Pest Control are trained to remove bee, wasp, and hornet nests using the safest and most humane methods possible. 

The experts at Russell’s Pest Control will be able to assess your situation to determine the species of insect, the location of their nest, and the safest and most efficient removal strategies. Reach out today for a free estimate on bee and wasp removal!

Knoxville’s Top Five Fall and Winter Pests

Image of a lady beetle infestation - small image size

Knoxville’s Top Five Fall and Winter Pests

Winter is coming, and just like people, insects and rodents want to avoid the cold. While some will burrow underground, and some will migrate to warmer locales, others will simply seek out the closest, warmest, and most inviting place they can find. Unfortunately, that usually means your house. You may not even notice these fall and winter pests at first. That’s because pests prefer quiet areas that are free of people. Think in your attic, or inside your walls. Creepy, huh?

So, which pests should you be on the lookout for here in the Knoxville area?an infestation of asian lady beetles inside a home

1. Asian lady beetles

Asian lady beetles resemble ladybugs, but they’re a bit larger. Their coloration ranges from red to orange, and not all of them have spots. The problem with these little ladybug lookalikes is that they use pheromones to communicate their location. So if one Asian lady beetle comes into your house, within a few days it can turn into a large infestation. While they won’t eat your home or sting you, their waste is unsightly and triggers breathing difficulties in sensitive individuals.

2. Rodents

If you hear scurrying on the roof, it could be a squirrel, or it could be roof rats and mice. They get on your roof via nearby branches, fences, you may even see them climb a drainpipe! From there, it’s easy to get into your attic and make a warm nest. If you hear scratching or gnawing noises, you may have rodents inside your attic or walls. And that’s a problem that can quickly multiply if you don’t get it taken care of by an experienced rodent exterminator.

3. Stink bugs

While there are several stink bug species, the brown marmorated stink bug is the one you’re most likely to see in your home. An invasive species that’s rapidly spread across most of the U.S., they’re shield-shaped, with mottled brown and grey coloring, and range in size from 1/4″ to 3/8″. Stink bugs lurk in quiet parts of a home where they’re unlikely to be disturbed, and as their name implies, when they feel threatened or get squashed, they emit an awful smell. Stink bugs are attracted to lighter color homes, which is why you may see them, but your neighbor doesn’t. 

4. Termites

Termites want to enjoy your house as a meal any time of year, so what’s different about fall and winter? Subterranean termites, the most destructive species, burrow underground in the winter and build up their nests. When spring comes around, they emerge and cause immense structural damage. They ravenously consume not just the wood in your home, but any material that contains cellulose. Termite signs can include blisters on painted walls, hollow-sounding, weak, and flaky wood, mud tunnels in your crawl space, chewing sounds, and those telltale pinholes in wood. If you suspect you might have termites, hire a termite expert right away. Termites cause an estimated $30 billion in property damages every year, making them by far the most destructive pest in America.

5. Wasps

Wasp colonies don’t survive the winter. But fertilized queens do. They usually survive in hollow logs, stumps or under leaves, but they can also be found in attics or the siding of homes. Typically, they enter through unscreened attic vents, so it’s best to ensure that your attic is as sealed as possible. If a wasp queen does winter in your home, she may decide to start her new colony on your porch, or worse, inside. Get a preventative wasp checkup this winter to ensure no nasty stinging surprises next spring.

Let Us Solve Your Fall/Winter Indoor Pest Problem

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that pest control is for the spring and summer only. Here in Tennessee, preventative pest control during the fall and winter is a smart strategy so you won’t be caught off guard when warm weather returns. Russell’s Pest Control has been serving the greater Knoxville area since 1971 and we pride ourselves on doing the job right.

Call us today for a free quote!

Dealing with Late Summer Pests

An American dog tick

If you think that the end of summer will come with a break from pest problems, you might be sorely mistaken. Many different kinds of bugs and wildlife here in Knoxville TN are well-equipped to deal with the conditions of the late summer. If you want to make sure that the last of your summer isn’t taken over by pests, you have to make regular preventative efforts to keep them away. Read on to learn about the late summer pests we commonly face and what you can do to keep them away with Russell’s Pest Control!

What Pests Like the Late Summer?

Although we are now past what is usually referred to as “pest season”, there are several kinds of critters that we still have to watch out for. These are the pests that we are usually called to help with in August and September:

  • Ticks: These parasitic arachnids breed during the late spring and early summer so that they have the rest of the warm season to thrive. Ticks lurk in tall grass and densely vegetated areas waiting for potential hosts to walk by.
  • Mosquitoes: If you don’t get to mosquitoes early on in their season, you could be stuck dealing with them all the way through fall. By developing breeding grounds in hidden areas, they can continue to increase their numbers through the late summer.
  • Wildlife: Animals that hibernate during the winter have to make the most of their summers. Raccoons, opossums, and squirrels commonly infest Knoxville homes and businesses in late summer.
  • Bees and wasps: Bees and wasps will hound anybody nearby who’s cooking or eating. If you’re leaving food outdoors or hosting frequent get-togethers, you might end up attracting them.

Preventing Pests during the Late Summer

Before reading on, it’s important to note that any serious pest infestation should be addressed immediately by a professional exterminator. However, if you’re dealing with a minor issue, noticing signs of vulnerabilities, or just want a head start on pest prevention, you should take this advice from our team:

  1. Close entryways: You might have gaps or cracks in your siding, foundation, fencing, roofing, windows, or doors that could lead to pest infestations. Seal any cracks you find with a silicone-based caulk or use screens on doors and windows to prevent pest entry.
  2. Be careful with garbage: taking out your garbage as often as possible and using outdoor bins with sealable lids will prevent many of the common late summer pests.
  3. Take care of your yard: If you trim trees and shrubs, quickly dispose of leaf piles and grass clippings, and do a general decluttering sweep, you can prevent pests from finding temporary hiding places in your yard.
  4. Find and remove standing water: Mosquitoes lay their eggs in pools of still water, no matter how tiny. Try to find and get rid of standing water wherever you can on your property, paying close attention to gutters, planter boxes, and other receptacles.

Late Summer Pest Experts in Knoxville TN

Some pest infestations get out of hand before we have a chance to do anything about them. If this is what you’re going through right now, it’s time to reach out to your local pest control experts. Our technicians at Russell’s Pest Control are highly knowledgeable about the types of pest problems that residential and commercial properties often see in the late summer here in Knoxville. We can rid your home or business of pests and collaborate with you to keep them away year-round. Contact us today for a free quote!

Pest Proofing Your Backyard in 10 Steps

A backyard to be serviced in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

The sunshine and heat of spring have been widely welcomed around Knoxville TN this year. Good weather brings us all out of our homes and into the world, but it brings all kinds of regional pests out of their winter hiding, too. Especially after a spring rain, all kinds of insects and wildlife enjoy new plant growth, easy access to food and water, and hospitable conditions. Are you looking to keep pests out of your backyard this spring and summer? Read on to find out how with Russell’s Pest Control!

10 Tips to Help You Pest-Proof Your Backyard

If you don’t take proper preventative measures during the spring, your backyard is sure to be overridden by pests all summer long. We recommend that you consider this advice for easy at-home pest prevention. Here are our top 10 tips for DIY pest control in your backyard:

  1. Deal with standing water: Standing water pools, even tiny puddles, can provide mosquitoes with a place to breed and lay their eggs. Pour out or cover still water in gutters, planters, tarps, buckets, and anywhere else in your yard.
  2. Trim plants: Letting your plants grow out of control can provide many kinds of pests with shaded hiding places. Trim your plants back to keep mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and more out of your yard.
  3. Get rid of yard waste: Scattered branches and leaves or piles of yard waste left in your yard can provide hiding places for many kinds of insects. Deal with yard waste as often as you can.
  4. Use garden netting: If you have a garden, chances are that many insects and even wild animals know about it. Using garden netting can deter common garden pests from beetles to raccoons.
  5. Mow the lawn often: Mowing your lawn once a week can prevent overgrowth from trapping standing water and hosting all kinds of bugs.
  6. Dethatch your lawn: While a thin layer of thatch keeps your lawn’s temperature regulated, too much of it will lead to a rapidly increasing lawn pest population in your backyard, capitalizing on new hiding places, moisture, and prey.
  7. Keep bins sealed and distant: If given the opportunity, pests ranging from wasps to opossums will go through your trash bins looking for food. Ensure your trash bins are sealed shut and keep them far away from your backyard if possible.
  8. Store firewood safely: Stacks of firewood left leaning against the outside of your home can lead to devastating termite infestations in your back deck or your home. Store your firewood off of the ground and far away from your house if possible.
  9. Water your lawn carefully: Overwatering and underwatering your lawn can both lead to pest problems. Installing a sprinkler or irrigation system can help you regulate your lawn’s water intake.
  10. Hire an exterminator: An experienced local exterminator can help you determine the reasons for your pest problems and figure out the best way to put a stop to them.

Pest Control for Your Backyard in Knoxville TN

If you want to ensure that your backyard is pest-free* this summer, reach out to your local pest control company. The technicians at Russell’s Pest Control are familiar with all of the common pest problems that Knoxville residents face. We can develop a unique pest control plan that fits the needs and qualities of your backyard, keeping you pest-free* all year long. Contact us today for a free quote!