Bees vs. Wasps

Bees and wasps are often confused for one another.  Although they both belong to the hymenoptera order and share similar features, they are different.  Below is a list of basic shared features, as well as a list of features that set them apart from one another.

Pictures courtesy of NPMA

Pictures courtesy of NPMA

Bees AND Wasps

  • two sets of wings
  • only females can sting
  • overwintering pests
  • narrow waist
  • larvae
  • can sting and inject venom
  • barb like pointers on stinger used to penetrate victim

Bees

  • some bees (honeybees) will die if stinger is pulled from bee, others will continue to live
  • round body
  • fuzzy appearance
  • feed on pollen and nectar

Wasps

  • do not leave their stingers behind
  • small barbs
  • slender and smooth body
  • no fuzz
  • preys on other insects and spiders

For bee and wasp removal, call our team at Northwest Exterminating!

Northwest Exterminating
830 Kennesaw Ave MariettaGA30060 USA 
 • 888-466-7849
 

Flower Flies

Are you the type of person who freaks out the instant that they spot a yellow and black winged creature nearby? If so, maybe you should take a second glance before you run screaming back into the house. That yellow and black creature flying amongst your freshly planted to roses may very well be a flower fly! However, they want you and other predators to think that they are wasps or bees so that they can feast in peace.

Syrphidae

Members of the Insect Family Syrphidae

 

Flower flies, also known as hoverflies or syrphid flies, make up the insect family Syrphidae. They get their name from their main source of nutrients – flowers! They, much like bees, feed mainly on nectar and pollen. Their larvae, however, feed of a wide range of foods including other pests. This may seem like it will cause potential pest problems, but in actuality, they are considered natural pest control (much the green products of Northwest Exterminating), in that they prey on insects such as aphids, which cause tens of millions of dollars of damage to crops globally. Additionally, adult aphids are important to the plant pollinating process.

 

Petroselinum_crispum_003

Parsley

If you would like to the help of flower flies to aid you in pest control, then you should look to companion plants such as buckwheat, chamomile or parsley to attract them. If, however, you’d like a stronger pest control force to protect your home and lawn, then Northwest Exterminating offers all the resources you need.

Chamomile

Chamomile

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.biokids.umich.edu/critters/Syrphidae/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoverfly

 

Venomous Snakes Common to GA and Other Parts of the Southeast

Northwest’s Wildlife Services Team specializes in the exclusion, removal, and control of animal nuisances. Among our specialties are squirrels, rodents, raccoons, opossums, bees, armadillos, and chipmunks. An important wildlife service in the coming warm months is our snake removal! Our Wildlife team uses a Green product that is used to deter snakes.  We also spend a great deal of time educating the customer on snakes.

Georgia is among the states with the highest biodiversity of snakes in the U.S. with 43 different species. They are located anywhere in Georgia from the mountains in the north to the barrier islands along our eastern coast. Below we have pictures and descriptions of the most common venomous snakes. If you spot one of these, call our Wildlife Services Team at 770.436.3362 to get them off your hands, or better yet, remove them very far away from your hands!

Copperhead

copperhead

Copperhead

Copperheads are fairly large – anywhere from 2 to over 3 feet long! They have brown, triangular heads and elliptical pupils. You likely won’t want to get close enough to be sure, but they have two tiny dots at the center of the top of the head. More distinguishing features include yellow tails for juvenile snakes, and the brown bands that run along their body are in a distinct hourglass shape. They are found mostly in the forested areas of Georgia and South Carolina.

Cottonmouth/Water Moccasin

cottonmouth

Cottonmouth

Water Moccasin

Water Moccasin

Just like copperheads, cottonmouths have large, triangular heads with elliptical pupils. They get the name water moccasin from their semi-aquatic nature and are likely to be found by mostly all types of freshwater habitats.  These are more difficult to identify by appearance because they have a wide range of colors but tend to feature colors that will camouflage them into their habitats.

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake

Eastern diamondbacks are among the largest of 32 species of rattlesnakes, ranging anywhere from 2.75 feet to 6 feet long. They have large, broad heads with two light lines on their faces. These are easily recognized by their brown diamonds, surrounded by lighter colored brown, tan or yellowish scales. They can be located anywhere from the southern part of North Carolina, but especially in South Georgia and Florida. They like to be in drier, sandy or low cut grass areas and tend to avoid wetter areas, though they are great swimmers and even travel through saltwater!

Canebrake/Timber Rattlesnake

Canebrake-timber rattlesnake

Canebrake-timber rattlesnake

These snakes tend to range from about 3-5 feet in length and are usually gray with a pink, yellow, orange or brown stripe running along their back. They have solid black tails and black chevrons along the back and sides of their body with the point of the (V) pointing forward. They are found in most of the eastern United States, but are somewhat absent from Florida. They can be found in a wide range of areas, but are least likely to be found in highly urbanized or residential areas.

Pigmy Rattlesnake

Pigmy rattlesnake

Pigmy rattlesnake

This rattlesnake is on the smaller side, usually coming in at under 2 feet in length. This snake has 9 large scales on the top of it’s head and a tiny rattle that can rarely be heard. They have a row of mid-dorsal spots and a bar from the eye to their mouth that ranges from black to brownish. The name is deceptive as they can be gray, tan, lavender, orange, red, or even black. These are mostly located from central Georgia up throughout South Carolina. They also like to be near water sources like creeks, marshes, and swamps.

Eastern Coral Snake

Coral Snake

Coral Snake

“Red on yellow, kills a fellow. Red on black, friend of Jack.” These snakes are sometimes up to 4 feet in length with smooth heads with a bright body pattern of black rings in which the red and yellow rings touch each other. These are sometimes confused with king snakes, but these snakes only have the red touching the black rings and are not venomous. These snakes are found all the way from Louisiana to Florida, where they are most prevalent. They are rarely spotted because they hide under ground and spend only a limited time crawling above ground. Unfortunately, because of these secretive habits, coral snakes tend to persist in suburban areas.

 

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

Sources:

http://georgiawildlife.com/node/497

https://uga.edu/srelherp/snakes/index.htm

http://srelherp.uga.edu/snakes/pics/agkcon210.jpg

http://srelherp.uga.edu/snakes/pics/agkpis210.jpg

http://srelherp.uga.edu/snakes/pics/agkpis4.jpg

http://srelherp.uga.edu/snakes/pics/croada210.jpg

http://srelherp.uga.edu/snakes/pics/crohor3.jpg

http://srelherp.uga.edu/snakes/pics/sismil210.jpg

http://www.petmd.com/sites/default/files/coral_snake.gif

 

 

Why Are People Afraid of Bugs?

Spotting a spider or roach may cause someone to jump from fright. Most people who have a typical fear of bugs may have these fears for various reasons. For instance, people who avoid bees may have a legitimate concern about being stung, especially if they’ve been stung before and found themselves to be allergic. Some bugs such as bees, wasps, poisonous spiders and mosquitoes can carry threats that many people try to protect themselves from. Northwest Exterminating provides an extensive amount of services to protect homes and businesses from such threats.

Then there are the bugs that may not carry much of a threat but we know the sight of them indicates other unpleasant conditions. Flies and roaches tend to flock to places that are unhygienic and not the cleanest. Maintaining a clean living and working environment usually helps eliminate the presence of these bugs, as well as the related fear. Our preference for a bug-free environment may be due to that in more industrialized, urbanized societies, we do not have firsthand experience with bugs because we do not live in their natural environment. Out of sight is out of mind, so spotting an unusual insect might always be a little bit surprising.

Other people have much more than an aversion, but rather a legitimate fear of insects otherwise known as entomophobia. A well-known form of entomophobia is arachnophobia, the fear of spiders. As the definition suggestions, the fear or concern has little to do with bugs themselves and more to do with somebody’s psychological disposition.  Northwest Exterminating may not be able to fix your fears, but we can certainly take care of the bugs for you. Call us today to schedule an appointment!

Source

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

 

Hibernation

Wildlife ControlChanging temperatures means changes in the types of pest you may see around your area. One of the reasons you may soon see certain pests less is because of hibernation. Hibernation is a period of inactivity in animals during which they experience lower body temperatures, slower breathing and lower metabolic rates. Most people think that hibernation is just an animal sleeping but it’s more about the animal conserving energy during winter when food supplies are limited.

To prep for hibernation, animals spend the autumn foraging for food, which means they might be around or even inside your home searching for a treat! Animals that spend the autumn prepping for hibernation include bats, chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, skunks, and bears. In addition, cold-blooded critters hibernate too because the cold weather causes their body temperatures to drop. These animals include bees, earthworms, frogs, toads, lizards, turtles, snails and snakes. You won’t have to worry worry about these animals foraging for food as they tend to hide away around the time autumn hits.

Make sure not to tempt these animals on to your property by maintaining a clean home and making sure the trash is not easily accessible. Northwest Exterminating can help guard your home by providing services such as Complete CrawlSpace and TAP Attic Insulation. If you are interested in this service or more, please visit us at www.callnorthwest.com!

Sources:

 

5 Common Misconceptions About Insects

At this stage in your life, you probably think you know quite a few facts about nature – the sun rises in the east, dolphins can communicate with each other, and bees gather honey from flowers. So, it may come as a surprise to you that you may have to reconsider what you know. Keep reading for some myth busting – Northwest style.

5 Common Misconceptions About Insects:

1. Bees get honey from flowers

When bees buzz through your garden, they gather nectar, a complex sugar, which they carry to the hive in a “honey stomach.” Once they deposit it into the hive, other bees break down the sugar and pack it into the cells of the honeycomb. Finally, they fan their wings over the honeycomb to evaporate water out of the nectar and the end result is honey!

2. All spiders make webs

Many people think that all spiders spin webs of silk to trap their prey. It is true that all spiders produce silk. On the contrary, hunting spiders, which include wolf spiders, jumping spiders, and trapdoor spiders among others, actually track down their prey instead of making webs.

 3. Insects aren’t animals

When most people think of animals, they often mean furry creatures such as dogs, cats and even more menacing lions, tigers and bears. Perhaps because of the unusual appearance of most insects, which have exoskeletons among distinctive features, people tend to assume these arthropods are of a different classification. Though they may not have skin or fur, insects are animals just like dogs, cats – and us!

 4. A cocoon and a chrysalis are the same

Growing up, we learned stories of homely worms turning into beautiful butterflies after emerging from their cocoon. Actually, the term chrysalis defines this transformation stage between larva and adult, otherwise known as a pupa. Only butterflies can come from a chrysalis. It is its cousin, the moth, that emerges from a cocoon made of silk.

5. Daddy longlegs are spiders

Daddy longlegs, also known as harvestmen, walk around on eight legs as all spiders do. However, not all eight-legged creatures are spiders. Spiders have two distinct, separated body parts, whereas the harvestmen have one. They also do not have silk or venom glands as spiders do.

Melissa Brown
mbrown@callnorthwest.com

Sources:

http://insects.about.com/od/teachingaboutinsects/tp/15misconceptions.htm

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/exhibits/always-on-display/butterfly-rainforest/butterfly-qa

 

 

Entomophobia

 

Do bees give you the creeps or do they down right frighten you into hyperventilation? If it’s the latter, you are possibly suffering from entomophobia. Entomophobia is a fear of insects or bugs. This predicament can bring about emotional and mental states such as panic attacks.

A famous entomophobe was the artist Salvador Dali. When Dalí was five years old, he witnessed an insect that had been eaten by ants where the shell was the only thing that remained. The swarming ants in Dalí’s pieces and models are innuendos to death and decomposition, and are hints of human mortality and uncertainty.

Ant Face by Salvador Dali

Dalí had an extreme phobia of grasshoppers, brought on from his adolescent harassment by other kids, who frequently hurled grasshoppers and other insects at him. When they emerge in Dalí’s art, grasshoppers are utilized as an indication of devastation, decay and despair. Dalí characterizes them with a fearsome nature, as huge and alarming in comparison to the other figures, and they are shown in the act of eating the main subject of the work a number of times.

Although Salvador Dali was an odd guy, we can all agree that some insects are just plain creepy.

What is your phobia?

Cara Carver
ccarver@callnorthwest.com

 

Mythical Origins of Insects

People love a good myth. These narratives contribute bright symbolism of interactions between higher powers, people, and nature. They assist in many relevant functions as well as further adding colorful stories. One valuable role of myths is to illustrate some angle of life.

Several myths describe the beginnings, morphology, and conduct of various insects. Here are just a few:

The origin of mosquitoes is revealed by The Tlingit Indians of North America.  The narration tells of a blood sucking carnivorous giant who dines on humans. This giant is eventually avenged after his horrific death by coming back to feed on humans in the appearance of blood sucking mosquitoes.

An Algonquin tale of North America justifies why bees, wasps, and hornets have stingers. This myth grants that the god Wakonda bestowed stingers to bees because the bees were industrious, but required a defense. Since wasps and hornets are linked to bees, The Great Spirit willingly endowed them with stinging weapons as well.

Ant actions are revealed in an African myth that reminds us of the everlasting punishments of Atlas, Prometheus, and Sisyphus of classical mythology. An infinite punishment of bearing a burden is handed down to ants by deception in the African myth. Accordingly, we see the outcome today in ants repeatedly transporting things in their everyday routine.

Atlas

And on an absolutely universal spectrum, the composition of our galaxy, The Milky Way, is translated in an insect myth of the Cochiti. This myth tells of an Eleodes Beetle that was in charge of depositing stars in the sky. The stars were dropped due to his ego and recklessness, thus forming the Milky Way. The beetle was so distraught at what he had done, that even today, the beetle hides his face in the dirt when approached – will lower its head, raise its abdomen, and emit a disagreeable odor probably for defense. This simple insect myth explains not only insect behavior, but also the start of our own galaxy.

Beetle

Who are your favorite mythological characters?

 

Hollywood Invasion

Throughout history, most humans have disliked and even had a fear of insects and spiders. Entomophobia, or insectophobia, is a common fear or aversion to insects and arthropods. Arachnophobia is the fear of spiders. Hollywood has capitalized on those common fears by exposing them in the horror film genre.

Since the horror genre hit the scene back in the 1940’s, the bug movie has been a pivotal part of the industry. The insect horror film is in an exceptionally extensive category of horror. Since the premiere of 1950’s Highly Dangerous, Hollywood has produced over 75 movies featuring killer insects or spiders. Some contain mammoth, mutant bugs that can devour humans, while others feature deadly swarms of ants, bees, or wasps. They vary from the hilariously campy to the straight -up terrifying.  Here are a few:

Them! – A crew of FBI agents and entomologists battle radiation-induced gigantic ants in this black-and-white sci-fi flick from 1954.

The Fly – Jeff Goldblum’s iconic turn as the scientist-turned-fly in this remake is equal parts poignant and petrifying.

The Deadly Mantis – The star of William Alland’s sci-fi flick is a 200-foot-long praying mantis freed from its prehistoric lair by a sudden seismic shift.

Arachnophobia – South American killer spider hitches a lift to the US in a coffin and starts to breed and kill.

Not all movies about bugs tap into our fears.  Here are movies that make you almost wanna like the little guys:

A Bug’s Life – A misfit ant, looking for “warriors” to save his colony from greedy grasshoppers, recruits a group of bugs that turn out to be an inept circus troupe.

Spiderman – When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.

 

Don’t let your home turn into a horror film! Call Northwest Exterminating.

What is the creepiest movie that you have ever seen?

Cara Carver
ccarver@callnorthwest.com

 

What is a Scout Bee?

Although you may be seeing bees buzzing around your home it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have an active bee hive in your area.  There is a good possibility that you are seeing scout bees.  The survival of a bee hive oftentimes depends on the scouting bee.  Bees need a constant supply of nectar and have to find a new place to go once their source is low.  This is where the scout bee comes in. Scouting bees are sent out to look for a new home for their hive and if you do not take action, your home could be their new home.

To most people, scout bees look just like other active bees but once you get a closer look, you are able to notice small differences in their behavior.  Scout bees usually scout an area for about 3 days before moving in or moving on.  If you see bees for 5 days or longer, there is a good chance that it is an active hive and not just a scout bee.  Scout bees tend to hover around an area rather than a steady stream of bees that are coming and going from the same area; that is typically an active hive.  Scout bees are not as aggressive as other bees since they are not protecting their hive.

It is better to treat for scouting bees rather than taking a chance of getting an active hive.  Bees can cause structural damage to your property as well as pose a safety risk.  It is always best to call a professional exterminating company for bee removal.  If you live in the Atlanta, Columbus, or Nashville area and are seeing bees, call Northwest Exterminating and we will come take a look to see if you are seeing scouting bees or an active hive.

Have you seen scouting bees near your home?