Call Now: (706) 354-4868
If you can't get through, please try (404) 291-8657 or (770) 362-2476
Monday through Friday, 8 am to 6 pm
We are hiring! Please click here for details.
Light Theme · Dark Theme
Contact Page Link Phone Icon Reddit Share Button Facebook Share Button Twitter Share Button

Wasp, Hornet, and Stinging Insect Control

Athens-Clarke County, Georgia Regional Office of Rid-A-Critter

Two yellow jacket wasps tending the young in their cells in a honeycomb type paper nest

There are more than 100,000 different species of wasps in the world. Luckily, we only have a few of them in the Athens, Georgia area. The ones mentioned on this page are a few of the ones we encounter most often in our region.

Wasps and bees are distance cousins, but they're not the same insects. One of the things that makes wasps different from bees is that bees make honey, but wasps don't. Bees are also much more important as pollinators, although many wasps pollinate, as well. Nonetheless, a lot of folks refer to all stinging insects as "bees," which greatly insults and annoys the real bees. So for the record, most stinging insects in Georgia are wasps, not bees. Hornets and yellow jackets, for example, are wasp species, not bee species.

Wasp species vary quite a bit in terms of their their habits, life cycle, biology, and aggressiveness. Some wasps are relatively mellow, like most of the paper wasps and mud daubers. Unless you bother them, they'll most likely leave you alone. Other wasps, like yellow jackets and hornets, are much quicker to attack and do so much more aggressively. Hornets are the most aggressive wasps of all in our area and will sometimes attack people who are as far as 20 feet away if they feel in the least-bit threatened threatened. When hornets attack, it's all-out warfare.

What this means from a practical standpoint is that unless you're absolutely certain what kind of wasps you're dealing with and how aggressive they are, you really shouldn't attempt to take care of a wasp problem yourself. Seriously. You may very well get stung; and if the wasps happen to be one of the really ornery species like yellow jackets or hornets, you may get stung multiple times. They can put a real hurting on you. So be safe. Call us instead.

Lets take a look at some of the wasps most commonly found in Athens and throughout Georgia.

Baldfaced Hornets

Baldfaced hornets nest in a tree

A baldfaced hornets' nest in a tree

Baldfaced hornets are among the most aggressive wasps in the world. It's often said that they'll attack if you even look at them funny, and that's not far from the truth. Hornets post two or three "sentries" outside their nests whose job it is to fly around and keep an eye out for attackers. When they see something that they don't like, they call to the rest of the nest, and the attack begins.

The problem is that different hornets have different ideas as to what constitutes a threat. Some are more skittish than others. So it's perfectly possible for you to walk past the same hornets' nest every day and be ignored, but then get attacked when walking past it on another day. If a sentry calls out the troops, the troops will respond, regardless of who's doing sentry duty that day.

Baldfaced hornets are stocky in shape, predominantly black, and have white or light yellow markings. They build exposed, oblong-shaped nests out of paper, with entry holes toward the bottom, usually suspended from tree branches, ceilings, or power lines. They may also build nests in void areas like attics, but they seem to prefer building then outdoors. Maybe they like the view better.

When hornets attack, they do so as a group, with hundreds or thousands of wasps taking part in the attack. Their stings are very painful, and if you get stung by enough of them, they can cause a serious reaction -- even if you're not especially allergic to insect stings. If you get stung by hornets and suffer more than localized pain and swelling around the stings, seek medical attention immediately.

European Hornets

Top view of a European hornet

European hornets are common in Georgia

European hornets are larger wasps than their baldfaced hornet cousins and have beautifully-colored, burnt orange bodies with black and yellow markings. They also have a very loud, distinctive, frightening buzz that they use to scare away predators.

European hornets usually build their nests in void areas like hollow trees, wall voids, roof soffits, abandoned cars, or other secluded areas; so when you're outside, you're much more likely to come across the insects themselves than their nests. You can tell when you're getting close, however, because the nests have a very strong, distinctive, and unpleasant odor. When they build a nest in a house, the odor inside the home can get strong enough to be unbearable.

Despite their large size, intimidating buzz, and foul smell, European hornets are somewhat less aggressive than baldfaced hornets. Maybe it's true that Europeans are more refined than we are. But don't sell them short: When European hornets do attack, they do so with gusto. They attack in great numbers, and their stings are intensely painful.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jacket wasp

Yellow jacket wasps are common in Athens and throughout Georgia

There are many different wasps that are commonly called "yellow jackets," some of which are quite aggressive. The ones we get in Georgia are usually various species in the genus Vespula and are collectively known as "vespids." The one in the picture on the right is also known as the European wasp or the German yellow jacket, Vespula germanica.

Yellow jackets build paper nests that are usually round if exposed, but conform to the shape of the void when they're built in enclosed places. The nests can range in size from a few inches to several feet in diameter. In nature, they build their nests in hollow trees and other void areas, or sometimes in the ground. They can also be found in rock walls, old cars, and abandoned animal burrows. In homes, they usually build their nests in wall or ceiling voids, attics, or soffits.

Yellow jackets range from moderately to highly aggressive. They're less likely to attack you just for looking at them funny like hornets do, but they won't hesitate to attack you if you get too close to their nest or do something else that they perceive to be a threat. To further complicate matters, they don't always build their nests right near their visible entry holes. You may see the wasps going into a hole, but their nest might be 10 or 15 feet away inside the void.

As a general rule, if you see yellow jackets going into and coming out of a hole in a building, rock wall, electrical box, or anything else in which they may have built a nest, be careful in that area. And call us.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps on a nest

There are many species of paper wasps in Georgia

The term "paper wasp" is a generic one that refers to any wasps (except hornets or yellow jackets) that build nests out of paper that they make themselves by chewing wood. Most of the time, they build open nests, meaning that there's no covering of paper around them. You can look right into the cells of the nest. They tend to build their nests in exposed areas that are shielded from rain on the top, such as under soffits and awnings or on window frames.

Most paper wasps are solitary, some are fully social, and some are loosely social. Most species are more neighborly than truly social because they don't actually have any strict rules about division of labor; but they will build nests nearby each other, occasionally share a nest, and even baby-sit each others' young. But it's a more haphazard arrangement than one would find with true social wasps like hornets or yellow jackets. Some species, however, are fully social with castes, divisions of labor, and a queen.

Most paper wasps are not very aggressive, but they will defend themselves if they feel threatened. A few species, however, are very territorial and will defend their homes aggressively. Unless you know the temperament of the wasps you're dealing with, it's best to keep your distance.

Cicada Killers

Cicada killer wasp

Cicada killers are large, solitary, soil-dwelling wasps that prey on cicadas.

Cicada killers (sometimes called "lawn wasps") are very interesting insects. Their coloration is similar to that of a yellow jacket, but they're much bigger than yellow jackets and build nests only in burrows that they excavate in the soil.

Female cicada killers catch and paralyze cicadas, drag them into the underground burrows, and lay eggs on the cicadas. In the case of male eggs, a single egg is laid on a single cicada and sealed into a cell. Female eggs, however, are sealed into a cell with several cicadas because female cicada killers are larger and need more food to grow and develop. Within a few days, the eggs hatch, and the larvae start eating the cicadas. It's pretty gruesome.

Many people are terrified of cicada killers because of their large size, loud buzz and aggressive flight. The males fly quite aggressively and engage other male cicada killers in what looks like mortal combat to defend their territories. But the males completely lack stingers and are unable to do harm to humans. Female cicada killers have stingers, but they seldom sting unless you physically assault them in some way (by stepping on them, swatting them, etc.). The females' stingers and venom are adapted to paralyzing cicadas, not defense.

Cicada killers are disliked mainly because of the damage they do to lawns and their aggressive, frightening flight habits. The holes they make are rather large and quite noticeable, and they tend to dig a lot of them. It's not uncommon to come across lawns with hundreds of cicada killer holes.

Digger Bees

Digger bees are true bees (as opposed to wasps) that make their nests in the ground. They're relatively passive and rarely sting, but they can do extensive damage to lawns.

Because they can be present in very large numbers, digger bees can be very intimidating. They are not very aggressive, but they will sting if they're threatened.

Stinging Insect Gallery

Here are some pictures of wasp, hornet, and other stinging insect work we've done in and around the Athens area.

 

Reviews and Affiliations


Council on Alcohol and Drugs - Certified Drug-Free Workplace Trust DALE Certified Logo Better Business Bureau Accredited Business A+ Badge



Social
YouTube Company Blog Twitter


CritterTwitter

Busy day, was in Rome for squirrels, then powder springs and Atlanta for rats
by Chris Collender
Jan 26, 2022 06:14:43 pm.

The snow didn’t stop me nor the animals, was in Hiawasse, Duluth, Snellville, and then Marietta
by Chris Collender
Jan 18, 2022 04:41:40 pm.

Will be a cold and windy day today. Guys will be out working hard to seal homes, preventing all kinds of pest animals from getting in. Animals like rats, mice, squirrels, raccoons and opossums want out of the cold too. Pest animals beware.
by Richard Adcock
Jan 17, 2022 06:39:14 am.

Pretty good day in the office yesterday. We accepted new pest animal removal jobs in Grayson, Athens, Duluth, Fayetteville, Chamblee, Marietta, Monroe & Canton to name a few. For the best pest animal control service call Ridacritter today!
by Richard Adcock
Jan 14, 2022 07:43:04 am.

Currently in Monroe ga, squirrel job, headed to Atlanta now for rats in the crawl space
by Chris Collender
Jan 13, 2022 10:01:40 am.

Quoted a house in flowery branch with rats, then Gainesville for flyers now off to Cummings for squirrels
by Chris Collender
Jan 10, 2022 09:29:58 am.

Baby it’s cold outside, lilburn, lawrenceville, and McDonough, all 3 calls where squirrels chewing threw the ceiling into the house
by Chris Collender
Jan 04, 2022 12:01:10 pm.

Beginning of another great year in the pest critter control, removal and prevention business. Call Ridacritter for a quote so you can be critter free. We service metro areas of Atlanta, Macon, Albany, Valdosta, Birmingham and many more.
by Richard Adcock
Jan 03, 2022 06:52:37 am.

We have new pest animal removal jobs in Birmingham, Lawrenceville, Hoover, Alpharetta, Marietta, Stonecrest and Smyrna to name a few. Crews will be providing free quotes for removal & prevention of critters in homes and attics.
by Richard Adcock
Dec 28, 2021 08:47:39 am.

Busy day after the Holidays, in Austell for snakes in the basement, then to Duluth and Stonecrest for squirrels, now on my way to Alpharetta for another quote
by Chris Collender
Dec 27, 2021 01:06:28 pm.

You don't have to share your home with pest animals like mice, rats, squirrels, raccoons, opossum or bats. Call Ridacritter for a free quote on pest animal removal and prevention. Over 20 years Ridacritter has been assisting home owners.
by Richard Adcock
Dec 23, 2021 10:43:26 am.

In Valdosta taking care of customers with rats and another with squirrels in the attic. Scratching noises prompted them to call us.
by Jason Arruda
Dec 22, 2021 12:37:31 pm.

Had a squirrel job this morning in McDonough, then had bats in the house in Atlanta
by Chris Collender
Dec 22, 2021 12:26:54 pm.

Its Christmas week and the Ridacritter techs are out there helping remove and prevent nuisance pest animals like rats, mice, squirrels, bats and raccoons. You dont have to share your attic or home with pest wildlife, call Ridacritter today.
by Richard Adcock
Dec 20, 2021 09:39:16 am.

Pest rodents like rats, mice & squirrels often move into homes in cold wet weather. Call Ridacritter for a free quote on removal and prevention of pest animals. Servicing metro Birmingham AL, Macon Ga, Athens Ga, Atlanta Ga, Albany Ga areas
by Richard Adcock
Dec 17, 2021 09:24:17 am.

Hearing noises in your home? That’s not Santa in your attic, that’s nuisance wildlife making their home home in your home! Give us call to schedule an estimate. We’ll have them out in no time!
by Amber A.
Dec 14, 2021 05:00:46 pm.

Quoted squirrels in conyers, now off to McDonough, more squirrels
by Chris Collender
Dec 13, 2021 10:15:26 am.

Busy day, quoted rats in Buford, squirrels in Atlanta and stonecrest, then finished the day in Marietta, bats. Lots to wildlife quotes
by Chris Collender
Dec 10, 2021 08:24:24 pm.

We can’t control the weather, but we do offer some great services for rat control, and for other nuisance wildlife. Give us a call today for a quote. We offer humane removal and excellent exclusion work!
by Amber A.
Dec 10, 2021 10:15:12 am.

Had a busy day yesterday. Lots of squirrel calls. In and around Hoover and Mountain Brook. Headed to Alabaster for wildlife activity in a person’s attic. He thinks he saw a chipmunk but my guess is flying squirrels.
by Chris Scott
Dec 09, 2021 08:12:47 am.

Good morning! Pretty busy with wildlife exclusions today. I’m headed to Jacksonville to quote a house with squirrels. My bama crew are sealing houses in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham for raccoons and squirrels.
by Chris Scott
Dec 06, 2021 08:35:39 am.

Middle to South Georgia squirrels in the attic? Protecting homes since 2001 against wildlife. Everyone have a fun and safe weekend.
by Jason Arruda
Dec 03, 2021 03:50:03 pm.

Just finished up on a free quote in Albany Ga. Afterwards I was able to let the customer know that the noises they’ve been hearing are squirrels. Now headed to another in Macon Ga.
by Jason Arruda
Dec 01, 2021 11:07:54 am.

Good morning! Headed to Birmingham to quote a client with a multitude of rodent issues squirrels in the attic and rats in the crawl space. Then off to vestavia for squirrels and raccoons. Then to mccalla for more squirrels.
by Chris Scott
Dec 01, 2021 09:20:33 am.

The wildlife might be out of your house but they probably left something behind - like urine and feces, YUCK! Call us for quote to remove contaminated insulation and blow new back in! We can help!
by Amber A.
Nov 29, 2021 06:21:45 pm.

Outside wildlife is beautiful, but not so much if it’s in your home! We can help you keep the animals out! Give us a call for humane removal, and exclusion!
by Amber A.
Nov 19, 2021 09:33:12 am.

Busy day. In Tuscaloosa we have a customer with a bad wildlife problem. They have raccoons, rats, and squirrels. Got my crew in Birmingham for an exclusion for rats.
by Chris Scott
Nov 18, 2021 10:51:23 am.

Good morning everyone! Headed off to Birmingham lots of wildlife activity. My guys are sealing some houses today with raccoons and rats. Call Ridacritter (205) 490-6200 for any wildlife issues you have.
by Chris Scott
Nov 16, 2021 07:45:16 am.

Did you know mice don’t like the cold? If they choose your home to get warm in, give us a call. We can help!!
by Amber A.
Nov 15, 2021 06:59:47 pm.

Headed out to Alabaster and then Tuscaloosa. Got some quotes for customers with squirrel issues. Couple crews out sealing houses in the Birmingham area for some squirrel and mouse issues.
by Chris Scott
Nov 10, 2021 09:24:24 am.

It’s ok to get your Christmas decorations out of the attic a little early, but it’s not ok if you see some furry friends up there hiding in the boxes! If you have some extra visitors, give us a call!
by Amber A.
Nov 09, 2021 08:23:47 am.

The squirrels are in the lead for most calls this week! Lots of squirrel activity with this chilly weather! Give us a call for an estimate to animal proof your home.
by Amber A.
Nov 05, 2021 08:33:53 am.

The Athens, Georgia office of Rid-A-Critter provides wasp, hornet, and stinging insect control in Athens-Clarke, Greene, and parts of Barrow, Gwinnett, Hall, Banks, Jackson, and Oconee Counties in Georgia, including Athens, Auburn, Bogart, Commerce, Good Hope, Greensboro, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Watkinsville, and Winder. We are fully licensed and insured. Your town not listed? Contact us.

#wasp #removal #athens #georgia

Site and Photos © 2005 - 2022 Rid-A-Critter®, a licensed and insured wildlife and pest control company. All rights reserved. Legal, Privacy and Warranty Information. This Web site designed, hosted, and maintained by RJM Web Design.