The world is filled with insects, including thousands that fly and sometimes even sting. If you live in the state of Georgia, you have probably seen your fair share of these winged residents, from the ever-present mosquito to the short-lived mayfly.
The state of Georgia is also home to an impressive percentage of the 20,000 species of bees that call the world their home. Some of these bee varieties are benign and quite beneficial. These helpful bees do a world of good, and they rarely sting unless provoked.
Other stinging insects are far more problematic, and far more likely to sting. Before you go outside this summer, you need to brush up on the variety of flying wildlife you will likely encounter, and you need to learn the differences between varieties so you know how to react and protect yourself.
Bumble bees are generally ground dwellers, and they come in a wide variety of shapes, varieties and sizes. These common bees may also set up their home in cracks and crevices, including indentations and holes in trees and even the birdhouse in your backyard or the mailbox by your front porch.
Bumble bees are usually quite docile, and they are often quite interested in the humans who share their outdoor home. You may see a bumble bee flying around your head and checking you out, but these creatures rarely sting unless provoked. If you spot one, just let it check you out and avoid sudden movements that could provoke a stinging reaction.
Wasps are distinguished by their elongated bodies and by their more aggressive nature. While honey bees and bumble bees are docile and rarely sting, wasps can be much more aggressive. These flying creatures build their nests under the eaves of homes, barns and other buildings, although some species nest at ground level. While one or two individual wasps is no big deal, if you spot a nest or swarm, you should contact a pest control professional at once.
Hornets are actually wasps, notably the largest type of common wasp. Some varieties can be as much as 2 inches in length, and they can be quite aggressive when guarding their nest. If you spot a hornet nest, you should leave it alone and call a pest control professional.
Honey bees are also quite docile, and they are an essential part of the food chain. Without honey bees and the pollination services they provide, many of the foods in our supermarkets simply would not be able to grow. Unfortunately for the future of food, honey bee populations have been declining, and scientists are still trying to figure out why.
Whether it is the impact of global climate change or the overuse of commercial pesticide, honey bees are in danger, and they should be left alone and unharmed. Like bumble bees, these beneficial creatures are quite docile, and they will leave you in peace if you do the same.
Not all flying insects are created equal, and knowing the difference is very important. While bees are beneficial and generally docile, wasps and hornets can be aggressive and pose a real danger. If you suspect an infestation or spot a nest, your next call should be to a pest control professional.