The bald-faced hornet isn’t actually a true hornet, but an aerial yellow jacket.  It’s easy to identify since it’s Michigan’s only black and white yellow jacket.

Description

It gets it’s name from the black and white marking on it’s face, thorax, and abdominal. They range in size from 12mm to 15mm, with queens being bigger ranging from 18mm to 20mm.

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Bald Face Hornet on it’s nest.

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Sting

Despite their large size (bigger than yellow jackets), bald face hornets are less aggressive compared to yellow jackets. However, they are still able to sting multiple times because of their smooth stinger. Most stings from bald face hornets are a result of their nest being disturbed or threatened.

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In some areas of the country, like here in Fort Gratiot, Michigan, carpenter ants cause more damage to structures than termites.  It’s not hard to identify carpenter ants because of their size, they’re quite big. They range in size from 1/4  of an inch to a little over 1/2  inch with female alates (winged reproductive) being as big as 1 inch.

Picture of Carpenter Ant

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They are difficult insects to control and can cause extensive damage to wood in a fairly short period of time.  Carpenter ants do not actually eat wood, but excavate galleries within it to use as nesting sites.

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Carpenter bees are large, yellow and black (or blue-black) bees that become active in early spring.  This bee is commonly 2/3 to 1 inch long, usually with a shiny abdomen and a yellow thorax.  Its look-alike cousins (bumble bees) have a fuzzy abdomen.  Although it is rare to be stung by one, their sheer size is scary and people generally stay clear of them.  Bumble bees do not bore into wood, as do carpenter bees.

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Male carpenter bees spend most of their time flying around the nest playing guard. This is ironic as nature has left him with no stinger. The female can sting, but she is normally very docile.

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Yellow Jackets are one of the best known wasps in Michigan, as well as the least liked. This is because yellow jackets are dangerous and are responsible for the majority of all insect stings. They inject a venomous fluid under the skin.

Yellow Jackets have a smooth stinger allowing them to sting as much as they want. These stings can be very painful.

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Between the spring and fall we find ourselves in close contact with them because they nest in and around our homes. Another reason is because they’re attracted to many of the foods we enjoy eating outdoors.

Identification

Yellow Jackets are among the smallest of the stinging pests. A typical yellow jacket worker is about 0.5 inches (12mm) long with the queen being larger, around 0.75 inches (19mm). They are black and yellow with alternating bands on the abdomen.

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Every year, when the cold weather starts to break in Port Huron, Michigan, we start gearing up for the Spring season, hopeful that the warm weather will come faster than last year. We prepare for this change in season by switching the garage around; making the lawn equipment more accessible then the snow blower and finally packing our winter jackets deep in our closets.

It’s no secret that warmer weather means, unfortunately, more pests around your house. The goal is to have the least amount of these pests enter your home. It’s simply foolish to think you will be the lucky one spared from having to deal with any bugs this summer.

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However, there are many proactive things that you, the homeowner, can do that cost very little to nothing at all.

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The species most encountered by pest management professionals is the cat flea, and the majority of the information listed here will pertain to the cat flea.  Do not let the name of the pest mislead you.  Cat fleas prefer the temperature of a cat’s blood but will feed on the blood host of most warm blooded nesting animals found in and around homes in the United States.

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Fleas develop through a life cycle known as a complete metamorphosis, beginning with the flea egg.  This smallest stage of the flea’s life cycle is seldom seen, due to its small size.  These tiny eggs are well distributed by the host of the flea (dogs, cats, nesting animals) and should be considered in any flea control program.  Knowing flea egg development will give you a better understanding of the pest and aid in flea control and flea prevention.

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During the last month I’ve been getting my fair share of questions about Japanese Beetles. This beetle is known to be the most devastating pest of urban landscape plants in the eastern United States. The Japanese beetles were first found in the United States in 1916 in New Jersey. Before, it was known only to occur in Japan where it is not considered a major pest.

The eastern United States provides a great climate, large areas for developing grubs, and hundreds of different plants for the adults to feed on. There are also no natural effective enemies to control these beetles.  All these conditions make it possible for the Japanese beetle to continue to thrive.

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