An important part of any integrated pest management (IPM) program is prevention. When it comes to stinging insect IPM for bees, ground bees and yellowjackets, a pre-emptive inspection for voids around the property is a must.
The common behavior of these insects is their desire to nest in voids, so eliminating as many favorable sites as possible will yield better results. Such sites include voids in trees, holes around pipes leading into a structure, abandoned rodent burrows, old beetle damage and rotten wood, to name a few. Prevention programs around schools — or in other areas where someone may be highly allergic — should include exclusion methods. Tips for the exclusion and prevention of stinging insects are:
⦁ Perform initial inspections of voids and holes around a property, and continue inspections periodically.
⦁ Repair damaged vents in the attic and substructure with appropriately sized wire mesh.
⦁ Remove damage caused by beetles (at least for solitary wasps, leafcutter bees and mason bees).
⦁ Seal holes on block walls.
⦁ Loose soil is ideal for ground bees. These solitary bees are more of a nuisance than a threat, and females are non-aggressive. Still, if control is desired, consider recommending changes to the landscaping.
⦁ Another, more difficult task is controlling the infesting pest’s food sources. This will include removing or reducing flowering plants, controlling food sources such as small insects (for wasps) via traditional pest control methods, and lastly, ensuring that all trash cans have closing lids.