Portland Natural Bee Removal
Portland Natural Bee Removal
Pesticide-free Bee and Wasp Removal and Relocation

Resources

Look below for helpful links, species information, and our month-by-month bug guide.

 
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Species Information

Both wasps and bees provide beneficial ecological services that we depend on. We will help you identify the potential risks of each species and decide whether or not removal/relocation could be helpful. Many species are not aggressive and only need to be removed in certain circumstances.

 

Wasps

Western yellowjacket ( Vespula pensylvanica )

Western yellowjacket (Vespula pensylvanica)

Yellow jackets

Yellow jackets are black-and-yellow social wasps that are often observed scavenging in summer months. The three most common species of yellow jackets in the Pacific Northwest are western yellow jackets (Vespula pensylvanica), common yellow jackets (V. vulgaris), and aerial yellow jackets (Dolichovespula arenaria). Western yellow jackets and common yellow jackets are cavity nesters, building papery combs underground, in walls, or in other enclosed locations. Aerial yellow jackets build hanging nests of paper-like material with concealed combs, typically in trees, shrubs, and on house eaves. Yellow jackets have a painful sting and can violently defend their nests when approached or disturbed.

Bald-faced hornet ( Dolichovespula maculata ) nest

Bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) nest

Bald-Faced Hornets

Bald-faced hornets (Dolichovespula maculata) are social wasps with distinct black-and-white markings; they are technically not true hornets, but are another species of yellow jacket. Bald-faced hornets build large hanging nests (up to two feet long) out of paper-like material with concealed combs, commonly in trees and shrubs. They are generally slightly less aggressive than other yellow jackets, but can still violently defend their nest when approached or disturbed and have a very painful sting.

Paper wasps ( Polistes dominula ) on nest

Paper wasps (Polistes dominula) on nest

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps (Polistes spp.) are social wasps that often build nests along house eaves and in sheds. Paper wasps have black-and-yellow markings similar to yellow jackets, but have longer legs and build small, flat nests of open comb. Paper wasps are less aggressive than yellow jackets and have smaller colonies, but can still defend their nests with painful stings. European paper wasps (P. dominula) have displaced most native paper wasps in our area.

Blue mud dauber ( Chalybion californicum )

Blue mud dauber (Chalybion californicum)

Mud Dauber Wasps

Mud daubers are thread-waisted, solitary wasps of the families Sphecidae and Crabronidae that build small nests out of mud in porches, walls, eaves, sheds, and attics. Mud daubers are a single color, typically blue or black, and are entirely non-aggressive. We recommend leaving mud dauber nests in place.

 

Bees

Honeybees ( Apis mellifera ) on comb

Honeybees (Apis mellifera) on comb

HoneyBees

Honeybees (Apis mellifera) are one of the most well-known and beloved pollinators of the Pacific Northwest, even though they are not native to the Americas. Honeybees maintain live colonies year-round, and spend the summer collecting nectar and pollen to feed on through the winter. Honeybees are generally non-aggressive, but they have a painful sting and can defend their nest when disturbed. Beekeepers keep honeybees in various types of hive boxes, but honeybees also nest in other enclosed spaces, including hollow tree stumps and walls. In the springtime, honeybee hives send out swarms of thousands to bees to establish new colonies.

Fuzzy-horned bumblebee ( Bombus mixtus )

Fuzzy-horned bumblebee (Bombus mixtus)

Bumblebees

Bumblebees (Bombus spp.) are social bees that feed on a variety of pollen and nectar sources and are easily recognizable for their furry look. There are over a dozen species of bumblebees that live in northwestern Oregon, and all of them provide vital pollination services. Bumblebees are opportunistic nesters that colonize a variety of types of small, protected spaces, from rodent burrows to birdhouses. They can often be observed foraging at flowering plants, even in somewhat cold weather. Bumblebees are not aggressive and sting only on rare occasions. For more information on bumblebees, check out Bumblebees of the Western United States.

Blue orchard mason bee ( Osmia lignaria )

Blue orchard mason bee (Osmia lignaria)

Other Bees

There are approximately 500 species of bees in Oregon, including mason bees, sweat bees, mining bees, leafcutter bees, and cuckoo bees. Many of these species are threatened by habitat loss and pesticide usage. Check out the Oregon Department of Agriculture’s Guide to Common Bee Pollinators of Oregon Crops and Ohio State University’s Native Bee Identification and Biology page for more information.

 

Month-by-month

Bug Guide

Wondering what type of insect you have at your home? This month-by-month guide can help you find out!

 

January - February

Honeybees are the only species in our region that maintain live nests throughout the winter. They generally stay clustered inside the hive and only come out on warm, sunny days to forage and cleanse. If you see groups of bees emerging from a hole in a wall or a tree, you may have found a honeybee hive.

Paper wasp queens and yellow jacket queens can be found hovering in houses by windows or lights. They may have been overwintering in nooks and crannies of your house and can become active on warm days.


March - April

Honeybees that have lived through the winter and are beginning to forage regularly for nectar and pollen. If you see dozens of golden brown or black bees emerging from a hole in a wall or a tree, you have found a honeybee hive.

Paper wasp queens and yellow jacket queens can be found hovering around windows and lights inside homes and sheds as they come out of hibernation and begin foraging for food and nesting sites. Paper wasps often start making nests around the peak of a house, in the eaves of a roof, or in sheds.

Bumblebee queens emerge from hibernation once flowers start to bloom in the spring. They will start taking advantage of warm days to slurp some nectar and look for nesting sites. Bumblebees often start making nests in birdhouses or other small shelters.

Several species of harmless solitary bees become active in the spring. You may see them emerging from small holes in the ground, especially where there is sandy soil.


May

Honeybee colonies are becoming increasingly active. If you see dozens of golden brown or black bees emerging from a hole in a wall or a tree, you have found a honeybee hive. If you see a group of thousands of bees flying through the air or clustered on a tree branch, fence, or the ground, you’ve found a honeybee swarm.

Paper wasps are actively building nests of exposed comb, especially around the peak of a house, eaves of a roof, or in sheds. You may see groups of 10-20 flying around on sunny days when the temperature is above 60 degrees.

Bumblebees are opportunistic nesters, and are busy making nests in birdhouses, compost piles, under porches, in grass clippings, and in wood piles. You may see groups of these fuzzy bees actively pollinating flowering shrubs and gardens.

Aerial yellow jackets are beginning to build nests in trees, birdhouses, or buildings. Aerial yellow jacket nests are grey and globe-shaped. They start out about the size of a chicken egg.

Solitary bees and mason bees can be observed emerging from small holes in the ground, in walls, or from behind shingles.


June

Honeybee colonies are active. If you see dozens or more golden brown or black bees emerging from a hole in a wall or a tree, you have found a honeybee hive. If you see a group of thousands of bees flying through the air or clustered on a tree branch, fence, or the ground, you’ve found a honeybee swarm.

Paper wasps are active, with small, flat nests of exposed, papery comb, especially around the peaks of houses, eaves, or shed roofs.

Aerial yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets are active, with globe-like nests ranging from the size of a chicken egg to the size of a football. Aerial yellow jackets can also be observed entering the soffit area of roofs, where they have nested inside.

Bumblebees have created nests in birdhouses, compost piles, under porches, in grass clippings, and in wood piles. You may see groups of these fuzzy bees actively pollinating flowering shrubs and gardens.

Harmless solitary bees and mason bees can be observed emerging from small holes in the ground or walls, or from behind shingles.


July - October

These months are busy, with lots of bugs around!

If you can see a nest:

  • Paper wasps have flat nests of exposed comb, often on the eaves of house or shed roofs.

  • Aerial yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets have grey, globe-like nests with an entrance hole near the bottom. They can be found in trees, bushes, or house eaves.

  • Mud dauber wasps have small nests that look like mud plastered in the corners of porches and sheds.

If you cannot see a nest:

  • Yellow jackets, honeybees, and paper wasps can be observed entering and exiting from holes in house eaves.

  • Yellow jackets and honeybees can be observed coming and going from a hole in a house wall or tree/stump.

  • Yellow jackets will also nest in the ground, boxes, sheds, retaining walls, and brush piles.

  • Solitary bees, mason bees, and sand wasps can be observed emerging from small holes in the ground or walls, or from behind shingles.


November - December

Most colonies of yellow jackets, paper wasps, and bald-faced hornets are dead by this time, having produced queens that will hibernate over the winter and start new colonies in the spring.

Honeybees are the only species in our region that maintain live nests throughout the winter. They generally stay clustered inside the hive and only come out on warm, sunny days to forage. If you see groups of bees emerging from a hole in a wall or a tree, you may have found a honeybee hive.

Paper wasps and yellow jacket queens can be found hovering in houses by windows or lights. They may have been overwintering in nooks and crannies of your house and can become active on warm days.