What a Hornets’ Nest Means for Your Roof
As a responsible homeowner, you go outside every year to inspect your shingles, eavestroughs, vents, soffits, and fascia. You know that thorough inspection makes for a sturdier roof, so you do it diligently, using a ladder to make sure you analyze every detail.
However, this year you've noticed an influx of stinging insects around your property, particularly near your roof, and the thought of a bite or sting from these creatures keeps you huddled safely inside. You know you need to inspect your roof, but you can't bring yourself to go anywhere near that growing nest in the eaves.
Stinging insects can cause more damage than you might think, depending on the species. To know if these insects endanger your roof or your family, read below. We'll also tell you how to eradicate these pests.
Are They Hornets or Something Else?
North America doesn't have any native hornet species, and it only has one introduced species. If you see stinging insects around your home, you probably have something else. Have a look at this stinging insect guide to see whether you have hornets, bees, or something else buzzing around your roof.
Thousands of bee species live in North America. Most have black or brown bodies with yellow stripes, though some can also have red or blue stripes. All bees have hairy bodies, which they use for pollen collection, and you can often find these insects around flowers, fruits, and other bloom-like structures. You'll see many bees with pollen clumps stuck to their legs.
Bees normally live in large colonies, and they create honeycomb hives in a conical shape. These hives can occur hanging off of tree branches or sitting within holes in trees. Bees can also build hives inside attics.
Only 20 species of hornets exist in the world, and none of them come from our continent. You will occasionally see the European hornet though. It has yellow and brown stripes, and it can stretch up to 4 cm (1.5 in.) long, which makes it bigger than most wasps, bees, or yellow jackets. They typically behave aggressively when threatened, and they can sting multiple times.
Hornets also tend to live in colonies (usually smaller than bee colonies), and they often build nests on roofs or in attics.
A wasp's appearance varies depending on the species, but like most stinging insects, they commonly have a black and yellow body. Wasps typically have a mostly black body with a few yellow stripes, but they can also come in metallic greens and blues. However, all wasps have a particularly pinched waist.
Wasps feed on anything from other insect pests to flower nectar, and they perform important functions in your yard. However, their large colonies will react aggressively when threatened, and they can sting multiple times. They will also seek shelter in secluded areas, like vents or attics.
Yellow jackets are smaller than hornets, but they look and behave similarly. Many people mistake them for bees because they grow around the same size, but they don't have hair, and they eat grubs, flies, and other insects, in addition to rotting meat, fish, and sugary treats. If you notice stinging insects around you at picnics, then you probably have yellow jackets.
Luckily, yellow jackets rarely build inside your house. They may build on corners in your rooftop though, and these insects attack intruders more violently than other stinging insects. They may sting you multiple times if they feel threatened.
Should You Feel Concerned?
Since you and any professionals need to inspect your roof every year, you should feel concerned. Wasps, hornets, and yellow jacket s also strip wood from exposed surfaces, so they could wear down your roof over time, especially if you have wooden shingles, beams, or other parts.
However, you don't have to worry about stinging insects collapsing your roof unless you have carpenter bees in your yard. Carpenter bees have some hair, but they have shiny abdomens. They burrow inside wood to make nests, and if they return every year, those burrows go ever deeper until the wood breaks.
What Should You Do About This Problem?
You don't have the proper safety equipment to remove a bee, hornet, wasp, or yellow jacket colony on your own. And if you try to knock down the nest or spray it, the insects could swarm you, and their stings could put you in the hospital.
For this reason, you should leave nest or hive removal to the professionals. Wait for them to do their work, then call your local roof expert to do an inspection. The expert will repair any damage and point out problem areas where the insects invaded your home. Once the roof repair person has finished, you shouldn't have to worry about a new colony endangering your home ever again.
Don't let a bee or wasp colony keep you from recreating outside or performing roof inspections. Call your exterminator and your roof repair company for assistance.