CLEVELAND - It's the peak season for yellow jackets and bald faced hornets. Local exterminators say their phones are buzzing with calls about the aggressive insects with stingers which can pose health risks.
Cleveland Bee Removal owner Rick Moranz says he's seen his fair share of stings this season. FOX 8 accompanied him as he searched for a hornet nest in Cleveland's Little Italy neighborhood.
"I've seen customers try to take care of the problem themselves and end up in the hospital, in the emergency room with anaphylactic shock," said Moranz.
Travis Watson, owner of The Bee Man LLC., based in Youngstown, shares the sentiment. He says both the bald faced hornet and yellow jacket are active and dangerous this time of year.
Watson says nests can include as many as 5,000 yellow jackets can nest, some inside dry wall. He says customers who see the insects flying around may already have an established nest nearby. Watson advises not to seal in any cracks in the wall, which would seal the insects in the home.
According to Moranz, a common hazard when dealing with the insects is missing the signs of a nest until it's too late.
"The risk of not knowing where these nests are is people can be mowing their lawn, pulling weeds, raking leaves, here ground nests are the most dangerous because people don't realize that they're there," said Moranz.
Moranz says anyone allergic to hornets and yellow jackets should carry an EpiPen while doing yard work this time of year as a precaution. He says in severe cases being stung by a swarm could turn deadly.
"Even with my protection there's enough venom that can get through," said Moranz. "If they get enough stings I do carry Benedryl to help with that reaction."
He continued, "It's more dangerous this time of year because the nests are so large and they're more aggressive, more protective raising their young."