Stinging Insect Identification Guide

What are stinging insects?

Stinging insects belong to the insect order Hymenoptera and are either social or solitary. Social species live and work together in large groups; wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, and paper wasps are all social. Solitary species have females that create individual nests, but many females often nest together within the same area — mud daubers, grass carrying wasps, and carpenter bees are all solitary species.

carpenter bee

No matter if these insects are social or solitary, all stinging insects have a stinger that injects venom extending from their abdomen. These insects use their stingers as a means of defense and, if a predatory species, to paralyze prey.

Are stinging insects dangerous?

The presence of a stinging insect nest or large groups of stinging insects swarming around your yard causes fear, stress, and the inability to enjoy your outdoor space. When stinging insects nest in a high traffic area of your home or are foraging for food in large numbers on your property, the possibility of getting stung increases. The venom stinging insects have is strong enough to cause serious health problems in people, especially in those allergic to their venom.

Why do I have a stinging insect problem?

There are several reasons why stinging insects have chosen your property to live. Reasons include:

  • Your yard or homes offers them a safe, secluded place to build a nest.
  • Food in outdoor eating areas, trash cans, and gardens have attracted them. Stinging insects like yellow jackets and wasps will feed on many of the same foods we do and take advantage of our leftovers.
  • Properties with a lot of grass and landscaping usually have a lot of insect activity on them and attract predatory species of stinging insects.
  • Some species feed on and gather pollen and nectar, so yards with many flowering trees and plants are also attractive to these pests.

Where will I find stinging insects?

Stinging insects create nests in various places on, in, or above the ground:

  • Yellow jackets often use ground holes, the abandoned nests of small animals, and spaces under woodpiles or fallen trees to create nests.
  • Carpenter bees create solitary nests in weathered or untreated wood. The stems of hollow plants or the tracks of storm windows are where grass-carrying wasps often choose to build nests.
  • Wasps and mud daubers usually like to nest up off the ground. They and other aerial nesters place nests on trees, utility poles, under roof eaves, behind shingles, and on rafters.

How do I get rid of stinging insects?

When stinging insects build a nest in an area of your property that puts you or your family in danger, you need it removed quickly. At Assurance Pest Solutions, we offer prompt and reliable pest solutions to eliminate these potentially dangerous pests from your yard or home. With over 41 years of solving pest problems in Massachusetts, our family owned and operated company is dedicated to solving our customer’s pest problems.

If you would like to learn more about working with our knowledgeable staff to rid your property of stinging insects, reach out to Assurance Pest Solutions today!

How can I prevent stinging insects in the future?

If you live in Waltham, Winchester, Brighton, or surrounding areas, Assurance Pest Solutions can help keep your property free of stinging insects. In addition to our pest control solutions, the following tips will help prevent problems with stinging insects:

  • Limit the number of flowers planted in flower beds next to your home.
  • Cut tree branches back away from your home’s roofline.
  • Eliminate water sources by repairing clogged gutters and fixing low-lying areas.
  • Repair holes found along the roofline and install caps on chimneys.
  • Seal cracks and holes in your home’s exterior.
  • Replace damaged weatherstripping around windows and doors.
  • Keep lids on trash cans and recycling bins to keep yellow jackets and wasps out of them.
  • When eating outside, keep food and drinks covered and quickly clean up leftover food.
  • Make sure to paint or stain any wood used to build structures in your yard or on your home to deter carpenter bees from nesting in it.

Learn more about our home pest control and commercial pest control services.


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