Stinging Insect Identification

What are stinging insects?

Stinging insects greatly benefit the ecosystem by pollinating crops and plants, and predatory species hunt and feed on nuisance insects, reducing their populations. However beneficial they are in nature, they pose significant threats to people and pets when they're in our yards.

a wasp on its nest

In our region of Florida, the following types of stinging insects are regular visitors to our yards — wasps, yellow jackets, hornets, mud daubers, and bees. 

  • Wasps have a distinctive pinched waist and long thin legs that hang below their bodies as they fly. They have grayish wings and are black or brown with yellow or orange markings.

  • Yellow jackets are wasps and have heads that are a combination of black and yellow, and they have yellow and black patterned abdomens. Their abdomen slopes downward from the head, and they have a pointed hind end. Yellow jackets have a set of thin, transparent wings and six long, slim legs.

  • Hornets have long, hairless bodies and narrow waists. They come in a variety of colors depending on the exact species but are usually combinations of yellow, black, brown, and white. 

  • Mud daubers have narrow waists with a distinctive thread-like segment between their thorax and abdomen, giving them the appearance of having a "stretched" waist. Their long thin wings are either dark or clear. 

  • In general, bees have a golden yellowish-brown colored body with darker brown banding. Their bodies have a light layer of hair covering them.

Telling the difference between species is difficult because stinging insects do all have a similar appearance. The best way to determine what species has taken up residence on your property is to partner with a trained and experienced professional!

Are stinging insects dangerous?

Stinging insects can be very dangerous when living close to people. They are capable of delivering stings that are not only painful but life-threatening to those who are allergic to their venom. Bees mainly have barbed stingers, which means they can only sting once, while wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets can sting multiple times, posing even more danger.

If stinging insects choose your yard to forage for food or as a place to nest, the chances of you or your kids being stung is high, especially if a nesting site or foraging site is near the entrance to your house.

Why do I have a stinging insect problem?

Florida's year-round warm weather provides plenty of flowers, vegetation, and insect prey for stinging insects living in our region to take advantage of. A stinging insect nest can pop-up on almost any property.

Most of our yards offer stinging insects plenty of nesting sites to choose from and plenty of food to bring back to their nest. Common foraging sites include:

  • Gardens

  • Trash cans

  • Compost areas

  • Outdoor eating areas

  • Puddles

  • Clogged drains

Where will I find stinging insects?

Wasps create nests out of a paper-like material they create from pieces of wood or plant materials mixed with their saliva. Their umbrella-shaped nests have open, uncovered cells where the queen lays the eggs. Roof eaves, under porches or decks, tree branches, and the corners of windows are common nesting sites for these pests. 

Yellow jackets also build open paper carton nests and place them both aerially or in the ground. Yellow jackets nest wherever they have access to food, such as areas close to trash cans, recycling bins, and outdoor eating areas.

Hornets build their enclosed nests out of a paper-like material, and the nests resemble a large gray ball. They prefer to build their nests at least three or more feet off the ground. Shrubs, areas under decks, on chimneys, under grills, and the corners of doorways or windows are common nesting sites in our yards.

Mud daubers build their nests out of the mud. The females make individual nests by placing side by side short or long tubes made out of the mud. Mud daubers like to put their nests in very sheltered areas like under roofs, porch ceilings, and in doorways.

Bee nests will vary in appearance and placement depending on the species. Some build nests in wood, others in the ground, and others in tree hollows or above the ground on tree branches, utility poles, or chimneys.

How do I get rid of stinging insects?

Stinging insects have a knack for taking over outdoor spaces and making people uncomfortable in their yards. Here at Green-Tech Termite and Pest Control, we are a family owned and operated pest control company that has protected people and properties in the Tampa Bay area from pests since 1980. We offer quality, affordable pest control services that you can trust to eliminate dangerous stinging insects from your property! We are a full-service, customer-oriented company dedicated to making sure the pest control services we perform are effective and eco-friendly. To learn more about how we can get rid of stinging insects from your property using our commercial or residential pest control services, give Green-Tech Termite and Pest Control a call today!

How can I prevent stinging insects in the future?

Remove stinging insects from your property with the help of our professionals and the following prevention tips.

  • Limit the amount of flowering vegetation you have planted on your property.

  • Don't place potted flowers and other plants near the exits and entrances of your home, sheds, and garages. 

  • Remove fallen trees, stumps, woodpiles, and other debris from your yard.

  • Fill in ground holes and reseed bare spots in your yard. 

  • Cut branches back away from the outside of your home.

  • Leave a space between the exterior of your home and shrubs or bushes. 

  • Remove standing water from your property.

  • Keep lids on trash cans and compost bins, outdoor eating areas free of food debris, and covers on sugary drinks when outside.

  • Inspect your yard for stinging insect nests. If you find any, avoid the area until they are professionally removed.

  • Seal spaces around outdoor light fixtures, cracks in exterior walls, and holes along the roofline. Keep caps on chimneys and repair roof damage. Doing these things will help to keep stinging insects out of your Florida home.

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

 

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