When it comes to stinging pests, there are a few common culprits that people encounter: wasps, hornets, and bees. While these insects may look similar, they have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Understanding the differences between them and knowing what to do if you encounter one can help you stay safe.
Wasps are slender, black, and yellow insects with smooth bodies and narrow waists. They are social insects that live in large nests with multiple females. While they are not typically aggressive, they will defend their nests if they feel threatened. Some species of wasps, like yellow jackets, can sting multiple times and their stings can be painful and potentially dangerous for those with allergies.
Hornets are larger than wasps and are usually black with yellow or white markings. They have a distinctive, round body shape and are known for their powerful sting. Like wasps, hornets are social insects that live in large nests. They can be aggressive if they feel their nest is being threatened, and their sting can be particularly painful.
Bees are typically plumper and fuzzier than wasps and hornets and are usually brown or black with yellow markings. Unlike wasps and hornets, bees are not naturally aggressive and will only sting if they feel threatened. Bees are important pollinators and play a vital role in our ecosystem.
What do I do if I encounter a stinging pest?
If you encounter a stinging insect, it’s important to stay calm and avoid swatting or provoking it. If you are near a nest, move away slowly and quietly. If you are stung, remove the stinger by scraping it with a flat object like a credit card, wash the area with soap and water, and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.
How to Prevent Stings:
- Avoid wearing perfume or bright colors
- Keep food and drinks covered when eating outdoors
- Do not swat at a stinging insect as it increases the likelihood of an aggressive reaction
- Do not attempt to remove a colony or hive by yourself
If you have a severe allergic reaction to a sting, seek medical attention immediately.
By understanding their behaviors and taking precautions to avoid them, we can coexist safely. If you have a problem with a nest or infestation, it is best to call your local professional pest control company for safe removal.