Spring is around the corner, and that means our favorite stinging insects are making a return! Some of these stinging pests are very beneficial for pollinating flowers, but some are not so nice for your home. Check out our list of popular stinging insects in the southeast and what you should know about them!
Bumblebees are relatively harmless and can be greatly beneficial for pollinating flowers. These insects can be identified by their black and yellow markings and an overall fuzzy appearance. They build their nests out of pollen buildup and will usually build them in the ground or a dense grass clump. If they feel threatened, they can become aggressive and result in stinging, so if the nest is found near a structure, then control may be necessary.
Carpenter bees are often confused with bumblebees, but the top of their abdomen is largely bare and shiny. They are a serious threat to your property, as they burrow deep into wood to make galleries for nurturing their young. Male carpenter bees are territorial, and you may find them hovering in front of your face aggressively, but they have no stinger and these actions are merely for show. Female carpenter bees have a powerful sting which is rarely used.
Honeybees are less than an inch in size and are orange-ish brown or black in color. They are considered social insects and live as colonies in hives, where they can reach sizes up to 80,000 inhabitants. Three types of honeybees live in a beehive: worker, drone, and queen. Each has its important roles and performs specific duties within a bee colony. Honeybees are very beneficial and pollinate 85 percent of food crops intended for human consumption. They are critical to our environment and provide us with honey, which has many positive health benefits.
Yellow jackets are less than an inch in size and are yellow and black in color. These pests reside in nests constructed of paper cartons, which can grow to be the size of a baseball. One nest can contain multiple rounded paper combs which are attached to one another and covered in many layers. Depending on the species, the nest can be near the ground, such as plant roots, logs, or timber; or aerial and attached to shrubs, houses, garages, or sheds. Yellow jackets are slow to sting unless they feel threatened. They are considered beneficial because they control many pest insect species, like flies and aphids.
Remember – it is not recommended to attempt to remove a stinging insect nest on your own and doing so can be extremely dangerous. Instead, work with a local pest control company to access your property and the nest, identify the type of stinging insect (like wasps or other dangerous stingers) and determine the best way to eliminate the threat to your family.