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large wasp found in washington dc

Stinging Insects

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What are Stinging Insects?

There are many species of stinging insects that range from the beneficial Honeybee and parasitic wasp, to the invasive European paper wasp. Some of the primary species found by American Pest are:

  • Baldfaced Hornet – Workers are about 5/8-3/4+ in (15-20+ mm) or more long; queens are 3/4+ in (20+ mm) long. They build paper enclosed, gray, aerial nests. The Baldfaced hornet is mostly black with a characteristic white pattern over most of its face, hence its common name, “Baldfaced”. Baldfaced hornet nests can be found in nearby trees, chimneys, under eaves, or nesting behind siding, in barns, attics and other structures.
  • Carpenter Bee – Adults are about 1/2 to 1 in (12.5-25 mm) long and robust. Because of their size, carpenter bees are often mistaken for bumble bees. When properly identified, carpenter bees can be distinguished by their shiny, black abdomen and helicopter or “hovering” flight pattern. The adult female carpenter bee will use her chewing mouthparts to bore holes into wood (about the diameter of a dime) where she will turn to the grain and create a chamber approximately 5-8 inches long in which to lay her eggs.
  • Eastern Cicada Killer- Adults, at almost 2 inches in length, are known as one of the largest species of wasp found in the United States. Often mistaken for hornets, the Cicada killer wasp is a parasitic, solitary wasp. Adults are large, black to reddish brown with yellow stripes on the abdomen. Although the male Cicada killer cannot sting, the female counterpart is capable. The female Cicada killer wasp will hunt for cicadas, paralyze them with her sting, and stuff them into a hole in the soil where she will lay her eggs to develop. The paralyzed cicada will remain as food for the developing larva.
  • European Paper Wasp – European paper wasp adults rather small at about 15 mm long. The European paper wasp is commonly mistaken for the yellowjacket, as both appear black in color with yellow markings (like stripes) on the body. A distinguishing characteristic of the paper wasp is its’ thin, noticeably pinched “waist” and upside-down, umbrella shaped nest. Paper wasp nests may be found under eaves, behind attic gable vents, inside exterior lights, charcoal or gas grills, and other enclosed areas. At rest, the paper wasp will hold its wings above the body at an approximate 45 degree angle.
  • Yellow Jacket – Adult workers are 3/8-5/8 in (10-16 mm) long, depending on species; queens are 25% longer. Yellow jackets are generally black in color with yellow markings on the body. Yellow jackets prefer to nest in the ground, making a paper-carton nest with multiple layers and hundreds of individual cells. The nest eventually has 30-55 compartments surrounded by a paper wall. They can also be found nesting in attics, behind walls, inside hollow trees, barns, in retaining walls and other landscape. At rest, the yellow jacket’s wings are folded lengthwise along the body.

Do I have Yellow Jackets, Wasps, or Hornets?

Without the trained eye of an American Pest professional, it may be difficult to identify which species of bee, wasp, or hornet you are dealing with. Once the stinging insect is properly identified, an appropriate treatment solution can be customized depending upon the nest location, species, and other environmental or structural concerns.

Why do I have them?

There are many diverse reasons for having stinging insects on your property. Each year in the spring (as early as March to May) the queens will emerge from overwintering and begin to search for new nesting locations. As adults, many stinging insects feed on nectar and are also attracted to water sources such as ornamental ponds and swimming pools during summer months. Feeding varies from species to species buy may include other insects, nectar and pollen.

Are they dangerous?

While most of the time these insects are considered more of a nuisance than a danger, some species do pack a powerful sting that (depending on the individual’s allergic reaction to it and the placement of the sting) could be considered a health threat. While it is thought that at least 100 Americans die each year from insect stings, many of the fatalities only occur in patients known to have a previous allergic reaction.  If you've been stung, please review our first aid tips for stings

How do I get rid of Stinging Insects?

Getting rid of stinging insects can be a dangerous task and one best left to the professionals. American Pest’s team of highly trained pest control professionals know just what to do in such cases.

Can I do it myself?

Although there are Do-It-Yourself methods and products available to remove stinging insects it should be noted that without proper treatment, yellow jackets, paper wasps and other species will rebuild if the entire nest is not eradicated.

How soon can you get here?

At American Pest, we strive to give our customers a rapid, efficient service and make every effort to be with you the same or very next day.

Is the treatment safe?

All products used by American Pest are EPA registered for pest control use. Only then can they be considered for use by our highly trained pest control professionals. You can be assured that pest control services provided by American Pest will not cause any harm to humans or pets.

How can I prevent this in the future?

Preventing stinging insects from invading your property can be a very difficult task due to the foraging nature of the pest and the conditions under which they live and breed. Should your property become infested by stinging insects, your first call should be to American Pest. We are committed to improving the quality of life for all of our customers by providing the safest and most effective treatment for the management of pests which pose a threat to human health, property, and food supply.