Summer Spotlight: Stinging Insects


Stinging Insects   

Paper Wasps
Paper wasps are known for their intricate nests that hang like chandeliers in out of reach places or other hideaways. These nests are built with many open chambers where the wasps reside. While they are quite a work of art in the natural world, they house some protective artists. The wasps are fierce defenders of their famous homes and will sting at will when threatened. They are not hesitant when dealing with threats and unlike honeybees they can sting over and over again.

There are around 300 species of paper wasp around the world and 22 of them are present in the United States. There are two species common to the Maryland, Virginia and DC areas. They both have the distinctive pinched midsection and slender wings of a wasp. One such species, Polistes dominulus, is from Europe and has yellow stripes that resemble those of a yellow jacket.

Wasp stings are painful and often cause mild swelling near the sight of the sting. Because of their aggressive nature, those with severe allergies are urged to take extra precaution.


Bald Faced Hornets
Bald Faced Hornets create the stereotypical nests referenced in the children’s cartoon “Winnie the Pooh.” But where Pooh Bear got it wrong is what lies inside those nests. Not honey and docile honey bees, but rather vicious guardians of their wasp nest. Bald Faced Hornets are not true hornets and react to threats against their homes much like other wasps with a ferocity best left to the professionals.

Bald faced hornets get their name from their distinctive white faces (and are sometimes known as a white-faced hornet) but are otherwise mostly black in the torso. Fully grown, the insects reach about ¾ inch in length.


Bumble Bees & Carpenter Bees
Bumble bees are sneaky pollinators that are the culprit for many a stung foot. Watch out for these little buzzing fuzz balls when trekking barefoot this summer as they are quick to sting when stepped upon. With their nests in the ground, they frequently find themselves floating just a few inches in the air staying close to home pollinating the local flora.

Carpenter bees are vandals. They are not the most aggressive stingers on our list but they can certainly cause headaches for homeowners. These insects carve holes in wood to create their nest. The damage they cause here can be doubled if woodpeckers find bee larvae inside the nests particularly appetizing. Rather than leave your house open to structural damage from some nuisance insects, call American Pest’s experts to protect your home from further damage.

Carpenter bees and bumble bees are similar in appearance but very different in many other distinguishing factors. Carpenter bees set up their homes in wood tunnels, while bumble bees have nests in the ground. Bumble bees have a fuzzy appearance and carpenter bees are smooth and glossy. Carpenter bees have a tendency to “hover” similar to how a helicopter flies. Bumble bees stay low near their nests in the ground and surrounding flowers.


Beneficial Insects
These insects are wonderful for your summer gardens but less so for cookouts, lazing by the pool, and many other outdoor activities. They are a nuisance that pack a punch in their sting and can be a real hindrance to enjoying the outdoors safely. When the bad outweighs the good, it’s time to call in the professionals at American Pest to remove the threatening insects carefully.


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