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 longer; 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.
• YellowJacket – Adult workers are 3/8-5/8 in (10-16 mm) long, depending on species; queens are 25% longer. Yellowjackets are generally black in color with yellow markings on the body. Yellowjackets 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.