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Stinging Insect Identification

Stinging Insects

What are stinging insects?

As their name suggests, stinging insects are insects that use a stinger to protect themselves or their colony from perceived danger. These insects are beneficial when living outside and away from people. Many species of stinging insects pollinate a variety of plants and crops, and predatory species keep populations of nuisance insects under control.

Listed below are quick descriptions of the most common stinging insects found in Port Huron in St. Clair County, Michigan.

Carpenter bees Carpenter bees are a solitary species. They are often mistaken for bumble bees. They look similar to one another, except that carpenter bees have smooth, shiny black abdomens, while bumblebees have hairy abdomens.  

Paper wasps Paper wasps have a pinched waist and long, thin legs that dangle below their bodies when flying. Their bodies are black or brown in color with yellow or orange markings. Their wings are grayish in color. Paper wasp nests are shaped like umbrellas.

Yellow jackets Yellow jackets have segmented, hairless bodies and distinct, thin waists. When at rest, their wings fold laterally against their bodies. Their bodies have a well-defined yellow and black striped pattern on them. Their faces and heads are a blend of black and yellow colors.  

Bumblebees Bumblebees are identified by their oval-shaped bodies that are completely fuzzy.  Their bodies are black with yellow, orange, or reddish colored stripes, depending on the specific species. Many species have broad bands of color.  

Mud daubers Mud daubers are a large, solitary species. They range in color from black to metallic blue and may or may not have yellow or green markings. Nests are made by the females, which consist of mud molded into place by the mud dauber's mandibles.  

Bald-faced hornets Bald-faced hornets have long, thin, wasp-like bodies. Bald-faced hornets are black in color except for an off-white color pattern on their face, at the end of the abdomen, and on the thorax. Workers are covered by small hairs, while the queen remains hairless.

close up of bees on a flower

Are stinging insects dangerous?

Stinging insects are dangerous pests. The venom they inject through a painful sting is strong enough to trigger serious allergic reactions in people, sometimes causing anaphylaxis to occur, which has the potential to be life-threatening. Not all species of stinging insects are aggressive, but all have stingers and the potential to deliver painful stings. A professional should always handle the removal of a stinging insect nest from your home or business.

Why do I have a stinging insect problem?

Stinging insects live and breed outside and have the potential to create a nest on any property. They are especially attracted to properties that offer safe nesting areas, plentiful food, and easy access to water sources. Most stinging insects will feed on proteins, nectar, sweets, and honeydew. Open garbage cans, compost piles, gardens, flowering vegetation, clogged gutters, bird baths, ponds, and leaky outdoor fixtures attract stinging insects.

Where will I find stinging insects?

Stinging insects are most problematic near the end of the summer and into early fall. This is when the colonies are at their peak numbers and members are out and about, actively foraging for food. Where stinging insects place their nests depends on their exact species. Typical stinging insect nesting sites include up high in trees, on utility poles, in bushes, in rock crevices, in woodpiles, on the ground, in holes in the ground, in wood structures, and in other protected spaces. It is also possible for stinging insects to find their way inside your home to nest. Common indoor nesting spots include chimneys, behind wall voids, and inside crawlspaces.

How do I get rid of stinging insects?

The best way to control and prevent stinging insects is with the help of a qualified and experienced professional. At Eco Pest Control, our knowledgeable technicians provide the effective and environmentally-responsible residential and commercial pest control services needed to rid your Michigan home or business of stinging insects. Eco Pest Control is committed to exceeding customer expectations and using state-of-the-art solutions to eliminate stinging insects and prevent their return. To learn more about home pest control or to safely get rid of stinging insects that have infested your Port Huron or Imlay City area property, reach out to Eco Pest Control.

How can I prevent stinging insects in the future?

In conjunction with our professional bee and wasp control services, doing the following can help to prevent problems with stinging insects:

  • Caulk any holes in the foundation and exterior walls of your home.

  • Keep tree limbs, bushes, and shrubs trimmed away from the outside of your home.

  • Place a tight-fitting cap on all chimneys.

  • Eliminate water sources on your property.

  • Clean up leftover food and drinks after eating outside.

  • Place locking lids on all trash cans and compost bins.

  • Place garden and compost areas a distance away from the outside of your home.

  • Treat wooden structures on your property by painting or staining them (carpenter bees).

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