A Guide To Stinging Insect Prevention

What are stinging insects?

Stinging insects are a significant summertime pest. They use a stinger to defend themselves and their nest when they feel threatened. Bees, yellow jackets, hornets, and wasps are all examples of stinging insects. When nesting outside and away from people they are beneficial. Stinging insects are responsible for pollinating a wide variety of plants and crops, and controlling populations of nuisance insects.

a carpenter bee on a tree in point harbor north carolina

Common species of stinging insects living in our North Carolina and Virginia service area include carpenter bees and wasps.

Carpenter bees
Carpenter bees are a solitary species of stinging insect. They look similar to bumblebees, but they lack yellow markings on their abdomens. In addition, carpenter bee abdomens are black, smooth, and shiny, while bumblebees have hairy, yellow abdomens.

A wasp’s appearance is species-dependent, but in general, most have two pairs of wings and pinched waists. Wasps are usually void of body hair. Common examples of wasps include paper wasps and yellow jackets. Despite their name, bald-faced hornets are also a type of wasp.

Are stinging insects dangerous?

Stinging insects all have the potential to be dangerous. The venom they possess is strong enough to trigger allergic reactions in people. In some cases, their stings can trigger anaphylaxis that can become life-threatening. Their stings can be quite painful and leave behind large, red welts. Wasps tend to be rather aggressive and are quick to sting in order to defend themselves and their nest. Only female carpenter bees have stingers, and they are docile. Female carpenter bees typically sting only if they are being directly handled or threatened. Males are aggressive, but with no stinger, they pose no threat to people. The nests that carpenter bees create can cause damage to wooden structures like decks, porches, furniture, wooden siding, and wooden shingles.

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 that offers them sheltered nesting spots close to food and water sources. Stinging insects feed on a variety of things, including insects and other proteins, nectar, sweets, and honeydew. They will forage for food and water in open garbage cans, compost piles, gardens, flowering plants and bushes, clogged gutters, bird baths, ponds, and leaky outdoor fixtures. Stinging insect numbers are at their highest and are most problematic during the end of summer and into early fall when colonies reach their peak numbers and workers are out actively foraging for food.

Where will I find stinging insects?

Carpenter bees are solitary, and females create individual nests inside pieces of wood. They are especially attracted to older wood or wood that has not been painted, stained, or otherwise treated. Carpenter bees make their own nests, but many females will choose the same area or piece of wood to nest in, returning to the same nesting spot every year. Wasps can be described as aerial, or ground nesters. Typical wasp nesting spots include trees, shrubs, utility poles, in wood piles, or in the ground. They sometimes will get inside and build a nest in chimneys, attics, crawlspaces, and behind wall voids.

How do I get rid of stinging insects?

To eliminate stinging insects from your residential or commercial property, professional pest control is highly recommended. When you partner with Four Seasons | HomeTown Pest Control, our experienced and friendly professionals will provide the tailored, comprehensive services needed to eliminate your property’s initial infestation. We then have the ability to provide ongoing preventative treatments to stop stinging insects and other household pests from returning.

To learn more about ridding your Outer Banks, NC or Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, or Norfolk, VA property of stinging insects, contact Four Seasons | HomeTown!

How can I prevent stinging insects in the future?

To help you stop stinging insects from taking over your home or commercial property we offer the following prevention tips:

  • Caulk cracks and crevices in the foundation and exterior walls of your home.

  • Repair holes along your home's roofline and roof intersections.

  • Trim tree limbs and shrubs away from the exterior of your home.

  • Place caps on all your chimneys.

  • Keep outdoor eating areas cleaned up.

  • Eliminate water sources around your property.

  • Outdoor trash cans should have tight-fitting lids on them.

  • Stain, paint, or otherwise treat wooden structures on your property.

  • Fill in ground holes and remove fallen trees and tree stumps from your property.

  • Put into place a professional pest control service from the Virginia and North Carolina stinging insect control experts at Four Seasons | HomeTown Pest Control.


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