Stinging Insects

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What automatically comes to mind when you hear the term stinging insects? You probably immediately think of wasps, hornets, and bumblebees. Well, you would be right in your assumption, but just because you have a vague understanding of what classifies as a stinging insect, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are equipped to deal with a full-blown infestation.

Stinging insects can be some of the most dangerous on the plant and arming yourself with the right information is the best place to start. This is especially true for people who are highly allergic to bee stings. You’d be surprised at the number of people that die each year to bee-related stings.

What Is A Stinging Insect?

As you’ve likely already imagined a stinging insect is anyone with the potential to sting. This would include hornets, wasps, bumblebees, and a wide range of others. However, would you be surprised to learn that the ant also falls under this classification? That’s right, it does, and this is an order of insects that is commonly referred to in the scientific community as Hymenoptera.

Even more interesting, not all bees are considered bees. In addition to this, a lot of stinging insects are considered beneficial pollinators. This is all well and good until they start posing a threat to your property and family.


A bumblebee is just one of the many flying insects that classify as a stinging insect. They are also one of the most commonly known and that’s why this list will start with them. Despite what many people might believe, the bumblebee is considered one of the biggest threats. This is the one that most people are allergic to. Along with this, when they attack, they usually attack in large numbers.

Where They Live: Bumblebees tend to build their hives and colonies under porches and patios as well as sometimes underground. They also often like to frequent attics. Underground nest can be especially troubling when you think about just walking up on one. The bees will see your approach as a threat and likely attack.

Appearance: Most people have seen a bumblebee before, as they are one of the most commonly referenced flying and stinging insects in the world. They are thick, fuzzy, and slightly larger than most species that fall into this similar classification. They are black with yellow stripes.

Africanized Bees

Most people won’t be familiar with the Africanized bee and that more than okay because they are uncommon. These bees should be considered highly dangerous, as, like the bumblebee, they tend to attack in large numbers. That said, they usually don’t attack without being provoked.

Where They Live: One good thing about the Africanized bee is they tend to build their homes in hollowed-out sections of trees. They won’t often be found in locations that humans frequent, and this is one of the reasons that are so uncommon.

Appearance: In appearance, these bees are similar to the honey bee. The biggest major difference is these guys are smaller in size.

Honey Bees

Honey bees are extremely common, but only rank a medium threat level on the warning scale. They usually only sting when provoked. This species’ main goal in life is to pollinate and make honey. You get near their hives when they are in full production mode, and you will come off as a threat.

Where They Live: This classification of stinging insect also likes to inhabit hollowed-out trees but will venture to the exterior and interior of structure walls. They have even been known on occasion to make homes in unused crates.

Appearance: As far as the looks of the honey bee, it is furry with black/brown alternating striping. Somewhat similar to that of the bumblebee with different color patterns.

Carpenter Bees

Although the carpenter bee isn’t classified as dangerous and the males don’t even possess stingers, they are one of the biggest threats to mankind. This is because the females of the species hollow into wood and deposit larvae. As the larvae grow, the damage to the wood expands. If given an appropriate amount of time, these bees could cause complete ruin to a structure. In addition to this, woodpeckers are attracted to the deposited larvae and can sense them.

Where They Live: As is common with their name, these bees tend to take up residence in wooden structures. The females of the species possess the ability to bore perfectly shaped ½” holes into wooden structures.

Appearance: Picture the bumblebee only smaller with more of a shiny, black metallic appearance.

Bald-Faced Hornet

This species of stinging insect only comes in at a medium threat level because they won’t attack unless provoked. However, a provocation can be interpreted as something as simple as coming within three feet or closer of the species. For instance, accidentally happen upon their home and they will attack. They also like to swarm when attacking and squirt venom.

Where They Live: Although they will attack anything that comes near their home, you don’t have to worry about accidentally happening upon them. They tend to build their hives and colonies under overhanging trees. They will, however, sometimes take up residence under porches and patios, which can be problematic.

Appearance: These guys are white with distinctive black and white markings on their heads. That said, it isn’t likely you’ll get close enough to inspect their heads or faces.

Other Stinging Insects

When it comes to stinging insects, one could honestly go on and on listing these species. Yellowjackets, paper wasps, and mud dauber wasps are just to name a few more common species. Regardless of their threat level, most of these species should be treated with the same caution. Stay away from them. That said, you don’t necessarily need to let them scare you.

The good thing is most of them won’t attack unless provoked and they can be dealt with.

How To Properly Handle Stinging Insects

While stinging insects can easily be dealt with while the hives and colonies are smaller, it is not a task an average individual should take on. If you’ve never been stung, you might be allergic and don’t even know it. An ensuing attack could end up being life-threatening. Despite this, these creatures are sensitive and useful to nature. Therefore, they should be handled with the same proper care and attentive nature.

Calling a professional is not only much safer, but it also ensures that the insects aren’t issued a death sentence. They are useful to nature and can serve a useful purpose in the environment.

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