Stinging Insect Identification & Prevention

What are stinging insects?

Bees, yellowjackets, hornets, and wasps are examples of stinging insects. As their name describes, stinging insects use a stinger to defend themselves when they feel threatened. When living and nesting outside and away from people stinging insects are extremely beneficial. They are responsible for pollinating a wide variety of plants and crops. Predatory species feed on and control populations of nuisance insects.

a cicada killer crawling on a flower outside of a home in kansas city missouri

Some of the most common stinging insects found living in the Kansas City Metro area are carpenter bees, cicada killers, hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets.

Carpenter bees
Carpenter bees are a solitary species of stinging insects. Adults are large and are black and yellow. Males of some species of carpenter bees have a white or yellow face. They have a smooth, shiny abdomens that are black.

Cicada killers
Cicada killers are a large species of wasp. Adults grow to 2 - 3 inches in length. Cicada killers range in color from black to rusty red, and they have yellow and black banding on their abdomens. They have yellowish tinted wings that are heavily veined.

Hornets have a similar appearance to yellow jackets, but differ in that they are larger. Hornets are typically black and white, or brownish-red in color. They prey on other insects and can become very aggressive when disturbed.

Wasps have pinched waists and long, thin legs that dangle below their bodies when in flight. Their bodies are black or brown, with yellow or orange markings. Their wings are a grayish color.

Yellow jackets
Yellow jackets have segmented, hairless bodies, and distinctive, thin waists. Their bodies have well-defined yellow and black striped patterns on them. When at rest their wings fold laterally against their bodies.

Are stinging insects dangerous?

Stinging insects are considered to be dangerous pests, especially when they decide to build a nest in or near a home. Great care should always be taken around them because they tend to be aggressive and territorial - delivering painful stings to defend themselves and nest. The venom that stinging insects possess is strong enough to trigger serious allergic reactions, including anaphylaxis, in some people. Also, stinging insects like carpenter bees can cause structural damage in homes they have decided to nest in.

Why do I have a stinging insect problem?

If stinging insects are nesting and feeding on your property, it’s because it offers a suitable place near food sources. Depending on their exact species, stinging insects feed on a variety of things including insects, proteins, nectar, and sweets. Compost piles, garbage cans, gardens, flowering vegetation, untreated wooden structures, outdoor eating areas, bird baths, and ponds can all attract stinging insects.

Where will I find stinging insects?

Stinging insects are most active at the end of the summer and into early fall when the colonies are at their peak numbers and workers are out and about foraging for food to feed their colony. Where stinging insects places their nests is species dependent. Stinging insects are usually described as aerial nesters or ground nesters. Typical aerial nesting sites include trees, utility poles, in bushes, and rock crevices. Ground nesters build their nests in the ground, under roof eaves, and in other protected spaces.

Carpenter bees are solitary nesters. They like to create their nests in untreated or older wood. Fences, porches, roof eaves, wooden shingles, decks, play structures, and outbuildings all make suitable nesting spots for carpenter bees. Stinging insects mainly live and nest outside, but sometimes find their way inside through openings in a home or commercial building's exterior. Popular indoor nesting spots include inside of chimneys, behind wall voids, and inside crawlspaces.

How do I get rid of stinging insects?

To eliminate stinging insects from your home or property, partner with a professional pest control expert. At Augustine Exterminators we provide advanced modern methods that will solve your unique pest problems and prevent future ones. Our trained and certified specialists offer homeowners effective and affordable stinging insect control services. To learn more about the residential and commercial pest control services we provide throughout the Greater Kansas City area, call Augustine Exterminators today!

How can I prevent stinging insects in the future?

Stinging insects are dangerous pests to guard against. There are some steps you can take to make your Kansas City Metro property less attractive to these invasive pests.

  • Make sure you have tight-fitting or locking lids on all trashcans and compost bins.

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

  • Clean up all leftover food and drinks after eating outside.

  • Place tight-fitting caps on all chimneys.

  • Paint or stain all wooden structures located on your property.

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

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


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