Stinging Insects

What are stinging insects?

Stinging insects use a stinger to defend themselves and their nest when they feel threatened. Bees, yellow jackets, hornets, wasps, and fire ants are all examples of stinging insects. When living and nesting outside and away from people, many species of stinging insects are extremely beneficial and are responsible for pollinating a wide variety of plants and crops. Predatory species control populations of nuisance insects.

a carpenter bee on a branch in north carolina

Common stinging insects found in Charlotte, North Carolina are carpenter bees, mud daubers, honey bees, paper wasps, yellow jackets, bald-faced hornets, and fire ants.

  • Carpenter bees are a solitary species of stinging insect. They look similar to bumble bees. However, they lack yellow markings on their abdomens. Carpenter bee abdomens are black, smooth, and shiny. Bumblebees, on the other hand, have hairy, yellow abdomens.

  • Mud daubers are a large, solitary species of stinging insect. They range in color from black to metallic blue and may or may not have yellow or green markings. They create their nests out of the mud.

  • Honey bees are light golden brown in color and have dark brown banding. They are covered in a layer of fine hair. Honey bees have a barbed stinger extending off of their thorax (hind-end).

  • Paper wasps have pinched waists and long, thin legs that dangle below their body when flying. Their body is black or brown in color with yellow or orange markings. Their wings are grayish in color.

  • Yellow jackets have segmented, hairless bodies, and distinctive, thin waists. Their bodies have a well-defined yellow and black striped pattern on them. Their face and head are a blend of black and yellow colors.

  • Bald-faced hornets are black in color with a white pattern covering most of their face. They have long, wasp-like bodies. Despite their name, they are closely related to yellow jackets.

  • Fire ants are a small species of ant that are dark reddish-brown to black in color. Fire ants are aggressive and easily agitated. They can also be identified by their nesting mound. Their large nests are flattened and irregular in shape.

Are stinging insects dangerous?

Stinging insects all have the potential to be dangerous. The venom that they possess is strong enough to trigger allergic reactions in people. In the case of some people, being stung can trigger anaphylaxis which may become life-threatening. Their stings can be painful and leave behind red welts. You should always avoid contact with stinging insects, and a professional should be called to remove a nest from your property.

Why do I have a stinging insect problem?

Stinging insects have the potential to find almost any residential property attractive. They are drawn to properties that offer them food, water, and shelter.  Depending on their exact species, they feed on a variety of things including insects, proteins, nectar, sweets, and honeydew. Things like compost piles, garbage cans, gardens, flowering vegetation, untreated wooden structures (carpenter bees), clogged gutters, outdoor eating areas, bird baths, and ponds attract stinging insects.

Where will I find stinging insects?

Stinging insects are found in their largest populations during the late summer and fall. This is also the time of year when they are most active. Workers are active in gathering food for every member of their now large colonies. Stinging insects build their nests in a variety of locations. Trees, rock crevices, utility poles, the ground, and shrubs or bushes are common nesting spots. They may also choose to build their nests under porches, decks, roof eaves, in chimneys, or behind a home’s wall voids. In the case of fire ants, large, open, sunny lawns are where they prefer to create their nests. They avoid areas of shade.

How do I get rid of stinging insects?

Partner with qualified pest control experts to eliminate and control stinging insects. At ProForce Pest Control, our knowledgeable and dedicated service professionals provide effective and guaranteed residential and commercial pest control services. We are committed to exceeding customer expectations and using innovative solutions to eliminate stinging insects and other household pests from Charlotte and the surrounding area's properties. To learn more about our stinging insects' control services, contact ProForce.

How can I prevent stinging insects in the future?

Doing the following in your North Carolina home and around your property can help to prevent problems with stinging insects in the future:

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

  • Caulk cracks and crevices in the foundation and exterior walls.

  • Eliminate water sources.

  • Place a cap on your chimney.

  • Repair holes along the roofline.

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

  • Limit the number of flowering plants and trees that are planted near your home.

  • Outdoor trashcans should have tight-fitting lids and outdoor eating areas should be maintained.


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