Stinging Insect Identification

What are stinging insects?

Bees, wasps, and hornets are all examples of stinging insects. They have stingers used to paralyze their prey and defend themselves. Stinging insects are most active during the second half of the summer and early fall months. Many people have a love/hate relationship with stinging insects. We want them around because they pollinate plants and crops and predatory species help keep nuisance insect populations in check. However, we don’t want them nesting near or in our homes because they tend to be aggressive, and their venom-filled stings are painful and can trigger allergic reactions.

a wasp in tukwila washington

Stinging insects are primarily social, living together in large groups, though some species are solitary. Some of the most common species of stinging insects in our area are all types of wasps - paper wasps, yellow jackets, and mud daubers.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps have a black or brown body with yellow or orange markings. They have a pinched waist and long, thin legs that dangle below their bodies when flying. Paper wasps are social insects.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are identified by their thin waist and well-defined black and yellow striped pattern. Yellow jackets are social insects.

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers are a large species of solitary wasp that make their distinctive nests out of mud. Most are black, although some have a metallic blue sheen.

Are stinging insects dangerous?

When stinging insects decide to nest in a high-traffic area of your yard or on or inside the house, they can become very dangerous. The venom injected during a sting is strong enough to trigger a severe allergic reaction or cause anaphylaxis for some people. Even if an allergic reaction does not occur, being stung by a stinging insect is not fun. Their stings are painful and leave behind a raised, red welt that can last for hours or days.

Why do I have a stinging insect problem?

Stinging insects are most active in the late summer and fall when their colony sizes are at their biggest, and workers are out in large numbers foraging for food. Almost any residential property can become home to stinging insects, although they are especially attracted to properties with lots of trees, flowering vegetation, and dense landscaping. They also prefer properties with open trash containers, compost bins, and outdoor eating areas to forage for food.

Where will I find stinging insects?

Wasps build their nests in protected areas. Mud daubers build their small nests underneath overhangs or within tight crevices between rocks. Paper wasps place their nests up off the ground in trees, on utility poles, under decks, under roof eaves, and inside door frames. Ground nesters such as yellow jackets build nests in the ground or use the abandoned nests of small animals. Stinging insects prefer to nest outside but sometimes find their way inside a home or outbuilding, making their nest in a chimney, attic, eaves, or wall void.

How do I get rid of stinging insects?

For homeowners looking for a responsible approach to get rid of the stinging insects on their property, we suggest partnering with Alta Pest Control. We focus on low-impact pest control that effectively eliminates stinging insects and other household pests while minimizing the impact on the environment. Let our family-owned company protect your home and family from our area’s most persistent household invading pests! If you are looking for more information about our stinging insect control services, reach out today and speak with one of our friendly and helpful professionals!

How can I prevent stinging insects in the future?

With the help of the professional services you’ll find at Alta Pest Control, along with the following tips, you can prevent stinging insects from becoming a problem in your Spokane, WA home.

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

  • Place tight-fitting lids on outdoor trash cans and compost bins.

  • Keep outdoor eating areas free of food debris.

  • Fill in any ground holes.

  • Get rid of water sources by maintaining gutters and downspouts and fixing leaky hoses and fixtures.

  • Limit the amount of flowering vegetation planted on your property, especially near the exterior of your house.

  • Keep stinging insects out of your home by sealing cracks in exterior walls, placing caps in chimneys, and repairing holes along the roofline.


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