Stinging insects come in many shapes and sizes here in the Pacific Northwest; most are beneficial, but some can be dangerous. The following is a list of beneficial and dangerous stinging insects, and some info about them.

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Honey Bees

Honey bees get their common name from the sweet yellowish to brownish fluid they make from the nectar of flowers and use as food. Honey bees not only provide honey and wax, but as pollinators are of far greater importance.

  • Small in size (about 1/2” to 5/8”)

  • Orangish brown

  • Body mostly covered with branches, pale hairs

Honey bees are not aggressive, and do not search for something to attack unless they feel threatened. If you find them in your yard, we recommend to just ignore them and let them do their important work of pollination. If they are nesting closer to your home, we recommend contacting a local beekeeper for humane removal and relocation.

You can find a local beekeeper here: Local Beekeepers 

Bumblebees

Bumblebees are larger than Honey bees; they are very important in pollination, and are particularly good at it. This is due to their wings, which can beat over 130 times per second. Combined with their large bodies, they are able to vibrate flowers until pollen is released (called buzz pollination).

  • Large in size (3/4” to 1”)

  • Yellow and black

  • Fuzzy body

  • Short, stubby wings

Most bumblebees will nest in the ground, sometimes utilizing deserted rodent burrows in addition to piles of wood, grass clippings, compost piles, etc. Bumblebees are not aggressive, however they will sting if they feel threatened. Unlike Honey bees, bumblebees do not die after stinging.  We recommend to just ignore them and let them do their important work of pollination.

Mason Bees

The Mason bee is considered the gentlest and the easiest to raise. They are amazing pollinators, and are important for the pollination of flowering fruits and vegetables. Unlike other bees, every single female mason bee is a queen, which means she does it all: finding her own nest, gathering food, and laying her own eggs.

  • Small in size (1/4” to 3/4”)

  • Dark or metallic colored

The favored nesting sites are in the ground or in natural cavities like wood. The male Mason bee does not have a stinger, and while the female Mason bee does, it is highly unlikely they will become aggressive unless they feel it is a last resort to do so.

Are you interested in keeping Mason bees? Check out more information here: Mason Bees

Yellow Jacket

Yellow Jackets get their name from the typical black and yellow color pattern across their abdomen.  They can be distinguished from bees by their thin waists and shiny appearance. Yellow Jackets are social, live in colonies, and are very territorial.

If their nest is approached, they can become very aggressive; they may sting multiple times, and their sting is very painful. Some people become hypersensitive after being stung by a Yellow Jacket, and future stings can become life threatening.

  • Medium size (3/8” to 5/8”)

  • Yellow and black stripes

  • Thin waist

  • Shiny (not fuzzy)

The most common places to find Yellow Jacket nests are in the ground. However, they will also build nests attached to shrubs, bushes, or under the eaves of houses, garages, sheds, etc. Yellow Jackets have guards protecting their nests, and will become aggressive if approached. We highly recommend you stay away from any nests you may find and contact Sentinel Pest Control to have one of our professional technicians safely and effectively remove the nest.

Wasps

With over 30,000 varieties of wasps worldwide, wasps can be categorized into two main groups: social wasps and solitary wasps. A young queen—who was fertilized the previous year and survived the winter through hibernation—will start to build a new nest in the spring. The initial eggs she lays turn into workers who then forage for food, take care of the larvae, and defend the nest.

  • Vibrant colors, commonly yellow and black

  • Medium size (1/2” to 1”)

  • Very little hair

  • Smooth bodies

Wasps actually serve a useful purpose, as they eat other insects that harm crops, although they become a pest once they have invaded your home and backyard. All wasps build nests; a wasp’s nest has a paper like appearance, and they like to form their nests in places like under the eaves of your home, garage, or shed, or attached to shrubs or bushes.

If their nest is approached, they can become very aggressive, and can sting multiple times and their sting is very painful. We highly recommend you stay away from any nests you may find and contact Sentinel Pest Control to have one of our professional technicians safely and effectively remove a nest.

Hornets

There are around 20 species of hornets worldwide, the two most common are the Bald-faced hornet and the European hornet. The European hornet is not aggressive unless it is provoked, or if you threaten the nest. Hornets like to nest in high places, such as attics, eaves, under roofs, sheds, garages, and treetops. They will also nest in the ground.

  • Large in size (1/2″ to 1”)

  • Bald-faced hornet is black and white in color

  • European hornet is brown with yellow abdominal stripes and a pale face

Hornets are beneficial, as they help control the population of many other insect species. However, they become a pest themselves if the nest is located close to or within range of a home or building.

If a Hornet’s nest is threatened, they will release a pheromone to alert the colony to attack, in turn they will become very aggressive, can sting multiple times, and their sting is very painful. A hornet’s sting is more dangerous to humans than a bee’s or a wasp’s.

We highly recommend you stay away from any nests you may find, and contact Sentinel Pest Control to have one of our professional technicians safely and effectively remove a nest.

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