Stinging Insect FAQ's

Why do I have ground bees in my yard?

Mining bees and ground-nesting wasps tend to dig burrows in areas with thinning grass. Their burrows can be unsightly but the bees themselves are typically not aggressive and not dangerous. They are typically only active for one month out of the year and oftentimes do not warrant any form of chemical treatment.

Why are bumble bees hovering around my back porch?

If your porch or home is made of wood then it is much more likely that you have Carpenter Bees hovering around rather than bumble bees and though they don't typically sting, they can be a nuisance. Carpenter bees are solitary bees that bore conspicuous, perfectly circular holes into the wood as a haven for their offspring. After depositing an egg in the hole, they return periodically to provision their growing young with pollen and nectar. American Pest employs multiple environmentally responsible methods to control these insects.

Do cicada killer wasps sting?

Cicada killer wasps are solitary by nature. They do not protect a brood nest like that of social stinging insects such as yellow jacket wasps or hornets, therefore, they are far less likely to sting. While male cicada killer wasps are aggressive towards each other and may even be seen locked together in a dangerous flight pattern, they are completely unable to sting.

I have huge wasps digging holes in my yard - what are they?

Cicada killer wasps are a species of solitary wasp and are feared by many. They are large, at approximately 0.6 to 2.0 inches long, with brownish wings. The female cicada killer is often spotted in mid to late summer cruising over lawns in search of a suitable location to dig her nesting burrow. In this shallow grave, she will place a paralyzed cicada, lay her eggs upon it, and allow the developing young to feed upon it over the coming weeks.

I've been stung, now what?

First things first if you have previously had a serious allergic reaction to a sting or believe that you are experiencing one, seek medical attention immediately.    In most cases, basic first aid can aid in bee stings.  Remove any stingers remaining in the skin right away.  You should also wash the sting well with soap and water and may consider applying an antibiotic cream.  Applying ice to the sting site may reduce pain and swelling and taking ibuprofen or acetaminophen may provide relief from pain as well. 

What are these mud tubes on the outside of my house?

Potter wasps and/or Mud Daubers are likely responsible for the mud tubes you see.  Although capable of stinging, neither insect is aggressive in nature and rarely, if ever, sting humans.  Their continual flight activity to and from their nest give them the appearance of a stinging threat. 

Do all bees sting?

Actually, only female bees sting.  That’s because the stinger (also called an ovipositor) is part of the female bee’s reproductive design.  Queen bees use their ovipositors to lay eggs as well as sting while sterile females, also called worker bees, just sting. 

I'm seeing wasps inside, how are they getting in?

Wasps are likely accessing your home by utilizing small gaps, cracks and crevices on the exterior of the house. 

How do I know whether I have a yellow jacket nest or some other stinging insect nest?

Yellow jackets make a paper-carton nest that consists of multiple layers and hundreds of individual cells.  The shape often resembles a football or an upside down teardrop.

Where do yellow jacket wasps build their nests?

While yellow jackets prefer to nest in the ground, they can also be found nesting in attics, barns, behind walls and in retaining walls and other landscape as well as inside hollow trees. 


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