Stinging Insects

Stinging insects like bees and wasps can pose a threat to people allergic to their venom.

What are stinging insects?

Stinging insects use stingers to protect themselves and/or their colonies from danger. The venom that most stinging insects possess is powerful enough to trigger allergic reactions in some people. Despite the dangers they pose to people, stinging insects are very beneficial when found living out in nature and away from humans. They are responsible for pollinating a wide variety of plants and crops, and as a predatory species, help to keep the populations of nuisance insects under control.

Many species of stinging insects live throughout our area of Texas. Three of the most common species found throughout our area are honey bees, mud daubers, and wasps.

Mud daubers
Mud daubers are a large, solitary species of stinging insects. As their name describes, they create their nests out of mud. These stinging pests range in color from black to metallic blue and may or may not have yellow or green markings. Mud daubers have narrow waists and a thread-like segment between their thoraxes and abdomens, causing them to look like they have been stretched out.

Wasps have distinct pinched waists and long, thin legs that dangle below their bodies when flying. Their body is black or brown with yellow or orange markings. Their wings are grayish. Wasps are known for being easy to anger and will sting repeatedly when agitated or provoked.

Honey bees
Honey bees have oval-shaped bodies and their abdomens are covered in hair. They usually have a black and yellow color pattern covering their bodies, giving them a striped appearance. Honey bees are typically non-agressive and live together in extremely large colonies.

Are stinging insects dangerous?

Yes, stinging insects have the potential to be dangerous to people and pets; this is especially true when they build their nests in your home, on your property, or in high-traffic areas around your property. Some stinging insects can deliver multiple stings, and these stings are very painful and leave behind large, red welts. Some stinging insects' venom is potent enough to cause serious health consequences in people, potentially triggering severe allergic reactions that can sometimes lead to anaphylaxis.

Why do I have a stinging insect problem?

Stinging insects live, breed, and feed outside, and can become a problem on any residential or commercial property. These pests are especially active during the late summer and early fall when their colonies are at their largest, while the workers are out foraging for food to feed their entire colonies and sustain their queen during the winter months.

Where will I find stinging insects?

Stinging insects mainly live and nest outside. Typical nesting sites include high up in trees, on utility poles, in bushes, under roof eaves, and in the corners of doorways. Depending on the species, they may also place their nests inside of rock crevices, in woodpiles, or ground holes. Sometimes, stinging insects will even find their way inside through any openings in a home’s exterior. Favorite indoor nesting spots include in or on chimneys, behind walls voids, and inside crawlspaces.

Mud daubers place their nests in secluded spots both indoors and outdoors. Typical nesting sites include under roof eaves or porch ceilings, as well as in attics, barns, and garages. Wasps often place their nests in door frames, in shrubs and bushes, on tree branches, under decks, and underneath eaves. Honey bees create their outdoor nests in places like rock crevices or tree cavities, and they may also commonly nest in attics and chimneys.

When are stinging insects most active?

Honey bees are most active on warm, sunny days when temperatures are above 70 degrees. On a day to day basis, honey bees are active in the spring and summer seasons during the middle of the day between dawn and dusk. Mud daubers are most active in the late winter, spring, and summer during the day while foraging for food. Each year, the new queen overwinters inside of cells within the nest during their larval stage. As is the case with many species of stinging insects, wasp colonies are at their largest during the late summer and fall seasons when a colony's members are most active foraging for food. Wasps are active during the day and dormant in their nest during overnight.

Interesting facts about stinging insects

1. Honey bees are the only insects that make honey. A single honey bee produces about 1 tablespoon of honey in its lifetime, which is why there are so many members (20,000-80,000) in a colony. In one year, a honey bee colony eats between 120-200 pounds of honey. Honey bees can travel a distance of six miles when gathering pollen and nectar. 

2. Mud daubers live by themselves, and each female is responsible for feeding her own developing larvae. To feed her young, she catches and paralyzes spiders, placing them within individual tubes inside her nest. She then deposits an egg on a spider and seals the tube with mud. When the larvae hatch from their eggs, they have an instant source of food. Some species of mud daubers even hunt the dangerous black widow spider to feed their young!

3. When wasps are fearful, they emit a pheromone that attracts other wasps to attack. This defense mechanism helps to keep their nests safe from danger and can easily cause a person to be attacked by a swarm of wasps. Wasps have smooth stingers which means they can sting their victims repeatedly, injecting more venom with each sting. Great care should always be taken around both individual wasps and wasp nests.

How do I get rid of stinging insects?

To eliminate and/or prevent stinging insect infestations, partner with Around The Block Pest Control. Our friendly and highly trained professionals deliver modern and effective pest control solutions. We will work closely with you to eliminate stinging insects and stop future stinging insects from making themselves at home around your McKinney, Texas property.

Around The Block Pest Control offers a variety of residential and commercial pest control services: general pest coverage, organic services, bed bugs control, fire ant control, mosquito control, rodent control, and more. To learn more about the stinging insect services we offer throughout northeastern Texas, reach out to us today!

How can I prevent stinging insects in the future?

In addition to our professional services, the following tips can help to prevent problems with stinging insects on your property in northeastern Texas and surrounding areas:

  • Trim back tree limbs, shrubs, and bushes back away from the exterior of your home.

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

  • Keep outdoor eating areas free of food debris.

  • Seal entry points into your home.

  • Remove excess piles of debris from your property.

  • Place tight-fitting caps on chimneys and covers over vents leading into your home.

  • Remove water sources by maintaining gutters and fixing leaky outdoor fixtures and hoses.