Wasp, Bee, Hornet, and Yellow Jacket Control
Although many insects have the ability to sting, the most common stinging insects in our area are bees and wasps, both of whom belong to the family Vespidae, or vespids.
For the many people who are allergic to insect stings, bees and wasps are life-threatening. Some individuals are so allergic to insect stings that a single sting will result in death unless immediately treated. Here are the most commonly-encountered stinging insects in the Greater St. Louis, Missouri area.
Honeybees are vital pollinators and are primarily beneficial to humans and the environment. They're also under a lot of environmental pressures right now, and in many areas their numbers are dwindling. Unless honeybees present a risk to human safety, they generally should be left alone.
Honeybees are not particularly aggressive unless they're threatened. But when that happens, they will attack viciously, often in swarms of hundreds, or even thousands.
When honeybee removal is necessary, trapping and removal by a beekeeper is the preferred control method. Honeybees should only be killed as a last resort.
There are several species of wasps commonly known as "yellow jackets." The ones that are most common in Missouri are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch in length, and usually build their nests in protected void areas such as hollow trees, structural voids of buildings, or in holes in the ground.
Yellow jackets are minor pollinators, but their pollination activity isn't significant enough for them to be considered beneficial insects.
Yellow jackets are quite aggressive. They'll often attack when their nest is approached. They also create a nuisance when they are attracted to food and beverages being consumed at barbecues and outdoor events, as individual wasps may sting individuals who get too close to them.
Baldfaced hornets are among the most aggressive of all stinging insects. They're extremely wary and protective of their nests, and will attack people who are merely walking past the nest at distances that wouldn't trigger attacks by other wasps.
Typically, two "sentries" remain immediately outside the nest at all times, hovering around and keeping watch for potential threats to the colony. If they become alarmed, they alert the other members, who will attack en masse within seconds. This can result in a person's receiving hundreds of painful, potentially life-threatening stings.
Hornets are about an inch in length, stocky, and black in color with prominent white or pale yellow markings. They usually build hanging nests in trees or suspended from buildings, but they occasionally build nests in hollow trees or other voids. Hornets' nest removal is one of our most in-demand services.
There are several species of wasps known as "paper wasps." The term refers to their habit of building nests from paper that they make themselves from wood mixed with their bodily secretions.
Paper wasps vary greatly in size, coloration, and degree of aggressiveness. Some species are rather passive and generally ignore humans unless the wasps are directly threatened. Others are more wary and will attack anyone who gets too close to the nest. Most fall somewhere in-between the two extremes.
The paper wasps we get around here typically build paper nests under porch ceilings, attached to windows frames, under the eaves of houses, and in other similar places. They also like to build nests in hollow fence posts, PVC furniture, and similar protected places; as well as in structural voids of buildings such as soffits and unoccupied attics.
Stinging Insect Control
Stinging insect control can range from routine to very challenging. But because of the risk of being stung, it's certainly not something most people care to do themselves. You're better off leaving stinging insect control to a professional exterminator.