Identifying Stinging Insects

About Bees

There are primarily two types of stinging insects: bees and wasps. Among bees, we see the following around the Atlanta area:

• Honeybees
• Bumblebees

Honeybees are slender and furry, with stripes on their abdomen that alternate black or brown and yellow or gold. The tips of their abdomens are sharp, and their stingers prominent. These are the only bees that have barbed stings and, therefore, sting only once before dying from a ruptured abdomen. They are not aggressive by nature, stinging only when they believe their territory is being threatened. Their nests are often found on branches, in the hollows of trees, and in wall cavities.

Bumblebees are furrier than honeybees and twice as large. Their abdomens are rounded at the tip. The color of their stripes, usually alternating black and yellow, is less distinct. Many species of bumblebee nest in the ground, creating their own burrows or taking over unoccupied rodent burrows. Others build their colonies in more orthodox places like trees and attics. Like honeybees, bumblebees only sting when provoked. In either case, though, the sting will send venom into your body and cause anaphylactic shock if you have an insect allergy. This can be life-threatening.

About Wasps

Wasps are either solitary or social; in other words, they either live in colonies, or they live on their own, eating small insects to survive. The three wasps that we most commonly encounter, since they happen to be social wasps, are:

• Paper wasps
• Yellow jackets
• Hornets

Characteristics shared by all three include a thin body, a complete lack of fur, and an aggressive nature. Paper wasps have the longest legs of the three and are brownish in color. Yellow jackets have prominent yellow and black stripes, as do some hornets. The bald-faced hornet is entirely black, except for the face, which is white.

Their nests can be easily distinguished from one another. Paper wasps shape theirs into a kind of upside-down umbrella, yellow jackets into a layered ball, and bald-faced hornets into something resembling a football. All three are papery in appearance and can be found hanging from trees, shrubs, and eaves. Hornets, like bees, also like hiding between walls. Yellow jackets are another example of a ground-nesting insect. Wasps can be attracted to sweet foods late in the summer, which means a greater risk that you’ll be stung when you don’t comply with their demands. They’re also a nuisance to beekeepers because they like to eat bees.

Bug Out can remove bee and wasps safely from your property, and if extermination becomes necessary, we’ll use products that won’t harm you or the environment. Give us a call today for more information and a free evaluation.