Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bees
  • Color: Yellow or black
  • Legs: Six
  • Shape: Oval and robust
  • Size: 1/4 - 1 inch long
  • Antennae: Yes
  • Region: Found throughout the U.S.
  • Description:Carpenter bees look like typical bumblebees but often lack yellow stripes. This type of stinging bee gets its common name from its habit of boring into wood like a carpenter.

    Habits: Unlike bumble bees, carpenter bees are solitary insects. The adult carpenter bees hibernate over winter, typically in abandoned nest tunnels and emerge in the spring to feed on nectar.

    Habitat:Carpenter bees do not live in nests or colonies. Instead, female carpenter bees bore circular holes through soft wood to lay eggs and protect their larvae as they develop.

    Threats:Carpenter bees are a serious property threat, as they can cause structural damage over time if left untreated. Male carpenter bees can be territorial and may hover in front of one's face aggressively, but they have no stinger and these actions are merely for show. Female carpenter bees do have a potent stinger, but it's rarely used.

    Prevention:Looking to get rid of carpenter bees? Carpenter bees prefer bare wood, so painting and staining wood can sometimes help deter them. However, they will sometimes attack stained or painted wood, so contact a pest control professional for proper carpenter bee control. Homeowners should also routinely inspect wood on the property for signs of a carpenter bee infestation, including round, smooth holes.


    Yellow Jackets

    Yellow Jackets
  • Color: Abdomen usually black and yellow pattered similar to bands
  • Legs: Six
  • Shape: Wasp-like
  • Size: Workers 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch long
  • Antennae: Yes
  • Region: Found throughout U.S.
  • Description: There are several species of yellowjackets. These flying insects typically have a yellow and black head/face and patterned abdomen.

    Habits:Yellowjackets are social insects that live in nests or colonies with up to 4,000 workers. They are most active in the late summer and early autumn when a colony is at its peak. Yellowjackets feed on sweets and proteins, and therefore commonly invade outdoor events.

    Habitat: Yellowjackets can be found anywhere humans are found. They build paper carton nests out of chewed up cellulose, which are usually found in the ground or in cavernous areas such as eaves and attics.

    Threats:Yellowjacket stings pose significant health threats to humans, as they are territorial and will sting if threatened. They are known to sting repeatedly and can cause allergic reactions. Yellowjackets and other stinging insects send over 500,000 people to the emergency room each year.

    Prevention:Looking to get rid of yellowjackets? Call a pest professional if you suspect yellowjacket activity on the property. Because of their tendency to sting when threatened, yellowjacket control requires specialized equipment and safety precautions. Homeowners should remove garbage frequently, keep trashcans covered, and ensure all doors and windows have screens that are in good condition. People should also avoid wearing sweet-smelling perfumes as the scent attracts yellowjackets.


    European Hornets

    European Hornets
  • Color: Brown with yellow abdominal stripes and pale face
  • Legs: Six
  • Shape: Long, robust, wasp-like
  • Size: 3/4 – 11/2” (18-38 mm)
  • Antennae: Yes
  • Region: Found in 31 states, from the eastern seaboard west to the Eastern Dakotas and south through Iowa and Illinois to New Orleans
  • Description:This hornet (also called Giant hornet) gets its common name from its introduction from Europe into the New York area in the 1800's. European hornets are much larger than yellow jackets and unlike most stinging insects, can be active at night.

    Habits: European hornets are social insects and live in colonies that may contain between 200-400 members at their peak. They usually appear in late summer. They prey on a variety of large insects such as grasshoppers, flies, yellow jackets and honeybees. They also eat tree sap, fruit, and honeydew. European hornets are attracted to light and are known to repeatedly bang on lighted windows at night.

    Habitat: European hornets nest in hollow trees, barns, out buildings, hollow walls of houses, attics, and abandoned beehives. Unprotected nests are usually covered in a brown envelope made of cellulose from decayed wood.

    Threats: European hornets can do a great deal of damage to trees and shrubs because they strip the bark to get to the sap. They also use the bark fiber to build their nests. They have smooth stingers, so they can sting over and over again. Hornet stings also carry venom that makes the stings hurt, itch, or swell for about 24 hours. A European hornet sting has the same risk of allergic reactions as with other insect stings.

    Prevention: Looking to get rid of hornets? Change exterior lights to yellow bulbs to reduce this pests' attraction to your home or property. Promptly remove any fallen fruit from trees, as it attracts these hornets. If you suspect you have a European hornet infestation or find a nest on your home or property, contact a licensed pest management professional. Avoid hornet stings; do not attempt to remove a nest on your own.


    Bald-Faced Hornets

    Bald-Faced Hornets
  • Color: Black with a white pattern on most of the face
  • Legs: Six
  • Shape: Long, wasp-like
  • Size: 1/2 – 5/8” (12-15mm); queen 3/4” (18-20mm)
  • Antennae: Yes
  • Region: Found throughout U.S.
  • Description:The bald-faced hornet is a relative of the yellowjacket and gets its common name from its largely black color and mostly white face. This stinging insect is named a hornet because of its large size and aerial nest.

    Habits:Bald-faced hornets are social insects, although not true hornets. They live in colonies that may contain between 100 and 400 members at their peak. They usually appear in late summer when populations are largest. Unlike other stinging insects, bald-faced hornets do not reuse their nests season after season.

    Habitat: Bald-faced hornets build paper nests at least three or more feet off of the ground, usually in trees, shrubs, on overhangs, utility poles, houses, sheds or other structures. These nests can be as large as 14 inches in diameter and more than 24 inches in length.

    Threats:Bald-faced hornets are aggressive and will attack anyone or anything that invades their space. This makes bald-faced hornet removal somewhat difficult. These hornets have smooth stingers, so they can sting over and over again. Bald-faced hornet stings also carry venom that makes the stings hurt, itch and swell for about 24 hours. Humans are at the same risk of allergic reactions from bald-faced hornet stings as with other insect stings.

    Prevention:If you find a bald-faced hornet nest on your home or property, do not attempt to remove it on your own as this can aggravate the colony and cause the hornets to sting. Contact a licensed pest management professional about hornet removal to avoid the risk of bald-faced hornet stings.


    Honey Bees

    Honey Bees
  • Color: Predominantly golden-yellow with brown bands
  • Legs: Six
  • Shape: Oval; bee shape
  • Size: 1/2 inch
  • Antennae: Yes
  • Region: Found throughout U.S
  • Description: Honey bees are social insects found all over the world. They are beneficial insects because of their role in pollination. Honey bees pollinate more than 100 crops in the U.S.

    Habits: Honeybees are active pollinators, and produce honey which feeds their young in colder months. The honeybee is the only social insect whose colony can survive many years.

    Habitat: Honeybees produce honey from pollen and nectar of the plants they pollinate. They store the honey in honeycombs in their nests. They often build their nests in tree crevices, but will occasionally build nests in attics or chimneys.

    Threats: Honeybees do sting, but they only sting once. The sting can be extremely painful if the stinger is not immediately removed from the sting. Persons allergic to insect stings will have a more severe reaction.

    Prevention: Honey bee management should be addressed by a professional. Treatment or removal of a honeybee nest and the honey product can be very messy. Because honeybee colonies are so large, only a honey bee pest control professional or experienced beekeeper can safely remove a honeybee nest.

    Source: National Pest Management Association