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Wasps, Hornets, and Bees Oh My! (Part 1)

Wasps, Hornets, and Bees Oh My! (Part 1)

Its that time a year again. You’re out mowing the yard, trimming the bushes and whamm-o, you’re stung on the leg or arm or worse yet your face or neck by wasps, hornets, or bees. To me there is no worse feeling that getting stung by a flying insect. That moment of terror, what was that? OUCH! Where did they come from? OUCH! Arms flailing, running/falling as fast as you can, doing the “I’m getting stung and I am panicked dance“. OUCH, OUCH!

Raleigh WaspHere in Raleigh, NC we are “blessed” with several types of stinging insects. (Remember they are pollinators too) This pest control blog post will be a quick overview of the types of stinging pests we have in the Raleigh area, how to identify different types of stinging pests we have in Raleigh, and what kind of pest control is needed to keep yourself free from these pests.

Yellow jackets

Raleigh Yellow JacketYellow jackets in the Raleigh area are mostly found nesting in the ground in many areas of your yard, near sidewalks, in flower beds, etc. (I don’t know about the rest of the areas of North Carolina but in the mountain region of NC many of the yellow jacket nests are built off the ground and on the eaves of structures) The entrance to their nests are usually just a hole in the ground, a couple inches wide. An active nest will have yellow jackets consistently coming and going out of this hole. The yellow jacket paper nest is buried under ground so the only evidence visible is the hole that they use to go in and out of their nest.

The yellow jacket is small in size, but can be very aggressive and will defends its nest. Usually you will be stung several times by accidentally mowing too close to the nest or stepping too near where they live. The sting is painful but not as painful as some of the other stinging insects we will cover. These small, flying insects are yellow and black in color with little to no visible hairs. They range in size but most workers will be about 1/2″ in size. These are similar to honeybees in appearance and many of our Raleigh customers will misidentify these insects.

Treating yellow jacket nests as a homeowner should be done at night or very early in the morning. At this time of day, most of the worker yellow jackets will be in the nest and they will not be very active. I have found that by using an aerosol insecticide that is used for general pest control gives a better chance for control directed directly into the nest opening. Using a wasp/hornet spray that sprays 10-15 feet tends not to penetrate inside the nest and can lead to treating the nest again. Treating for an underground yellow jacket nest can be difficult and may require the help of a professional pest control operator.

Paper Wasps

There are many species of paper wasps found in the Raleigh area. Wasps can vary in colors (bright yellow to deep brown) and in size, but most will build the umbrella type, paper nests that hang from the eaves, porch ceilings, bushes, etc. The paper wasp will usually have a thinner “waist” and seem slimmer than a bee or yellow jacket. These stinging insects will also have very little visible hair or fuzz.


The linked video shows a paper wasp nest that was observed attached to the window of one of our Raleigh pest control customers.


Raleigh Paper Wasp

The paper wasp will defend its territory and nest but usually will not be terribly aggressive. When performing pest control on these guys I would recommend treating their nests at early morning or at dusk. Using a wasp/hornet spray that sprays 10-15 feet is your best bet. After treating and ensuring no wasps remain, knock down and dispose of the nest. Paper Wasps in Raleigh Treating a paper wasp nest, if its location is easily accessible, will typically be an easy task and most homeowners should be able to treat them successfully.

In our next post we will explore the Bald Faced Hornet and Bees.

Remember if you need help with your pest control needs in the Raleigh area don’t hesitate to give us a “buzz”. : )