Identifying different stinging insects


April 29, 2022

Dr. Chuck Silcox

Dr. Chuck Silcox

Stinging insects that are often encountered by pest management professionals include paper wasps, mud daubers, bald-faced hornets and ground-nesting yellowjackets. They are easily recognized by experienced professionals:

  • Paper wasps (Polistinae) form umbrella-shaped nests in locations that are protected from rain and wind. They often are found under soffits, at the top of window inserts and inside light fixtures.
  • Mud daubers (certain species of Sphecidae and Crabronidae) construct nests comprised of mud
    tubes that often are positioned on protected
    locations of a building, such as an open porch or a leeward door frame.
  • Bald-faced hornet nests can approach the size of a basketball, and usually are formed on a tree branch. They may also be found attached to a window or to vinyl siding.
  • Yellowjackets usually nest in the ground. There will be a small-diameter hole through which the adults gain access to the nest.

Each of these pests presents unique challenges to technicians. Foremost is the danger of being attacked while in the process of enacting a control measure. Their nests often are located in difficult-to-access locations, which adds to the danger.

The best advice for controlling stinging insects is to do so at night, when they are inactive. If control must be attempted in daylight, then be sure to wear PPE that will fend off attack. It is critical to select a product that provides rapid knockdown during a daylight operation. Ideally, the product will provide residual control so foragers returning to the nest also will be killed.


About the Author

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Dr. Chuck Silcox is the product development manager at AMGUARD.

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