Stinging Insect Identification Guide


What are stinging insects?

Stinging insects all have stingers they use to paralyze their prey and defend themselves. Stinging insects living outside away from people are environmentally beneficial because some pollinate crops and plants, and others feed on and control populations of nuisance insects. Stinging insects in New Haven become unwanted when they nest near homes because of the dangers they pose to people. Most species are very social and live in colonies with thousands of members.

many wasps drinking juice from a glass left outside of a home in west haven connecticut

Hornets, paper wasps, and yellow jackets are all examples of stinging insects living throughout our area of Connecticut:

The European hornet is the only true species hornet living in the United States. They are large insects with a yellow and brown color pattern. The bald-faced hornet lives throughout the U.S. but is not a true hornet and is actually a close relative of the yellow jacket. Bald-faced hornets are black except for their mostly white faces.
Paper wasps
The paper wasp is a common species of wasp. They have pinched waists and long, thin legs that dangle below their bodies when flying. Their bodies are black or brown with yellow or orange markings.

Yellow jackets
Yellow jackets are another common species of wasp living in the United States. They are usually identified by their thin waists and well-defined black and yellow-striped pattern.

Are stinging insects dangerous?

Stinging insects become dangerous pests when they place their nests in a high-traffic areas. Their nests often go unnoticed by people until they accidentally walk on, over, or near them. Stinging insects view you as a threat and will retaliate by stinging. Hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets all have smooth stingers, which makes them capable of inflicting repeated stings – delivering more venom each time. Their venom is strong enough to trigger allergic reactions in some and, depending on the individual, anaphylaxis may occur.

Why do I have a stinging insect problem?

Stinging insects are very attracted to our yards because, unfortunately, our yards provide them with everything they need to live and thrive such as easy access to multiple food and water sources, and plenty of nesting spots. Yellow jackets, in particular, like to live near people and are very problematic around outdoor eating areas and at outdoor events.

The following may attract stinging insects to a property:

  • Birdbaths

  • Bushes, shrubs, and trees

  • Clogged gutters

  • Compost bins

  • Garbage cans

  • Gardens

  • Outdoor eating areas

Where will I find stinging insects?

Stinging insects are outdoor pests but sometimes find their way into our homes, barns, garages, or other outbuildings to create nests. Different species of stinging insects have different nesting preferences. Wasps hang their nests from tree branches, shrubs, underneath porch ceilings, deck railings, roof eaves, and in the corner of doorways. Hornets choose to nest in hollow trees, barns, attics, and behind wall voids. Ground-nesting species such as yellow jackets place their nests in the ground, in between rocks crevices, or under woodpiles. They also build their nests inside attics and wall voids.

How do I get rid of stinging insects?

Here at Connecticut Pest Elimination, our dedicated and licensed pest technicians provide the comprehensive pest control services needed to eliminate stinging insects and other common pests and keep them from returning! Guard your home or business against pests with the help of a local, full-service pest control company with over 27 years of experience. For more information about our commercial exterminator services and residential pest control programs, reach out to Connecticut Pest Elimination today!

How can I prevent stinging insects in the future?

In addition to our professional services, the following prevention tips will help you to avoid problems with stinging insects here in Connecticut:

  • Cut branches back away from the exterior walls of your home or business.

  • Make sure compost bins have tight-fitting lids on them.

  • Keep outdoor eating areas free of food debris.

  • Remove debris from clogged gutters.

  • Fix leaky hoses and outdoor faucets.

  • Place all trash in containers with locking lids.

  • Seal any opening on the exterior of your property.

  • Remove fallen trees, stumps, woodpiles, and other debris from your yard.

  • Place garden areas as far away from the exterior of your property as possible.


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