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Stinging insects like bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, mud daubers, and others are common in Maryland and Virginia. If you attempt to kill one of these stinging insects, you may put yourself at risk of getting stung and triggering an allergic or worse. We do not recommend attempting to remove them or their habitats without the help of a trained exterminator.
Being able to identify the type of wasp is integral for your exterminator to safely remove the stinging insect from your yard or home. There are three common wasp species in Maryland and Northern Virginia: paper wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets. If you're unsure of which type of wasp or wasp nest you have, call the professional wasp killers at B.O.G. Pest Control at 410-376-5312.
Paper wasps are long and slender, with long, thin legs. They are brightly colored and can range from yellow to black, reddish-brown, or dark brown.
Their nests are distinct. If the nest is attached close to an eave, under a window sill, or under a deck, the nest will be roughly circular in shape and can be quite large. The nests can be found in other places, such as inside a piece of equipment or inside hedges.
The queen will begin the nest in the spring, and, as the workers are produced, the nest will be made larger. These wasps like to eat caterpillars and other insects, so they actually act as an important biological control for other pests—however, that doesn't mean you want them around your backyard!
For the homeowner, a paper wasp nest can be dangerous. Paper wasps are very defensive and will sting to protect the nest if they are disturbed.
Yellow jackets are about an inch in length and are easily recognized by their black and yellow strips and about an inch in length. They are the insect that is the most likely to sting you, as most yellow jackets are ground nesters and can sting you several times.
A ground nest of yellow jackets will have one entry point and can be home to thousands, which makes them a threat to your family and pets, especially when this type of wasp is very common outdoors in the fall. They are can be found around food and beverages, looking for sugar and other crumbs.
The in-ground nests can be easily disturbed by ground vibration (for example a lawnmower). Once the yellow jacket is disturbed, you must get away as soon and as fast as you can.
There is only one true type of hornet in Maryland: the European hornet. These hornets are large, yellow or chestnut-colored, and commonly found near garbage areas, as they eat files the trash attracts.
Hornet nests are distinguishable by the large paper-covered nests. Usually, there are several hundred hornets in the nests, and these hornets tend to be docile but will sting if disturbed. If you find these around the house, you usually have the common bald-faced hornet. The nest is never re-used and only the new queens survive to the next season.
The mud dauber is a dark wasp that is long with a very thin waist and generally is yellow and black. The nests look like long cylindrical tubes composed of compacted mud. They seldom will sting and will build hundreds of tubular nests. Their nests are harmless and will do no damage to structures.
There are three species of bees common in Maryland and Northern Virginia: carpenter bees, honey bees, and bumblebees. While BOG Pest Control treatments for carpenter bees, we do not treat honey bees and bumblebees, as they are important pollinators.
Carpenter bees look similar to bumblebees with the primary difference being a lack of dense hair on the tail end. Solitary females will bore holes in unprotected wood where they create individual chambers for each of the eggs. Males will guard the entrance of the nest but cannot sting. The female carpenter bee will not defend the nest but will sting if handled.
Honey bees are social and are familiar to all of us. They are brown, small, and fuzzy and they collect pollen and nectar from flowers to feed other colony members. Honey bees will sting, but only if stepped on or in defense of the nest. While wasps and hornets can sting multiple times, honey bees can only sting once, after which they die.
Bumblebees are large, hairy, and are black and white. They nest in the ground and will not sting unless a nest is stepped on. While bumblebees may look aggressive, they are only interested in collecting nectar and pollen from flowers.
If stung, remove the stinger as quickly as possible to stop any additional venom from being pumped into the bite. A local reaction to being stung is normal—if you are stung on the hand, there may be some localized arm swelling. As long as there is no additional reaction the redness and swelling will persist for about a week. If a severe reaction is experienced, you will need to see a physician as soon as possible.
If bees, wasps, hornets, or other stinging insects are making you feel unsafe in your backyard, there's no time to waste!
Our team of bee and wasp exterminators proudly provide our stinging insect service in Maryland and Northern Virginia, including but not limited to:
These stinging insects may or may not be covered under our pest control program depending on the size and location of the nest. Call for a free estimate!