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Nobody wants to discover pests in and around their home - but especially not ones that can result in painful bites or stings! Stinging insects like bees, wasps, hornets, yellow jackets, mud daubers and more are common in Maryland and Virginia - and you should never attempt to remove them or their habitats without the help of a trained professional.
Paper wasp nests are distinct, and quite common in Maryland and Virginia. 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.
These wasps are slower in flight than the common yellowjacket but differ visually. Paper wasps are:
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, however, a paper wasp nest can be dangerous. Paper wasps will sting and will protect the nest if they are disturbed. All of the wasps will die except for the new queens: who will over-winter where ever they can, often in a garage.
This is the stinging insect that will sting you the most frequently. Most often yellowjackets are ground nesters. The yellowjacket is colorful; yellow and black and about an inch in length. A ground nest of yellowjackets will have one entry point and can be home to thousands, which makes them a threat to your family and pets, especially when they're most common outdoors in the fall.
The preferred food source is other insects, but the most dangerous aspect is simply that the yellowjacket will eat human food! Yellowjackets can and will sting multiple times. Since the yellowjacket is primarily an in-ground nester, they can be easily disturbed by ground vibration (for example a lawnmower). Once the yellowjacket is disturbed, you must get away as soon and as fast as you can. Often in the fall, yellowjackets are found around food and beverages, looking for sugar and other crumbs.
There is only one true hornet common in Maryland; the European hornet. These hornets are:
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 usually you 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 the tubular nests. The nests are harmless and will do no damage to structures.
There are three species of bees common in Maryland and Northern Virginia: honey bees, bumble bees, and carpenter bees.
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. Honey bees after they sting will die. Wasps and hornets, however, can sting multiple times. You should always avoid the white hive boxes. We do not target these pollinators.
Bumblebees are large, hairy and are black and white. They nest in the ground. A bumble bee will not sting unless a nest is stepped on. The bumblebee looks aggressive but is only interested in collecting nectar and pollen from flowers. We do not target these pollinators.
Carpenter bees look similar to bumble bees 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.
Wasps and bees have barbed "stingers." If stung, remove the stinger as quickly as possible to stop any additional venom from being pumped in 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.
Placing ice on the bite will minimize swelling and pain. However, when the ice is removed the pain will return. Other home remedies will help the victim psychologically, but will do little else and will not change the reaction.
If bees, wasps, hornets, or other stinging insects are making you feel unsafe in your backyard, there's no time to waste! Call the Maryland and NOVA stinging insect extermination pros at B.O.G. Pest Control at 410-376-5312 today!
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!