1. Hornets, Wasps, and Yellow Jackets…Oh My!

OCTOBER 18 2021 /

Hornets, Wasps, and Yellow Jackets…Oh My!

Summer is stinging insect season and we all know that as the temperature increases, so does stinging insect activity. The presence of these pests can quickly ruin outdoor fun as they become aggressive and territorial of their nest which can lead to stings. About 2 million people in the United States have stinging insect allergies, so making sure you’re preventing stings on your property is important!

What Types of Stinging Insects May Be on My Property?

In New York the most common types of stinging insects that you may see are carpenter bees, hornets, paper wasps, and hornets. Let’s talk about their differences.


Carpenter Bees:

These pests are known for the damage that they cause to wooden structures and framework. If you are finding tunnels in the wood structures on your property, they are most likely the culprit. Carpenter bees have a distinctive abdomen that is black, smooth, and shiny; and a thorax that can be yellow, black, brown, or white.

Carpenter bees tend to live on their own, with females finding places to tunnel to lay their eggs. Females may sting if she feels that her eggs are threatened, and males will fly around aggressively as they are unable to sting.



Hornets are a type of social wasp. Hornets often have a dark brown body with an orange-yellow head and stripes on their abdomen. They also have a thicker body than those of yellow jackets or paper wasps. Hornets like to build their nests anywhere and everywhere; indoors, outdoors, underground, in trees, roof eves, attics, and more. Hornets can become very aggressive if they feel that their nest is in danger, which can be very tricky for you as the homeowner if you have no idea where the nest is located.

A hornet’s nest will look like a papery ball or teardrop and can get as big as a basketball. The best thing you can do is stay away from it and avoid making loud noises that may startle the pests inside that would cause them to become aggressive and emerge.


Paper Wasps:

Paper wasps are brown and typically have yellow markings, they have a very thin and pronounced waist, long legs, and only one pair of wings. Their nests hang downward and can look like honeycomb pattern. And are commonly found under a house’s eves, but can also be found in places like sheds, attics, garages, trees, and shrubs.

Paper wasps are unlikely to sting you while they are just flying out and about, but if you get to close to their nest, they can become very hostile. Which isnt optimal if they are making their nests right near your front or back door.



The stinging insect most likely to show up at those outdoor barbecues are yellowjackets, as they love sweets! Their heads are yellow and black, and their bodies have yellow and black band-like markings. They have a tiny waist with four wings.

With nests that are either created in lofty areas, like attics or eves, or underground; they can house thousands of colony members. These nests only have one opening that can be incredibly hard to see, which means you should be extra careful when encountering these nests. Yellowjackets often sting unprovoked, and if they feel that their nest is in danger they will swarm.


What Should I Do If I Get Stung?  

  • Remove any stingers right away. They have venom and will release it for several seconds after it goes in. Some experts recommend scraping out the stinger with a credit card.
  • Applying ice to the site may provide some mild relief. Apply ice for 20 minutes once every hour as needed. Wrap the ice in a towel or keep a cloth between the ice and skin to keep from freezing the skin.
  • Taking an antihistamine such Benadryl or a non-drowsy alternative such as Claritin will help with itching and swelling.
  • Take acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain relief as needed.
  • Wash the sting site with soap and water. Place hydrocortisone cream on the sting to help relieve redness, itching, and swelling.

Most insect stings require no additional medical care, but if the person who has been stung is allergic or is showing signs of a serious allergic reaction seek medical attention as soon as possible. If the person has an EpiPen, use it!  


The best thing that you can do to help prevent any more stings from occurring is to have a certified pest management professional from JP McHale Pest Management come out to your property to properly and safely treat for stinging insect activity.  

Contact JP McHale Pest Management today!