Bees, Wasps And Hornets: What You Need To Know

Bees, Wasps And Hornets: What You Need To Know


This time of the year we’re all spending a lot more time outside. Whether it’s playing with the kids, grilling, picnicking or gardening, stinging insects can really put a damper on your outdoor activities. Stinging insects common to our area are bees, wasps and hornets.

Bees can be beneficial for different parts of your property, including your garden and your landscape. Bees are generally pollinators and they are crucial to our food supply. Bees are black or brown with red, yellow or blue coloring and they look fuzzy. For the most part, if you don’t bother them, they won’t bother you. Bees tend to build their nests in in shallow holes in the ground, in bird boxes or on tree branches. If they feel that their nest is being threatened, they will sting. Once stung the area may feel hot and itchy and you might get a red bump. Like with any stinging insect, an allergic reaction is possible and if your reaction is severe, medical attention should be sought immediately.

Wasps can also be very beneficial to the environment. They can help control the population of other pests and predatory insects. Wasps and bees are very different in appearance. Wasps are slimmer and they are not fuzzy like bees. Unlike bees who make their nests out of wax, wasps make their nests out of paper like material. Wasp nests are often found hanging from trees or twigs, under porches, eaves or in attics. Unlike bees that can only sting once, wasps can sting repeatedly. Wasps can also cause a severe allergic reaction.

People often confuse wasps and hornets because they have a lot of the same physical characteristics, however, hornets tend to be bigger. Like wasps, hornets build their nests out of a paper-like material. They tend to nest in trees and their nests can be as big as a basketball or a football. Hornets will become very aggressive if they think their nest in in jeopardy. Their sting can be very painful and like with wasps and bees, it can cause an allergic reaction. Any allergic reaction to any stinging insect can range from no big deal to life threatening. Some signs of an allergic reaction to a stinging insect include:


  • Hives

  • Swelling in areas other than the sting site

  • Itchiness

  • Dizziness

  • Swelling of the tongue

  • Horse voice

  • Difficulty breathing

  • Unconsciousness or cardiac arrest.


If you think you are having an allergic reaction of any kind, you should contact a doctor right away.

While not everyone has an allergic reaction to a hornet, wasp or bee sting, that does not mean they aren’t very painful. Some things to try to ease the pain are ice, removing the stinger (if it was a bee that stung you), wash the area with soap and water, take an ibuprofen or similar pain killer and you can also try applying some calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream to the affected area.

If you think you have a problem with stinging insects on your property, you should not try to get rid of them on your own. It is important to contact a professional to take care of it for you. At Schendel we know how to get rid of wasps, bees and hornets, call us today for more information!