21 must-know facts about stinging pests

Krissie Callahan

Stinging pests such as bees, hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets are often thought of as a pest encountered by accident – children getting stung while playing barefoot outside, the occasional sting while doing yard work. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Stinging pests can become a problem for any business. Their presence can also pose a liability for businesses by increasing the risk of dangerous and potentially life-threatening stings. Whether simply buzzing around a trash can or nesting inside a wall-void, a stinging pest issue can put people at risk.

If you have a stinging pest problem on your property, it is important to call in a professional to address it as soon possible. Be sure to contact your local Rentokil office today.

Here are 21 must-know, eye-opening facts about stinging pests.

General stinging insect facts

  • Any sting from a bee, wasp, or hornet can be dangerous to someone who is allergic. Those with allergies can quickly go into anaphylactic shock after being stung; this can be life-threatening if not treated quickly.
  • Anyone who is stung should be monitored for several hours for signs of an allergic reaction, such as, severe itching, hives, difficulty breathing or swelling of the mouth, lips, or throat, shortness of breath, nausea, or unconsciousness.
  • Many stinging pests species can be attracted to odors emanating from trash bins and dumpsters. To reduce the likelihood of this, ensure that all outdoor trash bins are covered. Self-closing lids may ensure that lids are not blown away or discarded on the ground.










Wasp and yellow jacket facts

  • Unlike bees, wasps have stingers without a barb, which allows them to sting a victim multiple times.
  • Yellow jackets are actually wasps, and they are aggressive. If you notice yellow jackets flying in and out of a hole in a building, call an expert. Do not plug the hole, as yellow jackets can chew their way through drywall!
  • Yellow jackets can nest in voids, such as rodent burrows in the ground, or in wall voids in structures.
  • Yellow jackets have an alarm pheromone which can cause mass stings, so avoid potential yellow jacket nests.
  • Yellow jackets can be attracted to food and beverages, especially in late summer and early fall. This is important to note for businesses with outdoor dining areas.
  • Untreated wood can be attractive to wasps. Use sealants to protect wooden structures from wasps.
  • Paper wasps build honeycombed, umbrella-shaped nests. These wasps can inflict a painful sting if they are disturbed or if they feel their nest is being threatened. Do not try to remove a paper wasp nest.
  • The cicada killer is a wasp which resembles a large bee, which can be disconcerting. These wasps dig burrows in the dirt; you may notice them flying low over lawns. Males may “chase” people, but do not sting.
  • Mud dauber wasps build nests that look like mud tubes. These wasps are not very aggressive and stings are unlikely. Avoid the nests and call a professional for help.

Hornet facts

  • Hornets usually build an exposed, football-shaped paper nests that hang from tree limbs or are in shrubs. However, they can build nests on roof overhangs, in or near chimneys, and can even incorporate things such as light fixtures.
  • Some hornet species can be very aggressive, so if you suspect a hornet problem, stay away and keep your family and pets at a distance.
  • Unlike bees, hornets have stingers without a barb, which allows them to sting a victim multiple times.
  • Adult hornet colonies are the largest in late summer and may be more noticeable at this time because of this.

bees in hive









Bee facts

  • Scientists have become concerned about the health of bees worldwide. To help protect bee health, many pest control providers will partner with local beekeepers to avoid killing bees whenever possible when solving a bee problem.
  • Bees play an important role in pollinating plants and trees that provide food to humans and animals.
  • Bees can sometimes nest in wall voids and other inaccessible areas of structures. If you see bees flying into a structure, call an expert.
  • Not all bees are honey bees. If you see large bees swarming around your eaves and rafters, or around wooden porches and decks in early spring, you may have a Carpenter bee problem.
  • Some bee species, such as the Africanized honey bee, can be extremely aggressive and even chase people. It is best to treat all beehives as potentially dangerous and contact a professional right away.


If you encounter a stinging pest issue on your property, Rentokil can help. Call 800.488.9495 or contact us online.

Krissie Callahan
Krissie Callahan

As the Communications Manager for Rentokil North America, Krissie specializes in writing, editing, and shaping both internal and marketing messages for the company. When she's not at work, you can usually find her taking in a live music performance in her hometown of Charlotte, NC.

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