What’s That Stinging Insect Flying Around My Yard? 

All stinging pests are not created equal. Some can cause property damage. Some can damage your lawn. Some will sting you several times. And some will only sting you once. Some swarm. Some don't. It is important to know which stinging insects you have in your yard. Hopefully, this simple guide will help you sort things out. As you read, keep in mind that this information is for the folks in our Southern Tampa service area. The stinging insects in your area may be different.

hornets around a nest in florida

Yellow Jackets

Identification: Stout, black and yellow wasps that appear hairless from a distance.

This is the most common stinging insect Floridians find in their yards. One reason for this is that yellow jackets are highly aggressive social insects that are drawn to sources of protein found in trash cans and around outside cooking areas.

If you have yellow jackets in your yard there are a few things you should know:

  • Yellow jackets can create nests in many places, some might surprise you. They'll build a nest in ground holes created by animals. They'll build nests in tree holes or the wall voids of your home. And, when they get into a home, they may infest a piece of stored furniture.
  • Yellow jackets are nest protectors. If you have a ground nest in your yard, the vibration from your lawn mower could set these insects off. If you have a nest in your shed, opening the door could be enough to make these insects swarm.
  • Yellow jackets are aggressive. While all social insects protect their nests and swarm together in response to a threat, yellow jackets take it to the next level. They are known to give pursuit, even going around objects to get their target.

Paper Wasps

Identification: Some species of paper wasp look similar to yellow jackets in color but they have a much more noticeable taper at the waist. The most common paper wasps we see are brown in coloration with orange tints. Paper wasps have the smooth appearance of a wasp and lack the hair associated with bees.

If you have paper wasps in your yard, there are a few things you should know:

  • These are the wasps that are most likely to create grey nests on the side of your home and under your roofline.
  • Paper wasps aren't very aggressive when they are away from their nests but become extremely aggressive when their nest is threatened.
  • These are beneficial wasps that are good to have in your yard, as long as there is no nest in your yard. They are known pollinators and they feed on pests that can damage your landscaping and garden plants.

Honey Bees

Identification: These insects are furry looking and have a mix of black, yellow, and orange coloration. It is hard to tell the difference between a honey bee and an Africanized honey bee, especially from a distance. So it is best to stay away from all honey bees.

If you have honey bees in your yard there are a few things you should know:

  • While honey bees lose their stinger when they sting (unlike all of the other insects listed in this article) don't discount them as a threat. When they swarm and attack, there can be hundreds of bees in a swarm.
  • Honey bees are very important for pollination. For this reason, addressing infestations can be tricky.
  • Africanized honey bees commonly establish their hives in the voids of man-made structures.

Carpenter Bees

Identification: These bees look a lot like bumble bees. They're big, furry and a mix of black and yellow coloration. The distinction is that carpenter bees have an abdomen that is entirely black and mostly hairless. Bumble bees have a yellow and black, furry looking abdomen.

If you have carpenter bees in your yard, there are a few things you should know:

  • These are beneficial insects until they start drilling circular-shaped tunnels into the wood of your home.
  • Bumble bees are much better pollinators and they won't destroy your property. If you're seeing carpenter bees, it is important to find out where they're coming from and get rid of them if possible.

Are you seeing stinging insects in your yard? Do you want to know how those insects will impact your health and your property? We can help. The team here at Keller's has the experience and training to identify the pests in your yard and offer the most advanced options for management and control. Reach out to us for immediate assistance.