same-day serviceBees, Wasps & Hornets



Vespula spp.

There are several species of yellowjackets. These flying insects typically have a yellow and black head/face and patterned abdomen. Many say, the pattern resembles stripes. The abdomen pattern can help an entomologist or pest professional identify specific types of yellowjackets.

Yellowjackets nest in the ground or in cavernous areas such as eaves, attics, etc.... They feed on sweets and proteins and commonly invade outdoor activities. Yellowjackets can be found any place humans can be found. Check near recycling bins or other areas where sugars are common but keep in mind these pests also feed on protein.

"Yellowjacket season" in Ohio begins in May and lasts into November. They pose significant health threats to humans as they may sting repeatedly and can cause allergic reactions. Stinging insects send over 500,000 people to the emergency room each year.

If a Yellowjacket is harassing you, it is important to avoid fast movements that will incite a sting. Wasp venoms have an "alarm pheremone", so it is very important to avoid stings, as one sting could incite a frenzied attack from any other yellow jackets in the area. For the same reason, one should never crush a yellowjacket, as the pheremone is released from their bodies when crushed.

Remain vigilant and call a pest professional if you suspect yellowjacket activity. Control requires specialized equipment and safety precautions. Do not leave sweet drinks or meats in accessible areas. For example, clean up and remove food and trash after picnics and outdoor events.

Bald-faced Hornets

Dolichovespula maculata

This atypically large black-and-white relative of the yellow jacket gets its common name from its largely black color but mostly white face.

photo: PiccoloNamek - GFDL

Bald-faced hornets live in colonies that may contain between 100-400 members at their peak. They usually appear in late summer.

Bald-faced hornets build paper nests at least three or more feet off of the ground, usually in trees, shrubs, on overhangs, utility poles, houses, sheds or other structures. They are found throughout the United States, Canada and north into Alaska.

Bald-faced hornets are aggressive and will attack anyone or anything that invades their space. They have smooth stingers, so they can sting over and over again. Their stings also carry venom that makes the stings hurt, itch, or swell for about 24 hours. Humans are at the same risk of allergic reactions from a Bald-faced hornet stings as with other insect stings.

If you find a Bald-faced hornet nest on your home or property, do not attempt to remove it on your own as this can aggravate the colony and cause them to attack. Contact a licensed pest management professional to remove the nest.

Paper Wasps

Polistes spp.

Found throughout the United States, Paper Wasps are brownish with yellow markings; a few species with reddish markings. Paper wasps get their common name from the paper-like material out of which they make their nests. Paper wasps are sometimes called umbrella wasps, after the shape of their distinctive nests.

Paper wasps hang their comb nests from twigs and branches of trees and shrubs, porch ceilings, the tops of window and doorframes, soffits, eaves, attic rafters, deck floor joists and railings, etc. In the autumn, inseminated females will seek places to spend the winter, and may find their way indoors, especially if there is a cathedral ceiling present.

Paper wasps are not an aggressive species by nature, but will sting if they are disturbed or their nest is threatened. Their sting is painful and has the same risk of allergic reaction as with other stinging insects.

If you suspect you have a paper wasp infestation or find a nest on your home or property, contact a licensed pest management professional. Do not attempt to remove a nest on your own, as there is a high probability you will get stung.


Apis nekkufera Linnaeus

Found throughout U.S., Honeybees are 1/2" and are predominantly a golden-yellow color, with brown bands. They are an extremely important beneficial insect because of their role in pollination. Honey bees pollinate more than 100 crops in the U.S. The honeybee is the only social insect whose colony can survive many years.

Honeybees produce honey and store it in honeycombs in their nests. They often build their nests in tree crevices, but will occasionally build nests in attics or chimneys.

Honeybees do sting, but they only sting once. The sting can be extremely painful if the stinger is not immediately removed from the sting. Persons allergic to insect stings will have a more severe reaction.

Honeybees should be addressed by a professional. Removal of a honeybee nest and the honey product can be very messy. Because honeybee colonies are so large, only a pest control professional or experienced beekeeper can safely remove a honeybee nest.

Bumble Bees

Subfamily bombinae; bombus species

Found throughout the U.S., Bumble Bees are black and yellow striped, and are about 1 inch long. They are beneficial insects because they pollinate crops and plants.

Bumble bees often nest in the ground, but can be found above ground around patio areas or decks. They will sometimes build their ness in soffits of attics.

Bumble Bees defend their nests aggressively. The Bumble Bees in a disturbed nest will buzz in a loud volume. As part of their aggressive defense of their nests, bumble bees will chase nest invaders for a considerable distance. The bumble bee sting is one of the most painful. Unlike honey bees, bumble bees can sting more than once.

Bumble bees can be prevented through inspection of potential nesting areas and removal of potential harborage materials. Because bumble bees will sting when threatened, homeowners are advised not to address the infestation themselves.

This page is intended as a quick reference. Pest experts should be contacted for case-by-case evaluation if you believe that you have a pest problem that requires professional assistance.

Some information found in this overview has been compiled from household pest information sheets published by the Ohio State University Extension Office: HYG-2099-97, and by the Penn State University Extension Office. This information is included on this web site strictly to help in the identification of various pests, and no profit is directly derived there from.

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