Hornets and Bees and Wasps, Oh My!


It’s that time of year – people will be spending a lot of time outside. BBQ’s, parties, the park and zoo, bike riding, walking, the beach – you name it. All of this time spent participating in outdoor activities puts us at risk of coming in contact with the dreaded STINGING INSECT! Da Da Dun!!!

For us in the NW Indiana and Chicago area, our most common stinging insects will include three main types, bees, wasps and hornets. There are subcategories to each of these but we are going to talk about them in a mostly general sense. Here we go! 


There are several types of bees that we could encounter in our area. Bumble Bees, Carpenter Bees, Honey Bees and the list goes on. Male carpenter bees don’t have a stinger, therefore they are harmless, although they will act very aggressive. The other types of bees can and will sting, but are not overly aggressive and will usually only attack when threatened. For more information on Carpenter Bees check out this blog.


Hornet.jpgHornet Hornet

There is one main type of hornet that we have here in this area and that is the European Hornet. Hornets are large, about an inch and a half long, and are yellow and brown in color. Hornets are pretty aggressive and their sting packs quite a punch. A hornet’s nest is usually high off the ground. It may be hanging from a tree or from the eaves of a house and they are approximately the size of a football. 


There are many types of wasps. Cicada Killers, Yellow Jackets and Paper Wasps are just a few that we come across in this area. 

Cicada+Killer+With+Cicada.jpgCicada+Killer+With+Cicada Cicada Killer With Cicada

  • Cicada Killers are large and somewhat intimidating looking. They are digger wasps and live a solitary life. The females use their stingers to subdue their prey rather than protect their nest. They will not attempt to sting unless handled very roughly or if you step on them. The males are harmless as they cannot sting. Although their size may seem scary, they are generally non-aggressive towards humans and will fly away when swatted at.   
  • Paper Wasps will generally only attack if they or their nests are threatened. They are identifiable by the nests they build, which have open combs with cells for breeding. Paper Wasps will feed on nectar and other insects and are often considered to be beneficial by gardeners. 
  • Yellow Jackets have lance like stingers with small barbs and are capable of stinging over and over. Yellow Jackets are social hunters and live in colonies. They feed mostly on sugars and carbs, such as fruit, nectar and tree sap but will also scavenge in human garbage.

Paper+Wasp+Nest.jpgPaper+Wasp+Nest Paper Wasp Nest

While you are outside this summer, be aware of your surroundings and stay away from the nests of stinging insects. If you do encounter a stinging insect, keep calm. As I said, many of these insects are not aggressive and will leave you alone. If you realize that you have some unwanted visitors nesting around your home or in your trees, give Rapid Pest Solutions a call. We can take care of these nests for you so that you may enjoy your time outside, all season long!