Bees and Wasps

No insect can clear people from a picnic table on a sunny day like a . Bees and wasps nest and forage naturally around us, so understanding them is helps minimize the risk of being stung.

Related Species

  • Native bees are important pollinators.
  • Ants can also sting. 

Should I Worry About Stinging Bees and Wasps?

Bees and wasps are a part of life. Some can cause trouble but most are harmless and beneficial, whether as pollinators or as predators of caterpillars and other potentially damaging insects.

Colony-building bees and wasps

When colony-building bees and wasps create nests close to where we live, work, and play we often need to manage them. These species are most likely to sting, which can cause life-threatening reactions in people (and sometimes pets) with allergies.

  • Yellowjackets and paper wasps that build nests on houses and other buildings may become a stinging hazard to people.
  • Yellowjackets and honey bees will build nests inside buildings when they have access. This can cause a big mess from honey and wax or dead larvae that attract and breed beetles and other pests.
  • Carpenter bees will damage exposed boards of solid wood by excavating tunnels along the wood grain. This damage is often hidden until it is severe.

How do I manage bees and Wasps?

Each species of stinging bees and wasps is different and requires a different approach.

  • A pest management professional should be hired for large yellowjacket and hornet nest removal, but small nests can be safely knocked down early in the season with a long pole or jet of water.
  • A beekeeper can be called for a swarm or colony of honey bees in an accessible spot.
  • There are a variety of techniques for carpenter bee prevention and management.

The first step is to properly identify the bee or wasp to determine the IPM strategies use.

Related Links

Identification Services (pdf)

Fact Sheets