Stinging Insects in California: Which Ones Should You Be Aware Of?

As anyone who lives here knows, California has its fair share of stinging insects. Unfortunately, our famously beautiful weather is attractive to insects and people alike. We have many different varieties of bees, wasps, hornets, ants, and other stinging insects–about 75 in all. O’Connor Pest Control has been in business since 1952, so we’re very familiar with the types of stinging insects you might encounter.

Stinging insect control takes special skill, and you shouldn’t attempt it yourself. If you threaten their hive, both bees and wasps can attack in a swarm, meaning you could be a dangerous (and painful!) number of stings. To remove them safely and effectively, you may need professional assistance. Our exterminators are fully trained to take care of your pest control issues.

Common Stinging Insects in California

Some of the most common stinging insects in California include:

  • Bald-Faced Hornets: They are black with a white head, and they can be especially aggressive.
  • Bumblebees: Large, slow bees with fuzzy yellow and black bodies. They’re usually pretty docile.
  • Carpenter Bees: Sometimes confused for bumblebees, but they are bigger and chew wood.
  • Mud Daubers: Known for their nests built from mud. They have thin waists and aren’t usually aggressive.
  • Paper Wasps: Recognizable because their legs hang when they’re in flight. Paper wasps can be very aggressive.
  • Yellow Jackets: Bright yellow and black striped, and they’re known to be very aggressive, more so in late summer and fall.
  • Honey Bees: Fuzzy with amber and brown stripes. They’re often confused with yellowjackets, but the yellowjackets are brighter and aren’t fuzzy. Honeybees are endangered and important for pollinating plants, but you still don’t want them in your home.

The Difference in Honeybee Origins

America’s honeybees were brought here from Europe and Africa over the years. The bees from Europe adapted to our milder climate, while the African bees only live in the warmer regions of the country. Much has been made about the dangers of African bees. While their stings are no different from “regular” honeybees (those from Europe that we’re more familiar with), the African bees do tend to be more aggressive. They are more easily provoked into attacking with a larger number of bees, which does make them more dangerous.

Both African and European honeybees can create a swarm. If the colony becomes too crowded, half of the bees will leave their queen to start a new colony. A swarm might contain 5 to 10 thousand bees; if you see an enormous clump of bees in a tree, fence post, rafter, etc., this is probably a swarm. They’re rarely dangerous because they’re in the process of finding a new home and don’t have a nest to defend. If you disturb the swarm, they typically just move to another area. Once they find the right location, they quickly start building a nest with beeswax combs.

Professional Stinging Insect Control 

O’Connor Pest Control has more than 60 years’ experience with locating hives and removing them safely. Our training, equipment, and techniques enable us to protect pollinators by being environmentally friendly to other bee species in the area.

We also help prevent future problems with stinging insects, identifying areas where they can easily enter your home and recommending
For any of your wasp control California and bee control California needs, contact O’Connor Pest Control today for your free estimate.