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Did you know there are over 200 types of bumblebee in the world, and that more than fifty percent can be found in North America? These tiny stinging insects feed primarily on the pollen and nectar of flowers. They range in size from 0.75 to 1.5 inches and live in large colonies found most often underground in rodent holes, beneath sheds or in compost heaps. Bumble Bee nests aren’t very common. If you find a nest, it’s best to leave it alone and avoid disturbing it. These bees are generally not aggressive but will attack if their nest is threatened.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are much larger than their fuzzy cousins the bumblebees, ranging in size from 0.5 to 1 inch. They can be identified by their shiny abdomen and yellow thorax. The carpenter bee can often times be linked to property damage, as they are capable of tearing into wood in order to build their nests. Nests are most commonly found under decks, sills or other types of untreated wood.  If you encounter a nest, its best to consult the professionals as these bees can be quite territorial.

Honey Bees

Honey bees not only produce honey (as their name would suggest), but more importantly, these little creatures play a critical role in our existence by pollinating the plants and flowers necessary to produce much of the food we eat.  Honey bees are small, ranging in size from 0.5 to 0.75 of an inch and typically only sting when interfered with. These bees should not be harmed unless they pose an immediate threat or safety concern. Nests are commonly found on the ground beneath a flat object, or in an old mouse hole close to dry vegetation like grass or moss. Should you need to have a colony removed, be sure the pest control company you contact practices responsible removal and only exterminates as last resort.


Wasps come in different varieties, but paper wasps are a common find. Paper wasps are typically 1 inch in length and appear black and brown in color with black wings and yellow markings — very similar in appearance to a yellow jacket. They will build their nests under eaves or in outdoor lighting and are aggressive, but they will only sting if they feel threatened. They can be beneficial insects, but their stings can pose a health threat to humans. More info on bee stings below.


Be cautious if there are hornets around, but don’t be too quick to get rid of these insects — they are considered beneficial, as they help with pollination and get rid of other harmful insects. The bald-faced hornet workers are typically about 0.75 inches long and black in color with a white face. You’ll likely see them building their nests in trees or chimneys.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are a bit smaller at about half an inch long. The black insects with yellow markings will build their nests in the ground or in trees. While yellow jackets are considered beneficial insects, as they’re at work getting rid of other insect species, they pose a threat if their nests are causing damage to a structure. Call the professionals if you think the insects are damaging your property.

What to Do if Stung?

If a sting occurs, try to remove the stinger and apply a cold compress to the affected area. Some people experience mild to severe allergic reactions to bee stings. If this happens to you or a loved one while outdoors, seek immediate medical attention. While these buzzing insects may occasionally sting, they provide many ecological benefits. If they do get out of control or pose a threat to you and your family, it’s important to call the professionals. At Plunkett’s Pest Control, we have over 100 years of experience helping family’s control pests and determining the best course of action. Our family-owned business is committed to the highest level of service and integrity.

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