As fall is ushered in by cooler temperatures and shorter days, stinging insects become more of a nuisance around people’s homes and gardens. Bees and wasps spend the spring and summer increasing the size of their nests for their growing populations. As summer progresses into fall, these insects start looking for more sources of food for their increasing colonies, and they turn to man-made sources; including what they can find in trash cans, leftovers on your picnic table and rotting fruits that have fallen from fruit trees and bushes. They especially like sweets and simple carbohydrates, like sodas and juices. Often people mistake yellow jackets for bumble bees and honey bees, and it’s important to be able to tell the difference between these insects, because as fall approaches, yellow jackets and wasps become much more aggressive and can be a danger to you and your family. Honey bees and bumble bees are considered beneficial stinging insects. They spend their summers collecting nectar and spreading pollen from plant to plant, helping to pollinate the flora and fauna we have around us. These insects do sting, but are not considered aggressive until they feel their nests are being threatened. Honey bees will die after they sting, as the stinger is lost in the victim, and the bee cannot survive without it. Bumble bees can sting more than once, but just aren’t as aggressive as some of the other stinging insects. Both honey bees and bumble bees tend to be quite fat, approximately ¾ of an inch to an inch in length, and usually black with bands of yellow or orange. They have little hairs on their bodies that help them spread pollen around the garden. They will nest in places that may seem inconvenient for people- in sidewalks and under porches, in the eaves of your home or even old tires lying out on the lawn. Yellow jackets are a type of wasp that are considered to be annoying stinging insects. They have the ability to sting and are aggressive when they feel there is a threat to their nest. Yellow jackets are considered far more aggressive than most bees, and because they can sting more than once, they can be much more dangerous to humans. They tend to be thinner than bees, approximately ½ an inch to ¾ of an inch long and mostly black with bands of yellow. Yellow jackets tend to have narrow ‘waists’, which can help differentiate them from most bee species, which tend to be fat throughout the abdomen. These stinging insects will build nests inside the insulation in your home, under the eaves or in the bushes around your home. They are also known to find areas on the ground to make their nests- including old mouse burrows and piles of rocks. Because both bees and yellow jackets can sting, they can be harmful to humans, especially if someone has an allergic reaction to the venom in their stings. Every year, over 100 people seek medical treatment for bee and wasp stings. Normally these stinging insects aren’t a problem for humans, but when they start to build their nests in areas where people frequent, and in the fall when yellow jackets tend to spend more time looking for food around our trash cans and picnic tables, they start to become a problem. To keep these stinging insects from bothering you and your family, make sure to keep a tight lid on all outdoor trash cans, and if you’re enjoying a picnic, keep all food under wraps before and after meal time. The biggest key is to avoid these insects, but if they are invading your home and yard, it is best to take steps to eliminate them from your property. Contacting our professionals at Plunkett’s Pest Control is the best way to take care of a stinging insect nest around your home. We have the tools and the knowledge needed to effectively and safely remove the nests without putting you or your family in danger. Contact us today and see what our service teams can do to help eliminate the annoyance of stinging insects from your life.