Stinging Insects


Stinging Insects In NJ

Stinging insects such as wasps, hornets, yellowjackets, cicada killers, and bees can be very dangerous to those who are allergic besides the painful sting.


Stinging insects are a common concern in NJ, and it is important to understand the dangers they pose. This page provides an overview of the different types of stinging insects found in NJ and the precautions one should take to stay safe.

Types of Stinging Insects in NJ


Wasps are flying insects with slender bodies and a narrow waist. They are known for their aggressive behavior and painful stings. Common species found in NJ include paper wasps, yellowjackets, and mud daubers. Wasps typically build their nests in protected areas such as eaves, attics, and trees.


Hornets are larger than wasps and have a more potent sting. The most common hornet species found in NJ is the bald-faced hornet. They build large, paper-like nests in trees, shrubs, and on buildings.


Yellowjackets are small, aggressive wasps with yellow and black markings. They are known for their painful stings and are often found near human habitation. Yellowjackets build nests in the ground, wall voids, and other hidden areas.

Cicada Killers

Cicada killers are large wasps that prey on cicadas. They are not typically aggressive towards humans unless provoked. Cicada killers dig burrows in sandy soil and are often found near trees.


Bees are important pollinators, but some species can sting when threatened. Common bee species found in NJ include honeybees, bumblebees, and carpenter bees. Bees build their nests in various locations, such as trees, walls, and underground.

Dangers of Stinging Insects

Allergic Reactions

For individuals who are allergic to stinging insect venom, a sting can lead to severe allergic reactions. Symptoms may include difficulty breathing, swelling, hives, and in extreme cases, anaphylaxis. It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention if an allergic reaction occurs.

Pain and Discomfort from Stings

Even for those who are not allergic, stings from stinging insects can be extremely painful and cause discomfort. Immediate effects include redness, swelling, and itching. In some cases, stings can lead to infections or long-term complications.

Prevention and Control

Identifying Nests and Hives

It is important to be able to identify stinging insect nests and hives to avoid accidental encounters. Nests can be found in various locations, such as trees, bushes, eaves, and underground. If you spot a nest, it is best to keep a safe distance and seek professional help if necessary.

Avoiding Attracting Stinging Insects

To minimize the presence of stinging insects around your property, it is important to eliminate factors that attract them. This includes keeping food and garbage properly sealed, maintaining clean outdoor spaces, and avoiding wearing bright-colored clothing or strong perfumes.

Protective Clothing and Gear

When spending time outdoors, especially in areas known to have stinging insects, it is advisable to wear protective clothing such as long sleeves, pants, and closed-toe shoes. Additionally, using insect repellents can provide an extra layer of protection.

Professional Pest Control Services

If you are dealing with a significant stinging insect problem or have concerns about nests near your property, it is best to seek professional pest control services. Trained technicians can safely remove nests and implement effective control measures to prevent future infestations.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can stinging insects cause serious health problems?

Yes, for individuals who are allergic, stinging insects can cause severe allergic reactions that require immediate medical attention.

How can I differentiate between different types of stinging insects?

Each type of stinging insect has distinct characteristics. Wasps have slender bodies and a narrow waist, while hornets are larger and have a more potent sting. Yellowjackets are small with yellow and black markings, and bees are typically hairy and important pollinators.

What should I do if I encounter a stinging insect nest?

If you come across a stinging insect nest, it is best to keep a safe distance and avoid disturbing it. Contact a professional pest control service to safely remove the nest.

Are all stinging insects aggressive?

While stinging insects can be aggressive when they feel threatened, not all species are naturally aggressive towards humans. However, it is best to exercise caution and avoid provoking them.

How can I protect myself from stings?

Wearing protective clothing, using insect repellents, and avoiding sudden movements near stinging insects can help minimize the risk of getting stung.

Can stinging insects damage my property?

Yes, stinging insects can cause damage to property, especially if they build nests in or around structures. They can also be a nuisance in outdoor areas, making it uncomfortable to enjoy your yard.

When is the best time to seek professional pest control services?

If you are dealing with a significant stinging insect problem, have concerns about nests near your property, or have allergies to stings, it is best to seek professional pest control services as soon as possible.