You want to have a beautiful yard full of flowers and other bright and sweet-smelling plants. However, at the same time, you know that these plants attract a plethora of stinging insects. You may even have a few of them buzzing around your yard at this moment.

 Guide to Stinging Insects

Stinging insects' sound and appearance could alarm anyone. Their buzzing seems menacing, especially when they fly around your head, hands, or food. And their bright yellow and black coloring screams anger and danger. You don't want these insects anywhere near you or your family.

But did you know that some stinging insects actually help your yard? Below, we'll tell you which stingers you should worry about an d which you should welcome. Some pose no threat to you at all, while others will attack after even the slightest disturbance.

To Welcome and Preserve: Bees

Unlike other stinging insects, bees have fairly docile characteristics, so they won't sting you unless you directly attack them. Instead, they'll buzz leisurely around your garden, pollinating your plants and avoiding confrontation as much as possible. After all, most bee spec ies will die if they sting you once, so they have no interest in fighting with you. Bees don't like to scavenge human food either-they prefer what they get off your plants.

In New Jersey, you're more likely see two kinds of bees.



This bee species has a few characteristics and habits that give it away immediately:

  • They have plump, hairy, and mostly yellow, black, and brown striped bodies. They grow between 11 and 15 millimeters long, which makes them smaller than bumblebees.
  • They feed only off of flowers, harvesting pollen and nectar to create honey. They will not pay any attention to the fruits, drinks, or meats on your picnic table.
  • They create large hives in cavities like hollow trees, beekeeper's boxes, etc. The hives can contain tens of thousands of workers.
  • They react docilely even when shoed away. They only sting when smashed or stepped on or when you directly threaten the hive.

Many honeybee species are endangered, and if they go extinct, their absence could have a gigantic effect on the environment. They represent the primary pollinators for many plant species, which would also go extinct without these bees to help them. So if you feel con cerned about honeybees in your yard, have a pest control expert relocate them. Do not destroy them.


These bees have a few features that make them different from honeybees:

  • They grow even bigger, plumper, and fuzzier than their honeybee relatives. They typically have a bright yellow and black color, but some appear orange and red. Some bumblebees can grow over 26 millimeters long. They also differ from honeybees in that clumps of p ollen stick to their legs.
  • Bumblebees also only feed on pollen and nectar. They will not bother your outdoor gatherings.
  • They also like to build their hives in cavities. However, they have smaller hives that range from 50 to a few hundred members. They also build their hives underground in some cases.
  • These bees tend to sting more often than honeybees because their stingers don't snag and rip out. That being said, they will never deliberately sting you unless you threaten their hive.

Bumblebees also do less harm than good in your garden, so you should leave them alone if possible. But again, if they make you fee l nervous, have pest control move them instead of kill them.

To Eradicate and Ward Off: Wasps, Yellow Jackets, and Hornets

While bees can happily coexist with humans, other stinging insects cannot. If you move the wrong way or accidentally hit them while walking, they will come after you, and they do pose a threat to you and your family members. These insects include wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets. We'll tell you how to identify them below.


Wasps look completely distinct from bees, so you shouldn't confuse the two. However, you can tell them apart from yellow jackets and hornets using the following:

  • They have two pairs of wings, a pinched waist, and a slim, hairless body. They come in a range of colors, including the token black and yellow, but they don't often have distinct stripes, and they also come in black, green, and blue. Their size varies greatly as well.
  • They have a more carnivorous diet, though some eat flowers. They feed on other insects, including caterpillars and spiders. They won't usually bother your outdoor parties.
  • Some live alone in the grass, while others build hives in the thousands.
  • They are aggressive, so they will sting you multiple times if threatened. However, they don't react as explosively as yellow jackets or hornets.

Yellow Jackets

When you think of an angry stinging insect, you probably picture a yellow jacket. Their characteristics include the following:

  • Yellow jackets have a pinched waist, but they still have a robust body like a bee. They have a striking, bright yellow and black stripe d coloring. They feature elongated wings that stretch along the body's length. They also lack hair.
  • They eat a number of harmful pests, but they also scavenge human foods, especially meats and sugary substances. These are the in sects that irritate you at picnics.
  • They either nest in papery hives in your home's crevices or in underground burrows. Their nests can have thousands of individuals.
  • Yellow jackets are the most aggressive stinging insect on this list, and they will sting you even if only slightly provoked. They will chase you hundreds of yards.


North America has only one real hornet species: the European hornet. It looks and behaves like a yellow jacket, but it typically grow s bigger and has more brownish coloring. It also tends to avoid picnics and other gatherings, but it still reacts almost as aggressively as a yellow jacket when provoked.

If you see any of these three insects in your yard, call your pest control expert. He or she will eradicate them and keep your family safe. 

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