Your Guide to Stinging Insect Nests

stinging insects

Let’s face it, nature can be scary. But sometimes it’s hard to know whether or not our fears are validated, especially when it comes to insects. It can be difficult to discern if that buzzing miniscule monster flying at us is a passive bumble bee or a murder hornet!

Odds are, that’s not a murder hornet divebombing you—but you get the point. It’s important to know which insects around our home sting and which don’t so that we can better protect ourselves. Use this helpful guide to learn more about common stinging insects you may see in or around your home, so you know when to avoid them and call in the professionals. 

Bald-Faced Hornets 

This hornet gets its name from the stark contrast between its white face against its black body. Usually, these bald bad boys are active during the day and live in colonies ranging from 100 to 400 members. Look out for bald-faced hornets in late summer. 

Typically, the bald-faced hornets make nests 3 feet off the ground or higher. You may see them nesting in shrubs, overhangs, houses, sheds, or trees. What sets them apart from other stinging insects is their enclosed grey, paper nests. 

These hornets are very aggressive and will not hesitate to attack when someone or something invades their territory. Similar to yellowjackets, the bald-faced hornet will sting multiple times, using their venom-rich stingers on their prey. Stings will itch, hurt, and swell for about 24 hours. 

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers are wasps that build their nests out of mud, and the United States is home to several different species of these stinging wasps. Unlike other stinging insects, the mud dauber doesn’t live with a colony—they prefer to go it alone. 

The mud daubers’ nest is easy to identify because of the unique mud material it’s made out of. Look out for these nests in sheltered areas like under your porch ceilings and inside your garage. Thankfully, these guys are relatively passive and will only sting you if provoked. 


Where the mud dauber is the loner of the group, the yellowjacket is the life of the party. These highly social insects can live in a group of up to 4,000 workers. They like to feed on proteins and sweets and are usually most active in late summer and early fall. 

Yellowjackets are everywhere. They build their paper carton nests both above and below ground. Look out for them in your attic or a wall void. Underground nests, with their small entrance holes, can be harder to spot. These yellow and black striped pests will fly hundreds of feet away from their nests, making their homes harder to locate. 

Steer clear of any yellowjacket nests you see. They’re territorial by nature and have a smooth stinger that they use to sting prey multiple times when they feel threatened. 

Paper Wasps 

Paper wasps get their name because they construct their nests out of paper-like material. They are also known as “umbrella wasps” because of the distinct shape of their homes. These stinging insects will strike when they feel threatened or disturbed. Paper wasp stings can be extremely painful and cause allergic reactions with the sites of the bites becoming red and swollen. 

Look out for paper wasp nests hanging from outdoor structures or trees. Their nests and brownish color make them distinguishable from yellowjackets, but like the yellowjacket, you’ll want to steer clear. 

Don’t Take the Risk, Call Vulcan Termite Today!

Truth be told, there are dozens of different types of stinging insects that can be around your home—these are just a few. If you see a nest or potential stinging insects flying around your home, call Vulcan Termite today. Why risk painful stings and allergic reactions when you can have a professional handle it for you?