What are Common Stinging Insects in Texas

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What are stinging insects?

There are many types of stinging insects found living throughout the United States. Stinging insects are beneficial to the environment. Predatory species hunt down and feed on various species of nuisance insects. Many species of bees and other stinging insects are responsible for pollinating a wide variety of plants and crops, playing a huge part in the ecosystem. Bumble bees, carpenter bees, cicada killers, honey bees, paper wasps, yellow jackets, and scorpions are all examples of stinging insects that live in Southeast Texas.

Bumble Bees

Bumble bees are identified by their oval-shaped bodies that are completely fuzzy. Their bodies are black with yellow, orange, or reddish-colored stripes, depending on the specific species.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees are often mistaken for bumble bees. They look similar, but carpenter bees have smooth, shiny, black abdomen.

Cicada Killers

Cicada killers are a large species of wasp. Cicada killers range in color from black to rusty red, and they have yellow and black banding on their abdomen. Their heads are reddish-brown and they have yellowish-tinted wings that are heavily veined.

Honey Bees

Honey bees are light golden brown, have a darker brown banding, and are covered in a layer of fine hair.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps have a pinched waist and long thin legs that dangle below their bodies when flying. Their bodies are black or brown and have yellow or orange markings. Their wings are grayish in color.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets have segmented, hairless bodies, and distinct, thin waists. Their face and head are a blend of black and yellow colors. Their bodies have a well-defined yellow and black striped pattern. When at rest, their wings fold laterally against their bodies.


Scorpions are light brown to brownish-yellow in color, and have dark, lengthwise bands on their bodies. They have distinct, elongated, thin pincers (pedipalps). The pedipalps are what scorpions use to capture and hold onto their prey. At the end of the abdomen is a tail-like structure. It contains venom glands and a sharp, curved stinger at its end.

Are stinging insects dangerous?

Stinging insects are considered dangerous pests. While not all species are aggressive (cicada killers, carpenter bees), some are (yellow jackets, bumble bees), and all contain venom that is strong enough to cause serious health problems in people. Their venom can trigger allergic reactions in many people, and may even cause anaphylaxis. The bark scorpion is the only species of scorpion living in the United States whose venom is strong enough to cause health concerns for people.

Why do I have a stinging insect problem?

Stinging insects are attracted to properties that offer them what they need to thrive. Stinging insects, depending on their exact species, feed on insects, proteins, nectar, sweets, and honeydew. Properties that have open garbage cans, compost piles, gardens, woodpiles, trees, flowering vegetation, clogged gutters, birdbaths, or ponds are attractive to stinging insects.

Where will I find stinging insects?

Stinging insects build their nests in a variety of locations. Some species are ground nesters, some are aerial nesters, and others nest either on the ground or up off the ground.

  • Bumble bees are usually ground nesters, creating their nests under piles of organic debris, under wood piles, or in the spaces found behind the siding of homes and other buildings.

  • Yellow jackets are ground nesters, too, though some will build above-the-ground nests on houses and buildings, or in bushes and trees with low-hanging limbs.

  • Paper wasps are semi-social and are often identified by their umbrella-shaped nests. These are aerial nests that hang off of trees, shrub branches, porch ceilings, and door frames.

  • Carpenter bees are solitary. Females create their nests inside older or untreated pieces of wood. They are commonly found nesting in wooden decks, fence rails, wooden trim, wooden furniture, overhangs, and window sills.

  • Cicada killers are solitary. Females create underground burrows to lay their eggs in. Cicada killers prefer to make their nests in lawns and sandy areas.

  • Honey bees typically build their nests in tree crevices but do find their way into homes and other buildings, and nest in attics or chimneys.

  • Scorpions create burrows in cool, moist soil underneath rocks, logs, fallen trees, in trees, behind tree bark, in wood piles, and piles of organic debris. If the weather outside becomes too hot and dry, they will move inside homes and other buildings.

How do I get rid of stinging insects?

To find, accurately identify, and eliminate the stinging insects that are living and nesting on your property or in your home, contact a professional pest control expert. At Bill Clark Pest Control, our highly trained 'Bugsperts' receive continuous education, and are up-to-date with the latest information and industry trends. To safely eliminate stinging insects, our professionals provide thorough inspections and treatment through our residential pest control programs. For exceptional stinging insect control in Southeast Texas, reach out to Bill Clark Pest Control.

How can I prevent stinging insects in the future?

To stop stinging insects from choosing your home and property to nest and live on, our 'Bugsperts' offer the following prevention tips:

  • Caulk any holes found in the foundation and exterior walls of your home.

  • Place tight-fitting caps on all chimneys.

  • Remove water sources from your property.

  • All outdoor trash cans should have tight-fitting lids on them.

  • Clean up all leftover food and drinks after eating outside.

  • Get rid of old trees and tree stumps around your property.

  • Trim tree branches away from the exterior of your home.

  • Remove piles of debris from your property.

  • Plant flowers and flowering vegetation on your property a distance away from your home.

  • Put into place a residential pest control program from Bill Clark Pest Control.

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