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Stinging Insects

The Treasure Valley  is home to many types of stinging insects.  Paper Wasps, Yellow Jackets, Hornets, & Bees are very common.  Some ideas to avoid problems with them are:

  • Keep all vegetation well trimmed and at least 1 foot away from the home.  Lawns should be cut to a proper height, and cut regularly.
  • Clear out debris from around the home:  Woodpiles, construction materials, should be as far from the home as possible
  • Fill up old burrows, get rid of hollow logs, etc. to prevent possible nesting locations for Yellow Jackets or Hornets.
  • Maintain proper sanitary conditions in and around the home
  • Standing water in the lawn and landscape should be avoided
  • Avoid cedar fencing if possible
  • Avoid Maple, Box Elder, & Weeping Willow trees


Paper wasps, which range in size from ¾ to 1 inch long, are usually identifiable by the black and yellow coloration of their bodies. Another notable feature of these wasps is the type of nests they make: a paper mache like material from which their name was derived.    The upside down umbrella-like nests are often made in places protected from the weather, such as eaves and gables, around fencing, decks, and other places near humans.  Paper wasps feed on caterpillars, other insects, and nectar.  These pests are territorial, and will defend their nest if attacked or otherwise disturbed.  The lance-like stinger allows the paper wasp to sting repeatedly; the sting is painful and potentially injurious.


Yellow Jackets & Hornets are roughly 1/2 inch long, and are typically yellow and black.  They can nest underground, in crawl spaces, attics, ducting, wall voids, sprinkler boxes, or in trees or shrubs.  Nests are made of a paper mache like material, that look like an upside down soccer ball or inverted teardrops.  Colonies are much larger; sometimes exceeding several hundred.  They feed on insects and sugars, and are prolific scavengers.  Both Yellow jackets and Hornets can sting repeatedly; the sting is painful and potentially dangerous.


Honey bees adults are roughly 5/8 inches long and can be many different variations of color; black, yellow, black, or even orange.  Honey Bees are considered beneficial insects as they pollinate crops and produce honey.  However, problems with humans occur when nesting sites encroach on human habitations:  In chimneys, in wall voids, attic vents, in siding, etc.  Honey bees left alone are not likely to sting humans, but care should be taken as stings can be painful and severe reactions can take place.