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Stinging Insect Nests

It wouldn’t be summer without a few buzzing bugs. Wasps, which include yellow jackets, hornets, and mud daubers, love summer as much as you do. While the occasional bug isn’t a problem, those that have built a nest near your home are more concerning, especially if they can sting. Check out our guide to stinging insect nests so that you can protect your yard and home from these pests.  

Stinging Insect Nests Infographic

Paper Wasps

Paper Wasp Nest

Paper wasps are brown with yellow or red markings. These wasps grow between 5/8ʺ-3/4ʺ in length. This insect’s name can help you identify its nest.

What Do Paper Wasp Nests Look Like?

Paper wasps construct nests using plant material. This gives the nest a paper-like appearance. These nests are composed of hexagonal cells. Nests can be gray or brown and are shaped like an inverted umbrella.

Where Do Paper Wasps Build Nests?

These pests typically hang their nests on the branches of trees or in shrubs. They will also build them in homes if they can’t find shelter outside. Paper wasp nests are often found in attics, door frames, wall voids, and window sills.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jacket nest

Another wasp to look out for is the yellow jacket. As their name suggests, yellow jackets are yellow with black markings. They grow up to 5/8ʺ in length.

What Do Yellow Jacket Nests Look Like?

Like paper wasps, yellow jacket nests have a paper-like appearance. Yellow jackets continue to expand their nest to fit the colony, which can contain thousands of members.

Where Do Yellow Jackets Build Nests?

Yellow jacket nests can be difficult to spot because they typically build nests underground. They can be found under steps, at the base of trees, or in sidewalk cracks. A round hole marks the entrance to the nest and leads to the cells. Sometimes these insects will hide their nests in bushes.


Hornet nest

Two stinging insects you’ll want to watch out for are the bald-faced and European hornet. Bald-faced hornets are black with a white face. European hornets have a brown body, pale face, and yellow stripes on their abdomen.

What Do Hornet Nests Look Like?

These stinging insects use wood pulp to construct their gray nests. They have hexagonal cells and one entry point. Hornet nests often resemble a teardrop in shape.

Where Do Hornets Build Nests?

They are typically placed in shaded and sheltered locations. Bald-faced hornets place their nests at least 3 feet above the ground in trees, bushes, and roofs. European hornets often build nests in trees, attics, or wall voids.

Mud Daubers

Mud dauber nest

Mud daubers have a black body and grow between ½ʺ-1ʺ. Some have a metallic appearance, and others have yellow markings.

What Do Mud Dauber Nests Look Like?

Unlike other wasps, this insect builds its nest with mud. The nests have cylinder-shaped tubes and vary in shape depending on the species. Potter wasps have nests that resemble a small pot. Organ pipe mud daubers construct a line of long tubes similar to those found on pipe organs.

Where Do Mud Daubers Build Nests?

Mud daubers prefer their nests to be placed in sheltered areas including attics, sheds, and porch ceilings. Holes in the nest usually indicate that the nest has been abandoned.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bee nest

While carpenter bees aren’t wasps, you’ll still want to be able to identify them. Carpenter bees range in size from 3/8ʺ-1ʺ. They have a black body with yellow markings on their face. Their abdomen lacks hair, but they do have some on their thorax.

What Do Carpenter Bee Nests Look Like?

Carpenter bees are known to cause more damage than your average bumblebee. Unlike other stinging insects, these bees don’t build nests. Instead, they burrow into wood and form tunnels. The entry point is a round hole that’s less than ½ʺ in diameter.

Where Do Carpenter Bees Build Nests?

These bees prefer unfinished or unpainted wood and often burrow into trees, decks, or the siding of homes. This can lead to structural damage. Carpenter bees will move into abandoned nests and expand them. They will also create new nests that can grow up to 6ʺ.

How to Get Rid of Stinging Insect Nests

Wasp & Hornet Killer

Stinging insects hanging around your home is likely to give you a scare. These insects can leave you with a painful sting if they feel threatened, so it’s important to be careful when dealing with a nest. Check out a few tips to help you get rid of stinging insects and their nests.

  • Use a Plant-Based Insecticide Spray: Our plant-based Wasp & Hornet Killer is a foaming jet spray that can reach up to 18 feet. It kills stinging insects on contact, provides residual repellency, and allows you to treat the nest at a safe distance.
  • Coat the Nest: You’ll want to spray the entry point before coating the entire nest. Then, you can spray any stinging insects near the nest.
  • Spray at the Right Time: Apply treatment when insects aren’t active. Hornet and yellow jacket nests should be sprayed at dusk or dawn, while paper wasp nests can be treated during the day or at night.
  • Cover Up: Wearing long sleeves, pants, and a thicker fabric can help prevent stings. You can also wear gloves. If you are allergic to their stings, it may be best to call a pest management professional.
You don’t have to stay inside all summer to avoid running into a stinging insect. It’s important to check your yard and home for nests, so that you can be proactive. Remember to be careful when dealing with stinging insects. If bugs are giving you a fit, we have your back! Check out our Maggie’s Farm Simply Effective™ Pest Control products.

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