You love spending time outdoors, whether you’re working in the garden, playing with your kids in the backyard, or going for a hike in the woods. However, North Carolina is home to several stinging insects that you need to watch out for. Our pest control company in Raleigh is sharing the four worst ones and how to avoid them and their painful stings.

4 Stinging Insects in NC

While there are several types of bees, wasps, and other stinging insects, most, like honey bees and carpenter bees are not aggressive and are easy to avoid. We wanted to focus on the four most dangerous insects so you know how to steer clear of them.

Fire Ants

While most people think of fire ants as “biting” insects, they actually sting, using their jaws to bite down to stay in place while venomous stingers on their abdomen penetrate their victims. Fire ants are a serious concern for North Carolina residents as they can rapidly build large colonies in your yard that often go unnoticed until you inadvertently step on them. When they are threatened or the mound is disturbed, swarms of red ants will turn aggressive and attack, stinging whomever they see as a threat and leaving painful, blister-like marks. Children are especially at risk from fire ants and can have allergic reactions to their bites.

stinging insects

Bald Faced Hornets

While these are actually a type of wasp, bald-faced hornets got their name due to their large size and aggressive tendencies while the white patches on their face and bodies give them a bald look. The two main reasons these stinging insects made the list is that 1.) they are aggressive, so even getting too close to a nest without disturbing it may trigger an attack, and 2.) they swarm. If one bald-faced hornet attacks, it’s likely that dozens may follow, aggressively stinging what they deem a threat.

NC Bald Faced Hornets

European Hornet

European hornets are the largest stinging insect in North Carolina. They have wide brown, and yellow bodies that measure up to 1.5 inches in length so you’ll definitely see one coming. Like other wasps and hornets, they have smooth stingers and are capable of stinging multiple times. However, what makes them a threat is they are active at night and tend to swarm porch lights and windows, making evening outdoor gatherings possibly dangerous if a nest is nearby.

European hornets - largest stinging insect in North Carolina

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are very noticeable and probably the most widely recognizable stinging insect in NC due to their distinctive yellow and black markings. Yellow jackets made this list for three reasons:

  1. They nest on the ground and can often go undetected until it’s too late. Mowing the grass, weed-eating, and simply walking near the nest can lead to an attack.
  2. They are highly aggressive and, like bald-faced hornets, when one attacks, more often follow.
  3. They forage and will swarm around trash cans, food, and soda cans. Many people have experienced stings in and around their mouth after unknowingly drinking from a cup or a can of pop where a yellow jacket landed.
Yellow jackets - recognizable stinging insect

What to Do When Stung By an Insect

If you or someone nearby was attacked by a stinging insect, here are the steps to take:

  • Monitor for signs of anaphylactic shock, including difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, dizziness, and nausea.
  • Clean the area using mild soap and water.
  • If a stinger is present, such as with honey bees, wipe clean gauze over the area or scrape the stinger out using the clean edge of a credit card. Don’t try to squeeze or use tweezers to remove the stinger.
  • Apply ice to minimize swelling.
  • Avoid scratching as that can lead to infection.

If there are concerns of a severe reaction, call 911 immediately or seek medical attention.

Call Our Pest Control Company in Raleigh to Prevent Stinging Insects

The best way to avoid painful stings is to prevent bees, wasps, and fire ants from taking up residence on your property. Our pest control company provides regular preventative services to protect your property as well as extermination that rids any existing pests. To learn more or to schedule service, reach out to us today at (919) 231-3292 or fill out the form below to get started.