What types of pests are included in the stinging insect category?

Several pests are included in this category. The most well known are bees, wasps and hornets. Some species of ants, such as fire ants, are included in this category as well.

Are stinging insects considered public health threats?

Stinging insects send half a million people to the emergency room each year. Although they are not labeled as public health threats, like mosquitoes that spread West Nile Virus, they are certainly dangerous. Homeowners who suspect a stinging insect infestation should not attempt to control the infestation by themselves.

What time of year are stinging insects at their peak?

Stinging insects are at their peak during the warmer summer months.

Why shouldn't homeowners try to control stinging insects without the help of a trained professional?

Many types of stinging insects, such as yellow jackets, are social insects. They will sting to protect themselves and members of their colony. The insects give off pheromones, which cause other members of the colony to react as well. The chaotic reaction is too dangerous for a homeowner to address alone.

What will a professional do to control stinging insects?

The first step in controlling any pest is to identify it correctly. There are many kinds of beneficial flies that closely resemble wasps, and there are many kinds of "solitary" wasps, such as sand wasps, which also look exactly the same as yellow jackets, but pose a lower hazard. After the type of pest is identified there are a variety of control methods that a professional could take. Many pest control professionals practice a new technique called integrated pest management, or IPM. This technique involves removing the pest's food, water and shelter. In the case of stinging insects, this could involve cleaning up your yard and sanitizing outdoor areas. The professional will use appropriate steps and techniques to address the particular type of infestation. Vacuuming is a new technique in stinging insect control.

Can stinging insects also be a property threat?

Certain species of stinging insects can pose a large property threat. Carpenter bees are wood-destroying insects that can cause serious structural damage if not caught in time and properly controlled.

What can a homeowner do to avoid an unwanted encounter with a stinging insect?

Homeowners can take a clue from the professionals and practice integrated pest management to avoid stinging insects and other types of pests. Again, it is important to consult a pest management professional to address an infestation correctly.

What are some tips to deal with stinging instects?

Be aware of stinging insect nesting areas, and use extreme caution when around them. Stinging insects can build their nests in attics, crawlspaces, building corners, under gutters, and under patios or decks. Seal exterior cracks and crevices to prevent insects from entering a structure and building nests. Stinging insects are attracted to open garbage cans and exposed food. Cover all food when outdoors. Be sure to keep tight fitting lids on garbage cans and empty them regularly. When spending time outdoors, avoid excessive use of fragrances, which can attract stinging insects. If you have an allergic reaction to an insect sting, seek medical attention immediately.

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