If you haven’t already, soon you will notice buzzing insects flying around you when you step outside. Feeling scared or panicked is normal because it can be difficult to tell if the insect is harmless, like a sweat bee, or dangerous, like a yellowjacket.

Stinging insects in Southern Indiana can be difficult to tell apart, especially when they are flying right at you while you are running away. Even the hives and nests they live in can be challenging to tell apart.

In this blog, we’ll provide a detailed guide to help you identify the most common types of stinging insects in Evansville and the surrounding areas. Knowing how to identify stinging insects is vital so that you can respond appropriately if someone gets stung. Keep reading to learn more!


Honey Bees

Description: Honey bees are light brown insects that are about 15 mm long. They have an oval shape with golden colors and brown bands. Even though the body color of honey bees may vary among species, they usually have dark-to-light stripes on their bodies.

Nest: In their natural habitat, honey bee hives can be found in tree hollows or rock crevices. The hive is built from wax produced by special glands in the bodies of the worker honey bees.

Threat Level: If a honey bee colony is disturbed, worker bees may sting to defend their territory. The bee’s stinger can get stuck in the victim’s skin when they sting, meaning they can only sting once. Some people can have extreme allergic reactions to honey bee stings, causing the immediate need for medical assistance.

If you find a bee colony in your yard, do not try to remove it by yourself. Instead, call T&G Pest Control for help.

Sweat Bees

Description: Sweat bees are about half the size of honey bees and have shiny green bodies that can look metallic. Sometimes they will have red or yellow stripes on their bodies.

Nest: These insects make their homes in two places: underground and in rotting wood. They may live near buildings, sheds, and patios where they can find exposed or damaged wood.

Danger Level: Sweat bees are usually not aggressive, but female sweat bees may sting if provoked or hit. They may also gather in large groups and swarm, which can be problematic. If you find a large group of sweat bees near your home, it’s best to call T&G Pest Control for help.

Large Carpenter Bees

Description: Large carpenter bees are between ½ to 1 inch in size and look similar to bumble bees. However, the top of their abdomen is shiny and doesn’t have hair.

Nest: Large carpenter bees do not live in nests or colonies like other bees. Instead, they make holes in wood and use them to raise their offspring. They prefer larger and harder wood, such as telephone poles, dead logs, and decks found in suburban areas.

Danger Level: Male carpenter bees do not have stingers; female carpenter bees have stingers but hardly use them. Although carpenter bees are less likely to harm humans than other bees, they can be annoying if they bore into wood structures on your property. This can cause significant damage to the wood and even result in severe infestation if they lay eggs inside the tunnels.

Bumble Bees

Description: Bumble bees have a fuzzy appearance. They are black and yellow and range from ¼ to 1 inch.

Nest: Bumble bees build their nests in the ground or in dense grass clumps, as well as around patios and decks. These nests are made out of pollen clumps. Please contact T & G Pest Control if you find a bumblebee nest on or near a structure.

Danger Level: Although they are beneficial pollinators, they are very protective of their territory and will sting if disturbed. Unlike honey bees, bumble bees can sting multiple times as they retain their stinger. So, be careful not to disrupt a bumble bee nest, or you may face their wrath.


Yellow Jackets

Description: Yellow Jackets look like bees because of their yellow and black stripes, but they are a type of wasp. The average Yellow Jacket is 1/2 inch in size, and their bodies are smooth and shiny.

Nest: Yellow Jackets live in nests made from saliva and chewed wood fibers. They have a paper-like consistency and can grow as large as a basketball. These nests are usually located close to the ground, like on roots or logs, or high up in places such as shrubs, trees, or even houses. If their nest is located near your home, please call T & G Pest Control for assistance.

Danger Level: Yellow Jackets are very protective of their territory and can sting easily, even with a slight aggravation. Their stingers are like lances with tiny barbs, which allows them to sting multiple times.

Paper Wasps

Description: Paper Wasps have bodies that are typically brown in color with yellow or red markings. They are approximately ⅝ to ¾ of an inch long.

Nest: Paper Wasps create umbrella-shaped nests with a flaky appearance. You can find these nests hanging from porch ceilings, tree branches, and other covered areas. Several generations of wasps can use one nest.

Danger Level: Paper wasps are usually not aggressive, but you’ll likely get stung if you touch their nest. The queen Paper Wasp lives in the nest and takes care of her eggs there. The nest is very important to the colony, so the wasps will sting to defend it if they feel the nest is threatened.

Cicada Killer Wasps

Description: These insects are big and typically recognized by their large size. They are 1 to 1 ½ inches long, with wings that can reach up to 3 inches wide. They have reddish-black hair covering their bodies and colorful yellow markings along their back.

Nest: Cicada Killer Wasps live underground and dig tunnels in areas with short grass, like playgrounds, parks, and golf courses. They prefer sandy and well-drained soil. Their burrowing activity can cause damage to lawns and gardens.

Danger Level: Cicada Killers are not as mean as other wasps, despite their large size and intimidating name. The female Cicada Killer Wasps are the ones with the stingers. They will only sting if they feel threatened; it can be very painful if they do sting. In some cases, their venom may even cause an allergic reaction in some people.

Bald-Faced Hornets

Description: These insects have distinctive white faces, dark bodies, and black hair. They measure about ½ to ⅝ of an inch long.

Nest: These wasps create their homes in the air using a paper-like material, often in spots like tree branches or under roof hangings. Their nests can grow up to 24 by 14 inches. Unlike other types of wasps, these wasps make new nests every year instead of reusing old ones.

Danger Level: Bald-faced hornets are helpful for controlling pests, but they can be very aggressive and will attack even if they are slightly provoked.

European Hornets

Description: These hornets are quite big, measuring anywhere from ¾ inch to more than 1 inch in length. They have a brown body with yellow stripes and a reddish, pale face.

Nest: Hornets create nests from paper-like material with a protective covering that looks like brown paper. You can usually find their nests in hollow trees, barns, attics, or walls.

Danger Level: Despite their frightening appearance, these hornets are not usually aggressive. They will only sting if they feel threatened. However, they can sting multiple times, and if you get stung, it can be very painful. Not only that, they can also cause damage to your home because they use wood to make their nests.

Southern Indiana Stinging Pest Prevention

There are a few ways you can help prevent the chance of you and your loved ones getting stung this season.

  • Be extra careful during late summer and early fall when stinging insects are busy collecting food to survive the winter.
  • Check your home and buildings for cracks where they can enter or build a nest.
  • Never swat at stinging insects. It will only aggravate them.
  • If you come across a stinging insect, stay calm and move away slowly to give it a chance to fly away.
  • If you accidentally disturb a nearby nest, the insects may become aggressive, so leave the area immediately.
  • Check your property for Southern Indiana stinging insects and contact T & G Pest Control for help if you have identified a nest.

If you accidentally enter the territory of Southern Indiana stinging pests, you could end up with painful stings that turn into welts. To prevent this, it’s best to work with a licensed pest control company, like T & G Pest Control, instead of trying to handle it yourself. Contact our professional team for all of your stinging pest needs!