Wasps & Bees in Florida

Florida Wasps & Bees

Many species of wasps and bees live in Florida, but we will only discuss the few that threaten homes and businesses.

In general, wasps and bees are considered social insects, which means they gather in large numbers and work together. Social bees and wasps are likely to be defensive and sting intruders who get too close to their nests. On the other hand, solitary bees and wasps are less likely to sting because they don’t feel the need to protect colonies.

Many stinging insects are beneficial because they consume pest insects that attack valuable agricultural and ornamental plants. However, when bees and wasps nest near homes and businesses, they become a risk to anyone who gets too close.

Small infestations can be managed with over-the-counter products. However, when dealing with large nests, the best course of action is to have your pest management professional do the job.

While most sting victims experience intense yet temporary pain, sometimes stings can cause major health problems, especially for individuals that are highly allergic to bee and wasp venom.

Bald-faced hornets

baldfaced hornet
Bald-faced hornets are actually closely related to yellow jackets. Their common name comes from their predominantly white face, which stands out against their mainly black bodies.

Bald-faced hornets nest aboveground in trees and large shrubs.

Learn More about Bald Faced-Hornets

Yellow jackets

yellow jacket illustration
One of the most common stinging insects encountered in Florida is the yellow jacket. They are widely distributed throughout the state and are likely to be seen in early fall at outdoor picnics.

These pests build their nests underground or in protected locations aboveground. If yellow jackets sense a threat, they charge out of the nest and begin stinging whatever’s endangering the colony.

Learn More about Yellow Jackets

Paper wasps

paper wasp
These insects construct their nests from plant matter mixed with their saliva, which forms a thin material that looks like paper. Since paper wasps build their nests in exposed areas, sections of the hive might be visible.

Residents might find paper wasp nests in door frames, windowsills, hanging from the eaves of houses, and in the corner of garages and outdoor sheds.

Adults feed on nectar and pollen, while immature members of the colony are fed insects such as caterpillars.

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European hornet

European hornets, sometimes called giant or brown hornets, are not as aggressive as bald-faced hornets but will nevertheless sting if their colony is disturbed.

European hornets tend to make their nests in secluded, aboveground locations, such as hollow trees, attics, porches, and inside wall voids.

The European hornet is the only species of true hornet located in the U.S.

Learn More about European Hornets