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Is That a Bee Hive or a Wasp Nest? Identifying Stinging Insects & Their Nests

There are few creatures that can make your skin crawl like wasps and other stinging insects. Many of these bugs call Knoxville home, and it’s common to see them buzzing around our yards. Sometimes, they even decide to use our houses as a foundation for their nests. You probably don’t want to share your home with any type of stinging pest but knowing what you’re up against is important to determine just how much caution you should exercise.

Some stinging insects can sting just once and are unlikely to do so, while others are aggressive and will sting multiple times. Continue reading to learn how to identify common stinging insects in Knoxville and the nests they build.


Common Stinging Insects in the Knoxville Area

  • Honey Bees – One of the most common bee species in Knoxville, honey bees tend to be about ½ to ¾ inches long and are yellow and brown in color. Honey bees can be differentiated from other similarly sized insects by their more rounded bodies and, up close, by their fuzz. Honey bee nests are usually built in the hollows of trees; if honey bees decide to nest in your home, they will likely build a nest inside your walls or ceiling, requiring careful bee nest removal by professionals. While they are not usually aggressive, honey bees can deliver a defensive sting, though only once, as their stinger will detach and the bee will die soon after.
  • Yellowjackets – Among the most feared stinging insects in Knoxville, yellowjackets are roughly ½ inch long with thick, shiny, yellow and black bodies. By contrast to paper wasps, yellowjackets are smaller, slimmer and more yellow than black. Yellowjackets commonly nest underground but they may also build bulbous, papery nests from the eaves of your home. By contrast to most other stinging insects, yellowjackets are highly aggressive and often sting unprovoked, which is why it’s recommended to hire a professional for yellowjacket nest removal.
  • Paper Wasps – Paper wasps are another of the most common wasp species that often nest on homes in Knoxville. Though sometimes mistaken for yellowjackets, paper wasps are larger – usually about ¾ inches – with thinner bodies that are equal parts black and yellow. Paper wasp nests are open and honeycomb-shaped, unlike the closed nests of yellowjackets, and are commonly built from eaves, porches and furniture. Though not as aggressive as yellowjackets or hornets, paper wasps can sting multiple times in defense of their nest, so it’s safest to leave wasp nest removal to a trained technician.
  • Bald-Faced Hornets – The bald-faced hornet is one of the scariest stinging insect species encountered by homeowners in Knoxville. While they may resemble yellowjackets at a glance, hornets are white and black rather than yellow and black, and are substantially larger, growing to ¾ inch and bigger. Bald-faced hornets build papery nests that look somewhat similar to those of yellowjackets, the difference being that bald-faced hornets always build their nests high above ground. Bald-faced hornets are aggressive and prone to sting multiple times, so it’s best to call a pest control company if you discover a hornet nest near your home.
  • Carpenter Bees – One of the largest stinging insects that lives in Knoxville, carpenter bees are about an inch long with a fuzzy yellow thorax and a fat black abdomen. They look similar to bumblebees but are even larger. Only female carpenter bees can sting and they do so infrequently, but carpenter bees can be quite destructive due to their namesake tendency to build nests inside of wood, often boring holes into the siding of local homes. Removing carpenter bees without inflicting further damage is difficult, so it’s recommended to hire a bee control specialist for the job.


Reliable Bee & Wasp Control in Knoxville

If bees, wasps or any other stinging insects have built nests on your property, it’s important to work with a trusted pest control company to get rid of them. Contact Critter Wranglers today if you’d like us to perform bee or wasp nest removal services for your home in the Knoxville area!