Common Stinging Insects in Missouri
Stinging insects are often active in the summer, as they look for food to gather for the coming winter. The activity of bees, for example, can be a major benefit since they are essential for pollination of flowers. Other insects, however, can be quite harmful, and we must be able to identify nuisance wasps, bees, and hornets to stay safe. Today, Nixa Lawn Service has composed a beginner’s guide for common stinging insects found on Missouri properties. We explain their identifying qualities, including their appearance and habits.
The paper wasp is the most common stinging insect in Missouri. It has a slender body with long legs and appears red-orange to black or dark brown. These social wasps make lofty paper nests on overhangs and arches, which draws them close to humans. In general, paper wasps defend their nests, but they’re not hostile on their own.
Bumblebees are large, furry insects that collect nectar and pollen around the yard. They’re black and yellow and only sting when defending their nests. However, bumblebees are capable of stinging predators repeatedly. Don’t mistake bumble bees for carpenter bees, which have entirely black, hairless abdomens and are solitary insects.
Yellow Jackets are irritating, aggressive pests that build paper nests, usually below the ground. They can also inhabit trees, porches, attics, and sheds. They’re yellow and black, with distinctive stripe patterning. While honey bees can only use their stinger once, yellow jackets can repeatedly sting without being provoked. These scavengers like meat and tend to invade summer cookouts, so watch out for them swarming near trash cans or dumpsters.
Mud Dauber Wasps
Mud daubers are long and thin and are usually black with yellow marks. You can identify them by their extremely slender waist. As their name indicates, these wasps build their nests out of mud, often inside garages, barns, or porch ceilings. But unlike yellow jackets, mud wasps don’t defend their nests. They’re solitary, nonaggressive insects that only sting when pinned against the skin.
You can find European hornets across southern Missouri. They’re multicolored insects (dark brown with red and yellow markings), and they typically nest in a hollow log or tree. European hornets are not particularly aggressive even though they’re large and they come to lights at night. They like to prey on other insects and will sting if threatened.
Red Velvet Ant
Contrary to its name, the velvet ant is a black wasp with red-orange hair on its thorax. Also known as the “cow killer,” the wingless females can sting painfully, while the males have wings but can’t sting. The velvet ant is more likely to be found alone in a field or lawn rather than in a nest.
Choose Nixa Lawn Service
Nixa Lawn Service offers year-round landscaping and lawn care services in Springfield, MO. We also provide fertilization, irrigation, tree services, and more. Contact Nixa Lawn Service today for more information.