There are stinging pests all over the United States. Though some species may be more common in specific areas, everyone has run into a bee or wasp at some point in their life. The sting is usually a quite a bit painful, but unless you have allergies to them; you don’t really experience any serious health concerns. Those with allergic reactions to their stings, depending on the severity however, really need to be careful around them. Today we at A-Tex Pest Management would like to shine some light on the bees and wasps found in Texas. Honey bees, carpenter bees, and bumblebees are the most common bees found in the state. All are considered beneficial to the contributions to pollination and such. Bald-faced hornets, paper wasps, mud dauber wasps, cicada killer wasps and yellow jackets are the most common wasps.
What Kind of Bees Do They have in Texas?
Bumblebees – These are social insects which form colonies with a single queen. Females can sting, repeatedly, but generally ignore humans and other animals; only stinging if threatened. They can get up to an inch long and have band markings, in combinations of black, yellow, orange/red, and white.
Bumblebees have round bodies that are covered in soft hair, making them look and feel fuzzy. The female hind leg is modified to form a pollen basket.
Carpenter Bees – Are often mistaken for bumble bees as their size and coloration are similar, but carpenter bees have a shiny abdomen. Male bees are often seen hovering near nests, and will approach nearby animals but are harmless, since they do not have a stinger. Female carpenter bees are capable of stinging, but they are docile and rarely sting unless caught in the hand or otherwise directly provoked. They have a tendency to burrow into wooden materials, including trees, fences or the wooden structures of buildings.
Honey Bees – Honey bees are social and live in well-organized colonies, and do not require hibernation.
They are only between 0.4 and 0.6 inches long, have oval shaped bodies with brown bands and golden yellow coloring. Their behavior is defensive when intruders are near their nests, but are able to sting only once.
What Wasps Live in Texas?
Bald-Faced Hornets – They are most active during the day. They are mostly black in color with nearly all white faces and get up ¾” long. Though they are classified as a hornet, they are truly a wasp. Live in social colonies and are fairly aggressive, especially when in close proximity to their nest.
Paper Wasps – Identifiable by the paper-like nests they construct out of fibers from dead wood and plant stems that are mixed with saliva. Paper wasps will attack if they feel threatened or also their nest. Their stings are painful. They get up to 1” long have narrow bodies that a dark brown color, with black wings and yellow markings.
Cicada-Killer Wasps – Part of the digger wasp species. They are solitary wasps which use cicadas as prey. Although cicada killers are large, getting up to 2 inches long, female cicada killer wasps are not aggressive and rarely sting unless they are handled roughly, stepped upon with bare feet, or caught in clothing, etc. Males aggressively defend their perching areas on nesting sites against rival males but do not sting. Their coloring resembles the yellow jackets, reddish black areas along with black to reddish brown markings and yellow stripes and brown wings.
Mud Dauber Wasps – Construct nests with mud, with many species belonging to this class. Most species are long and slender. They are not aggressive and unlikely to sting; however, but has the potential to get defensive around their nests. They get up to an inch long and are either all black or a metallic blue, with few species having yellow or greenish colored markings.
Yellow Jacket Wasps – Yellow jacket females are capable of stinging repeatedly. They can get up to 0.6 inches long and their color alternates black and yellow body segments, with some having white and black coloring. Their nests are usually in aerial locations but they are also known to construct their nests in bushes or corners of buildings.