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Stinging Insects (Hymenoptera)

What are stinging insects?

Stinging insects are pests like hornets, wasps, cicada killers, and scorpions that use a stinger in self-defense or to hunt, making them something Oklahoma residents should watch out for. While there are many species, you can group them into various categories.


Vespa crabo

Hornets generally look the same with some minor variation. For example, the bald-faced hornet looks much like the yellow jacket except for their whitish-colored facial features. Some hornets grow up to about one and one-half of an inch long.

Ground Wasp


Ground wasps include a large number of different species, which means there are notable differences in appearance. However, all ground wasps have two pairs of wings and a constriction between the abdomen and thorax.

Eastern Cicada Killer

Sphecius Speciosus

These are especially large wasps that are known to grow to one and one-half of an inch long or longer. They're also known for their rusty red coloring and russet-colored wings.

Arizona Bark Scorpion

Centruroides Sculpturatus

While more common in Arizona, you can find this particular scorpion in some parts of Oklahoma. They are nocturnal and can grow up to three inches long. This species can also be identified by its light brown to brownish-yellow coloring.

Are stinging insects dangerous?

Some stinging insects are beneficial because they feed on other insects and help pollinate various plants. However, all of them pose a threat thanks to their stinger. Most stinging insects have venom strong enough to cause allergic reactions and possibly even anaphylactic shock.

While the severity of the reaction may vary, the sting itself is always painful and can leave behind a red welt that lasts for days. In the case of the bark scorpion, the venom is so potent that a sting from them can be fatal if you don't seek medical attention immediately.

Why do I have a stinging insect problem? 

You have a stinging insect problem because your property offers something they want, which is usually related to food and shelter. Unkempt trash areas, flowering trees, gardens, and outdoor eating areas are all popular targets.

Where will I find stinging insects?

Different species of stinging insects will choose different areas to nest. However, stinging insects generally prefer the outdoors. If they make it inside, they will seek out wall voids, attics, rafters, basements, and other similar locations.

What do stinging insects eat?

In general, stinging insects feed on other insects. Hornets and wasps will also feed on plant nectar, honeydew, and other sweets, while scorpions will feed on spiders if the opportunity arises. More than food, stinging insects will seek out a water source.

How do I get rid of stinging insects? 

Due to the dangers associated with stinging insects, the best solution is to work closely with a pest control company trained to handle stinging insect removal. Since 1991, our team has honed our process to perfection. As such, we have the training and resources needed to ensure you're pest-free. Reach out to us to get an estimate for your pest control service needs today.

How can I prevent stinging insects in the future?

Prevention is possible when you implement the following prevention tips:

  • Repair any defects to your roofline.
  • Use tight-fitting caps on chimneys.
  • Trim tree branches back from the home or building.
  • Keep outdoor eating areas clean of food debris.
  • Eliminate harborage sites like woodpiles or trash.

Learn more about our home pest control options and commercial pest management solutions.

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