It’s bee season in Western Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut. Bees—and wasps—perform a vital service to local ecosystems: pollination. Unfortunately, bees and wasps regularly set up their home base where we can accidentally run into them. Use our list of stinging insect facts to properly identify, avoid, and manage bees and wasps on your property.

Know Your Stripes

Bumble Bees

Between ¼ to 1 inch in size, black and yellow markings, and overall fuzzy appearance these beneficial insects mostly stick to pollinating flowers, but they can sting if disturbed. If a nest is located on or near a structure, then control is necessary.

Carpenter Bees

They resemble bumblebees, but the top half of their abdomen is bare and shiny. Similarly, to bumblebees, they mostly keep to themselves. However, carpenter bees pose a much larger problem on your property, namely structural damage. Carpenter bees bore into your homes wood to make their home, leaving  ½ inch round, smooth holes.

Honey Bees

These non-aggressive insects tend to be smaller than bumblebees with darker bands. Honey bees only sting when threatened. They pollinate over 100 species of crops in the U.S. and are considered very beneficial.


These wasps are the iconic, shiny, yellow, and black terrors of Summer. They feed on proteins and sweets so they tend to show up at picnics uninvited. Their nests are easy to distinguish because of their grey, paper-like texture. Yellowjackets are one of the most common causes of insect-related hospitalizations.

Easing the Sting

There are many home remedies for soothing a bee or wasp sting. Before applying anything to the area, make sure the stinger is actually removed! If there is a stinger still attached, it is best to use a fine pair of tweezers to avoid squeezing out more venom. Be sure to wash the area with soap and water.

It’s important to note that a small percentage of people inflicted with a bee sting will have a severe allergic reaction. Urgent medical treatment is essential in these cases.

  • Honey might help with the pain and itching. Apply a small amount to the affected area (do this indoors, don’t attract more bees!)
  • A baking soda paste (mix with water) can help neutralize the venom in the sting, try applying a thick layer to the affected area, then cover with a bandage.
  • Apple cider vinegar may also help neutralize the venom. Dab onto the skin with a cotton ball.
  • Aloe Vera gel is known for soothing the skin and relieving pain.
  • Many people swear by witch hazel, which can reduce inflammation, pain, or swelling at a sting site.
  • Our personal favorite OTC sting easer is the original “Itch Eraser” with ammonia.

Contending with a Nest

Coming across a bee or wasp nest can be startling. The most important thing to remember upon initially discovering a nest is to keep from disturbing it (hopefully this is not how you discovered it!). Many bees and wasps will keep a close perimeter to their nest so giving it a wide berth is best. This will give you time to call a professional to remove the nest safely. Additionally, quality technicians will employ the proper treatment techniques to minimize bee or wasp activity on other parts of your property while the nest dies off.

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The team at Graduate Pest Solutions knows how to take the sting out of pest management. Call us at 413-566-8222 or contact us with any questions or if you are experiencing a pest problem. We have the knowledge and the services necessary to manage stinging insects and help keep your home pest-free!

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