Why Do Pests Sting?

March 2020

Many of us fear stinging insects (for good reason). Some species can have incredibly powerful and painful stings! If you’re allergic, a simple insect sting can be a life-threatening situation. However, most people aren’t allergic, so you will probably only experience brief discomfort. Since most insects can’t drastically harm humans, why do they even sting in the first place? Keep reading to learn more about why certain bugs sting, what types of insects sting, treating these injuries, and how to get rid of them if you have an infestation.

Why Do Wasps Sting?

All insects typically sting because they are defending themselves or their nest. However, most of the time humans aren’t even aware they are provoking an insect when they get stung. In addition, some species are more aggressive than others – for example, Japanese Hornets are known to chase their victim for miles and sting multiple times.

Yellowjackets are a more aggressive species as well, causing many to wonder why do yellow jackets sting more often? Since they are more social than other wasps, they defend their nest more fiercely.

Types of Stinging Insects

There are many types of stinging pests and insects out there. Most of these fall within the realm of wasps, bees, or ants. There are also plenty of bugs that bite rather than sting such as spiders, centipedes, ticks, bed bugs, and more.


There are thousands of wasp species, but only the females have stingers. A few common types of wasps include yellow jackets, paper wasps, and hornets. Some are more aggressive than others and some have more painful stings. Paper wasps are known for having one of the most painful stings in the world! Wasps typically make nests in hidden areas above the ground such as in porch ceilings and tree branches.


There are a few species of ants that sting such as fire ants, velvet ants, and bullet ants (another species that has an extremely painful sting).


Bees are another common type of insect. Unlike most species of wasps, bees are responsible for pollinating many garden crops and flowers. They also create honey. Thankfully, their sting is a little less painful than most other stinging insects.


Scorpions are another type of stinging insect. There are nearly 100 species of scorpions found throughout the United States, mostly in hot areas like Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas. There are only a few species that are abnormally venomous, such as Bark scorpions (typically found in Arizona).

Treating a Sting

Although an insect sting might not severely harm you if you’re not allergic, treating it can help ease the pain and itchiness that often comes with some bug bites. Treatment can vary depending on the type of insect sting. For example, how to treat a wasp sting can differ from an intense bullet ant sting.

For less intense insect stings that you know you’re not allergic to, you should start by removing the stinger if it is still in the skin. Then, clean the wound with soap and water to prevent infection. Apply a cold compress or ice pack to the area for about 10 minutes to ease swelling. Finally, raise the area if possible to help reduce swelling.

Getting Rid of Stinging Insects

Some types of common stingers such as wasps and yellow jackets can infest areas around your home, which can be dangerous because many of them aggressively defend their nests when people get too close. Additionally, stinging ants like fire ants can create colonies in your backyard.

Calling stinger and biter extermination is the most effective route to avoid any inconvenient stings and bites, or even avoid a potential hospital visit if you’re severely allergic. Aptive Environmental offers effective pest control services with offices around the United States.

Recommended Reading

Pest Control: The Lifecycle of Pests

Pests are a nuisance to homeowners, and can cause a lot of damage to property, as well as health risks to humans and pets. To effectively control pests, it is important to understand their lifecycle and behavior. In this article, we will explore the lifecycle of...

Feb 17, 2023

Data, Patterns, and Pest Control

As a leading pest control provider, Aptive service professionals encounter all kinds of pest activity across the country. Our ability to monitor this pest activity has provided valuable insights into understanding the prevalence of specific pest types at different...

Aug 1, 2023

Jumping Spider Control: Effective Methods to Eliminate and Prevent

Jumping spiders may seem harmless, but they can quickly get out of hand. With their swift movements and sharp vision, jumping spiders can be a nuisance and even pose risks to you and your surroundings. That's where effective jumping spider control methods come into...

Jul 26, 2023

Brown Recluse Spider: Facts, Bites & Control

Did you know that brown recluse spiders, also known as violin spiders, are among the most common venomous arachnids found in the United States? These elusive creatures are famous for their distinctive violin-shaped markings on their bodies. Brown recluse spiders...

Jul 14, 2023

Ultimate guide to identifying, preventing, and treating earwigs

Did you know that there is an insect with a rather peculiar name that often sparks curiosity and even fear? Meet the earwig, a nocturnal creature belonging to the order Dermaptera. With elongated bodies and distinctive pincers called cerci at their rear end, these...

Jun 19, 2023

Carpet Beetles: Identification, Prevention & Control Tips

Did you know that there are tiny creatures lurking in your home that can cause significant damage to fabrics and other materials? These are carpet beetles, small oval-shaped insects with a varied color pattern. There are several species of carpet beetles, but the...

Jun 12, 2023

Flea Bites: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Have you ever noticed a red bump on your skin that is itchy and painful? If so, you might have been bitten by a flea. Fleas are tiny insects that feed on the blood of humans and animals, and their bites can cause discomfort and irritation. In this article, we will...

May 31, 2023

Get Rid of Silverfish: Your Ultimate Guide!

Silverfish are common household pests that can be found in dark and damp areas of your home, such as basements, attics, and bathrooms. They are named after their silvery, metallic appearance and fish-like movements. These insects have a three-stage life cycle: egg,...

May 25, 2023

The Short Lifespan of Flies

Flies have a relatively short lifespan, typically living for only a few weeks to a few months, depending on the species. Their lifespan is influenced by various factors, including temperature, humidity, and availability of food and water. Flies lay their eggs in...

Feb 15, 2023

What Attracts Ants to Your Home?

Ants are small, seemingly harmless pests, but without proper treatment they can quickly become a massive nuisance. Oftentimes, homeowners don’t know where to start with ants and typically try solutions that only temporarily fix the problem. It can be difficult to...

Nov 22, 2022

How to Pest-Proof Your Garbage Cans

Depending on where you live, you may be familiar with managing pest-ridden garbage cans. What many city-dwellers and suburbians don’t realize though, is how easy it is for their own trash cans to become home to opportunistic pests. Allowing bugs to live in your...

Oct 20, 2022

Take back your home with pest control today.

Pin It on Pinterest