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Do Wasps Bite or Sting? Or Both?

Whether flying around or resting peacefully on a flower, most people are not excited to see wasps. People quickly run away when wasps start flying around or sporadically shadowbox the air to avoid an attack. Many fear wasps because, unlike bees, they are more aggressive and prone to attacking more than once. Many ask, “do wasps bite or sting? Or both?” because they are unsure about their intentions.

The fear of wasps is natural since an attack can induce medical complications and severe pain.

wasps jaw will bite
stinger on a wasp does not attach when they sting

Species of Wasps That Bite or Sting

Understanding the wasps around you and how to identify them will provide more assurance when they start buzzing. Here are the most common types of wasps you will most likely encounter.

yellow jacket wasp on rock drinking water

Yellow Jackets

One of the most notorious types of wasps is the Yellow Jacket, often the most misidentified. Unfortunately, many think these wasps are Honey Bees because of their similar appearance. However, when flying around, it can be hard to tell the difference between the two unless they land. The most significant key identifier is that the Honey Bee will look fuzzy, whereas the Yellow Jacket is smooth.
Yellow Jackets are known for being one of the most aggressive wasp species, needing minor provocation to warrant an attack. Additionally, Yellow Jackets are capable of biting, but more than likely, they will sting first. Finally, their colonies typically nest underground, making it easy to induce a colony-wide attack accidentally.

paper wasp nest removal

Paper Wasps

The Paper Wasp earns their name because they construct honeycomb-like nests made of organic material that looks like paper. Paper Wasps will likely sting you before they bite since their jaws will not induce much damage. On average, the Paper Wasp is not as aggressive as Yellow Jackets; however, if they feel threatened, they will attack.

mad dauber wasp on dry wasp

Mud Dauber

The Mud Dauber looks the most intimidating out of all the wasps listed, but they are the most docile. Mud Daubers are likely to try and flee even when confronted with direct provocation. However, it is essential to know they will attack if necessary. Mud Dauber nests are easy to identify because they are large clumps of dry mud that typically only have one little hole. Mud Daubers construct mud nests to lay and protect their eggs until they hatch, but they do not actively live in the nest.

Wasp’s Bite vs. Sting

Overall, wasps are far more likely to sting you before they bite. However, it is essential to understand that wasps are capable of both biting and stinging. Wasps generally do not cause enough damage to their victim from their bite, so they resort to stinging first.
However, some wasps and hornets, such as the Baldfaced Hornet, are capable of squirting venom. For example, baldfaced Hornets spew venom into their enemies’ eyes to instantly cause eye irritation.

finger swollen from wasp bite and sting

Symptoms of a Wasp Bite or Sting

  • The directly affected area of the sting site will be red and sometimes itchy or painful.
  • It is swelling around the affected areas. 
  • Pain stemming from the area directly affected. 
  • You may experience heat or a warm sensation from the sting. 
  • In some instances, you might break out in hives. 

Immediate medical attention should be sought if symptoms are concerning to ensure proper care. Unfortunately, anyone who has never been stung by a wasp is likely unaware of their reactions or medical complications. Fortunately, most people will likely experience more minor symptoms, eventually subsiding independently.

Most Common Places to Find Wasps

Some wasps will nest in the most unsuspecting locations depending on their species. Each species has a preferred nest environment, such as high, hanging spots underground or in old logs and trees. Here are some of the most common places you might find a wasp nest around your home and in nature.

wasp nest on side of house under roof
  • Eves: The eves and overhang from the roof are ideal for Paper Wasps. They will nest in hidden corners to conceal nest from detection since they use the nest to lay eggs.
  • Underground: Some wasps, like Yellow Jackets and Baldfaced Hornets, will build nests in old rodent tunnels or holes. Underground nests can be hard to detect if someone is not looking for one. 
  • Tree Hallows: Most of the same species that like to nest underground also prefer old tree hallows. Additionally, it is not uncommon to find dense shrubs which are perfect for concealment and protection.   
wasp both sting and bite stay away

Can Wasps Nest Inside My Home?

We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but unfortunately, if given the opportunity, wasps nest inside the home. Typically, it’s not directly in living spaces; the most common locations are within wall voids and attics. However, in some cases, they could chew through any minor openings in the drywall and access the home’s interior.

Who to Call to Stop Wasps from Biting or Stinging

If you are worried about potential wasp nests or looking for preventive help, contact Prime Pest Solutions for our professional wasp control services. Wasp nests are hard to prevent, but getting on top is crucial as soon as they appear. Get a team you can trust to be there at the first signs of a wasp nest building around your home!

More About Bees, Wasps, and Hornets

Can Bees and Wasps Really Smell Fear?
Wasps vs. Hornets
Why Are Wasps Aggressive?