Stinging Insects

There are a number of pests in the Kansas City area which can sting. Most of them belong in the Order Hymenoptera and they are various kinds of wasps or bees. Ants are also in that order, but they bite, rather than sting and are covered in a separate category of the Pest Gallery.

There is one other stinging pest that is not an insect, but is somewhat related to them. That is a scorpion, which is more closely related to spiders. But remember that spiders bite, rather than sting and you will also find them elsewhere in the Pest Gallery.

While all wasps and bees can sting to some extent, here are the ones which seem to cost us most of our problems.


Yellowjackets receive their common name from their typical black and yellow color pattern. They are worldwide in distribution with about 16 species occurring in the United States.

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Bald-Faced Hornet

This atypically large black-and-white wasp gets its common name of baldfaced hornet from its mostly white face, with marginal black markings, as well as its large size. It is also known for its typically large aerial nest. Baldfaced hornets are found throughout the Kansas City area as well as the rest of the United States.

Baldfaced hornets are beneficial insects, controlling many pest insect species. However, if the nest is located close to the ground or near an occupied structure or recreational area, control may be warranted.

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Honey Bee

While honey bees are well established in the Kansas City area, as well as across the United States, they are not native to this country. They were brought over and established by the first colonists from Europe, primarily as a sweetener for their food and drink.

Domestic honey bees get their common name from the sweet yellowish to brownish fluid they make from the nectar of flowers which they use as food. Through extensive cultivation on our part, they provide honey and wax. But as pollinators, they are of far greater importance, as they are reared for the purpose of growing many of the fruits and vegetables which we require.. They are also responsible for a large share of insect stings, although many stings blamed on “bees” are actually done by yellowjackets.

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Bumble Bee

The common name of bumble bee possibly comes from their rather large, clumsy appearance and/or the buzzing sound they make as they fly. Bumble bees usually nest in cavities below ground (often abandoned rodent burrows), but often will use brush piles, trash heaps and occasionally bird houses as nesting sites. They become a concern because of their abundance around the many flowering plants typical of yards, and their often very painful sting. There are about 51 species in the United States and Canada, with 6 or 8 in the greater Kansas City area.

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