To avoid stinging insects, it is important to identify them.
Yellow jackets’ nests are made of a paper-maché material and are usually located underground but can sometimes be found in the walls of frame buildings, cracks in masonry or woodpiles.
Honeybees and bumblebees are non-aggressive and will only sting when provoked. However, Africanized honeybees (AKA “killer bees”) found in the Southwestern U.S. are more aggressive and may sting in swarms. Domesticated honeybees live in man-made hives, while wild honeybees live in colonies or “honeycombs” in hollow trees or cavities of buildings.
Paper wasps’ nests are usually made of a paper-like material that forms a circular comb of cells which opens downward. The nests are often located under eaves, behind shutters, or in shrubs or woodpiles.
Hornets are usually larger than yellow jackets. Their nests are gray or brown, football-shaped and made of a paper material similar to that of yellow jackets’ nests. Hornets’ nests are usually found high above ground on branches of trees, in shrubbery, on gables or in tree hollows.
Fire ants build nests of dirt in the ground that may be quite tall (18 inches) in the right kinds of soil.