As we head toward Labor Day, the unofficial last hooray of the summer, many Michiganders will be heading outdoors for a picnic, camping trip or one more trip to the pool before school goes back into session and the days become shorter and cooler.  Another group of residents will also be making their presence known – stinging insects.

Stinging insect activity typically rises in late summer and early fall and, according to the National Pest Management Association, more than 500,000 people go to the emergency room each year as a result of allergic reactions to being stung.

Stinging insects including yellowjackets, hornets and wasps call a variety of locations in and around a structure home including trees and bushes, building corners and overhangs, gutters, garbage cans, and under patios and decks.

It is also a known fact that certain species of stinging insects, like the honey and bumblebee, are very beneficial to our environment as they pollinate crops and flowers. But how do you know what stinging insect is a friend and which is a foe?

Proper identification of the specie is the first step to determining if they are a threat or not. Stinging insects that pose a threat to humans include the bald-faced hornet, wasps and yellowjackets.

Yellowjackets are the most troublesome stinging insect pest and their top billing on the annoyance chart comes from their close proximity to where people live and play.

Yellowjackets nest in and around homes because they are attracted to many of the foods we enjoy eating outdoors. Depending on the specie present they will build nests in wall voids, attics, crawlspaces and other enclosed cavities while other species will build nests underground.

Their main food source is other insects but they will aggressively forage for foods that are high in sugar content and that are often found on your picnic table or in garbage cans including beer, soda and fruit.

The pest experts at Griffin Pest Solutions recommend the following tips to prevent stinging insects from bothering your family:

  • Remove food and water sources from your yard; trim bushes and trees where stinging insects like to nest.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home or office, looking closely at the eaves, and seal cracks and crevices to keep stinging insects out.
  • Properly seal all garbage cans – stinging insects are attracted to the sugars and residues in leftover food.
  • Keep food covered when you are putting out your summer spread.
  • When gardening, wear neutral earth tones, nothing bright or floral, and avoid wearing scented creams or perfume.
  • If a bee or wasp lands on you, move calmly. Jerky reactions (of course everyone’s natural instinct) are the most likely to get you stung.
  • At that backyard BBQ, keep an eye on your drink.  Stinging insects are attracted to soft drinks and beer. A mouthful of bee or wasp will put a damper on any party!

If you have a problem with or have questions about stinging insects call or e-mail Griffin Pest Solutions at 888/547-4334 or callcenter@

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