Several airborne insects that inflict painful stings can be found in the northeast US. Some of these species include, the European honey bee, the American bumblebee, the common eastern bumblebee, the bald-faced hornet, the European hornet, the eastern yellow jacket, the aerial yellow jacket, and the cicada-killer wasp.
Not many dangerous insect species can be found within the northeast, but this is not the case when it comes to bees and wasps, as all of the above named species have been known to inflict medically significant stings to humans. In some cases, human fatalities have resulted from stings inflicted by bee and wasp species in the northeast, but virtually all fatal sting victims died on account of having an allergy to venom, rather than from venom toxicity.
Bee and wasp species in the northeast can pose a danger to humans in residential areas and within homes, as aerial yellow jacket and European honey bee nests are often found within various areas within and near homes, such as in attics and wall-voids. While most other wasp and bee species do not establish indoor nests often, it is not uncommon for bumblebee, wasp, yellow jacket and hornet nests to be found on residential properties.
Bee and wasp species belong to the hymenoptera order of insects, which also includes ants. Both yellow jackets and hornets are technically wasp species, but hornets are notable for nesting in high places, such as in trees or on the underside of a home’s eaves. Yellow jackets are notable for their striped black and yellow appearance as well as their relatively aggressive behavior, which is a trait they share with hornets.
Humans generally encounter bee and wasp nests while on their own property, whereas yellow jackets, honey bees, and hornets commonly establish nests within trees, garages, sheds, within shrubbery, and on outside patios. Bumblebees, on the other hand, nest below the ground, but these nests are often found in residential yards. Most medically significant wasp and bee sting cases occur in response to humans accidentally disturbing their nests. For example, making contact with a bush or shrub containing a wasp nest will almost certainly prompt the insects to attack the nearest human. If you should ever find yourself being pursued by wasps or bees, running as fast and as far away from the insects as you can is a person’s best bet of avoiding painful or possibly harmful stings.
Have you ever stumbled upon a bee or wasp nest?