Stinging Insects of Summer

You've likely come across a bee, wasp, or hornet this summer. While these insects can cause painful stings, and allergic reactions for some, they are not usually aggressive. In the landscape, they can be beneficial by providing pollination to plants and, for some, preying on pest insects. And luckily for Californians, there is no need to fear the Asian giant hornet (now officially renamed to northern giant hornet), also known as the “murder hornet”, since this insect has not yet been found in the state.

While sometimes beneficial, these insects can also create nests in unfavorable locations and become a nuisance around picnics and backyard gatherings. If you are finding bees, wasps, or hornets to be pests around your home or landscape, visit the UC IPM resource pages at You may also enjoy our short videos on yellowjackets:

To compare look-alike species commonly mistaken for the northern giant hornet, view this resource from the Washington State Department of Agriculture:

Learn more about beneficial wasps that prey on insect pests by visiting the UC IPM Natural Enemies Gallery.

By Lauren Fordyce
Author - Urban and Community IPM Educator