Visit Critter Control's Eco-Wise™ Pest Management site, www.ecowisepestcontrol.com for more information about insect and other non-vertebrate pest control solutions. Description Biting and stinging insects pose certain threats that other pests do not. By having the ability to pierce the skin of humans and other animals, they can inflict physical pain and trigger allergic reactions. Biting insects in particular can also transfer diseases. A variety of different insects can bite or sting and are therefore considered pests. This includes common pest insects such as bees, wasps, hornets, bed bugs, fire ants, fleas, and mosquitoes. Appearance The physical characteristics of biting and stinging insects vary greatly depending on the species. Bed bugs and fleas, for instance, are notable for being tiny and difficult to see, while certain wasp and hornet species can grow as long as 0.5 inches (13 mm) or more. Likewise, the coloration of these pests varies considerably, from the distinctive black and yellow stripes of bees and yellow jackets, to the reddish hue of the fire ant. Despite their differences, all biting and stinging insects have six legs, a pair of antennae, and a segmented body divided into the head, thorax, and abdomen. Stinging insects also have a stinger, which they use to inject venom. Habitat Many types of biting and stinging insects live in large colonies, including fire ants and eusocial species of bees, hornets, and wasps. Fire ants nest in the ground and often produce a visible mound that marks the entrance to their colony. Certain species of wasps and hornets also live underground, while others reside in aerial nests or hives. While biting insects like bed bugs, fleas, and mosquitoes frequently infest areas in large numbers, their nesting habits are far less structured than those of bees or fire ants. Bed bugs live in cracks, crevices, and mattresses in rooms where humans or pets sleep at night, while fleas typically spend the majority of their adult lives on a host animal. Mosquitoes live outdoors, where they breed in stagnant water. Entry Are biting and stinging insects known to enter homes or yards? Biting and stinging insects regularly enter homes in a variety of ways. Cracks and crevices, torn window screens, and other small gaps or openings provide easy access to the indoors for these relatively tiny pests. The tiniest of them all, however, gain entry into homes by hitching rides. Bed bugs attach themselves to items like clothing, luggage, and secondhand furniture, while fleas are often carried into the home on infested pets. Damage Do biting and stinging insects harm people or property? The primary causes for concern over biting and stinging insects are the bites and stings these pests inflict on humans and other animals. Bites from mosquitoes, bed bugs, and fleas produce reddish welts on the skin that itch and irritate, while beestings can be painful and may also cause localized swelling and irritation. In especially severe cases, the venom that bees, hornets, and wasps inject when they sting can trigger the onset of anaphylactic shock. Similarly, mosquito bites have the potential to escalate in severity, as the pests can spread diseases such as dengue fever, malaria, and West Nile Virus. They also carry and transfer the larvae that causes heartworm in dogs. Control and Safety Controlling biting and stinging insects can be challenging due to the safety hazards they present. Certain species of wasps and hornets will defend their nests aggressively, while fire ants swarm in large numbers when they detect a threat. Even when biting and stinging insects are safe to handle, they can still be hard to control. Bed bugs, for instance, are relatively harmless but notorious for being difficult to eradicate because of their small size and elusive nature. If you experience an infestation of biting or stinging insects, contact your local branch of Critter Control for professional assistance. We understand the need for safety in pest management, and we use the safest and most effective control methods possible. Trapping and Removal Getting rid of biting and stinging insects is often tricky since they can enter structures in a variety of ways and build their nests in unique places. Our knowledgeable technicians at Critter Control will assess the insect problem and any insect damage before using environmentally friendly pest control methods. We can then help you establish an effective and long-lasting pest control plan for peace of mind when it comes to preventing future infestations. Critter Control pest technicians can remove a variety of bees, wasps, and hornets. We also specialize in bed bug extermination, fire ant extermination, flea removal, and mosquito extermination. We can help you get rid of stinging insect problems. Call today: 1.800.274.8837.