How to Stop Stinging Insects From Getting into Your Home
August 21, 2020
If you’ve fallen prey to one of the most painful insect stings in the world, you probably remember the experience clearly. But what about everyday pests common all over the United States? From hornets and bees to wasps and ants, there is a variety of stinging and biting insects out there ready to ruin your summer afternoon.
When outside enjoying a backyard barbeque or hiking in the park, meeting a few insects on your path is common. But when you’re inside the four walls of your own home, these common insects become much less welcome visitors. Here are some tips on keeping unwanted pests and stinging insects out of your home this summer.
Ranking Insect Stings from Around the World
First, let’s take a look at the most painful insect stings and bites in the world. The ranking scale is based on the “hierarchy of hurt” developed by entomologist Justin O. Schmidt. His world-famous insect pain scale is based on a four-point system and a review of more than 80 stinging insects from around the world. According to this well-known pain scale, the number one insect to stay away from is the Warrior Wasp or Synoeca septentrionalis, native to South and Central America. Also topping the list of Pain Level 4 stings are the Tarantula Hawk and Bullet Ant.
Schmidt’s Sting Pain Index
- Pain Level 4 lasts up to two hours and feels like “walking over flaming charcoal with a nail embedded in your heel.”
- Pain Level 3 can last up to 30 minutes and feels like “drilling an ingrown toenail.”
- Pain Level 2 lasts 5-10 minutes and feels like a “migraine on the tip of your finger.”
- Pain Level 1 lasts five minutes or less and feels like a tiny spark
The first insect ranking a Pain Level 3 on the top 10 list is also the first one found in North America, the Velvet Ant. Other insects from the top 10 list that rate a Pain Level 3 are the Western Honeybee, Red Paper Wasp, Maricopa Harvester Ant, and Florida Harvester Ant. All of these stinging insects are found in North America except the Red Paper Wasp. Finally, the Giant Bornean Carpenter Bee is found in Asia and ranks a Pain Level 2.5, and the Western Yellow Jacket is found in the U.S. and ranks a Pain Level 2. Common stinging or biting insects found in the U.S. that didn’t make the top 10 list include:
- Murder Hornet (Pain Level 2)
- Honeybee (Pain Level 2)
- Fire Ant (Pain Level 1)
How Stinging Insects Get Inside Your Home
Now that you know what you’re dealing with, let’s identify what stinging insects to look for around your own home. First, wasps are common visitors throughout the U.S., building hives and nests in attics, chimneys, and the eaves and ledges of a home’s exterior. In addition, fire ants are known to build mounds with underground tunnels throughout a home’s lawn and garden. These and other pests can enter your home through cracks in the home’s foundation or walls. Holes or spaces between a home’s doors and windows are also common entry points for insects and pests. Finally, a home’s HVAC units can be an open-door policy for pests if not sealed correctly and inspected annually.
Protecting Your Home Against Stinging Insects
Keep out! Here’s the best way to keep pesky insect intruders outside (and not welcome them into your home) this summer.
- Look for standing water from leaky pipes or moisture build-up, especially in the basement or the home’s crawl space.
- Contact a professional to inspect your home’s foundation and identify any cracks in the home’s floors and walls.
- Find openings between doors and windows and check out the seal around the home’s HVAC unit.
- Windows and doors can be insulated with caulk found at the hardware store.
- HVAC units should be inspected and insulated by a professional.
Remember, standing water and moisture in your home is like a welcome mat for pests looking for water sources in the summer heat. To identify and fix small cracks in a home’s foundation that can be an entry point for pests or water, it's best to contact a professional foundation repair contractor. One long-term solution to guard against pests is the CrawlSeal™ crawl space encapsulation system available from the same repair experts. Contact the professionals serving your area today to learn how the CrawlSeal™ crawl space encapsulation system and other repair solutions can protect your home from pests and water damage.