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Flying insects are usually considered pests; however, some of them are beneficial! How can you tell the difference between harmful or beneficial flying bugs?

The first thing to keep in mind is that any flying insects in the garden can be pollinators. They are useful to help pollinate many types of crops, even some of the food plants and trees in your garden.

On the other hand, there are some that can cause problems for human health. We’ll take a look at flying insects and how you can tell the difference between those that are pests and those flying bugs that are beneficial.

Hornets that are Pests

There are several species of hornet that are common in the UK and considered pests. These include:

  • European hornets (Vespa crabro): these are rather large, and coloured brown and yellow. While these are not as common, they do sometimes get inside houses.
  • Asian hornet (Vespa velutina): these are coloured black or dark brown, with a distinctive yellow band near the rear, a finer line of yellow at the waist, and a black head with a yellow or orange face. These are smaller than native hornets and they eat honeybees. This hornet is considered an invasive species. If you spot one of these, then you will need to call the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) immediately.
  • Giant Asian hornets (Vespa mandarinia): these hornets have bright yellow heads, a black middle, and yellow & black or brown stripes on the abdomen. These are the kind called “Murder Hornets.” They originated in East Asia and Japan, and they kill honeybee colonies. They also have a venom that’s toxic to humans.

Hornets are venomous and will sting when they feel threatened. Hornet venom isn’t considered toxic to humans; however, the amount of venom they release can be a problem. And some people are allergic to the venom; it can cause an anaphylactic reaction in these individuals.

Wasps that are Pests

There are two common wasps that are pests in the UK, which include the Common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) and the German wasp (Vespula germanica). These insects are difficult to tell apart as they look almost the same. However, you can differentiate these flying pests by the markings on the face and thorax. Common wasps tend to have an anchor-shaped black mark on the front of their face. German wasps have either an incomplete anchor or three black dots on yellow.

Both of these wasp species are very social and have a single queen. The queen is able to produce about 3,000 to 8,000 workers. The nests of these wasps are football sized, and can be found in the ground, in trees, or on roofs. At the end of summer, the wasps abandon their nests and do not return the next year.

Wasps can be extremely dangerous. For one thing, if you try to do anything with their nest, the wasps inside will feel you are threatening the wasp and will fly out. They will be extremely aggressive, with the intention of stinging you.

Keep in mind that wasps are not like bees. They don’t die after they sting; in fact, they can sting you multiple times. Think about an entire colony of wasps trying to sting you!

Wasp stings can be painful; however, some people experience an anaphylactic reaction to the venom. This can be a life-threatening medical emergency.


Honeybees are considered a beneficial species. Not only do they make honey, but they pollinate food crops. What’s more they rarely present problems. So, they’re not considered pests. Though there are times when a wild bee colony does set up home in a wall, chimney or other area.

Unlike wasps and hornets, honeybees tend to be small and they vary in colour from black to golden brown.


These are extremely social flying insects, and they live in a colony with a queen, just like honeybees. The queen also produces workers. In the UK, there are about 25 different species of bumblebees. Like honeybees, these are rarely considered pests, unless they take up lodging near humans (in a home, for instance).


There are over 270 hoverfly species in the UK. The larger members of the species is often brightly coloured yellow and back, and they’re very common. While they may look dangerous, hoverflies do not carry stingers. So, they’re quite harmless.

What to Do if You Need Help with Harmful Flying Insects

If you’re having a problem with harmful wasps and/or hornets, then it’s time to call a professional pest control company to deal with the problem. The reason is that dealing with these insects can be extremely dangerous or even deadly. It’s possible you may be allergic to the venom of these bugs and not even know it. You may not know it until you’ve been stung. One sting can cause a deadly allergic reaction, so it’s not worth dealing with this problem on your own.

This is where professional pest controllers are prepared to deal with such a job. They have the technical knowledge, the experience, and access to professional insecticides and removal methods that are not available to you.

Not only that, but a professional pest controller has the protective equipment needed to avoid being stung.

The professional exterminator will come and apply insecticide near the entrance of the nest. When the harmful wasp or hornet gets the insecticide on their body, they take it into the nest with them. It can take up to two days for the insecticide to do its job.

This is why DIY methods to remove harmful wasps and hornets are not recommended. It’s simply not safe, and if not done correctly, can end up as a more serious problem.

When searching for a professional pest controller, its necessary to find a company that specialises in wasp and hornet removal. These are the professionals who have the knowledge and experience to get the work done right. And they can keep you safe in the process. Always call a professional for this type of job.