4 Worst Stinging Pests in San Antonio

collage of 4 worst stinging pest

San Antonio is a beautiful city with many great perks, but there are a few dangerous critters you need to look out for — like ants, killer bees, scorpions, spiders, and more. Let’s focus on the four worst stinging pests in San Antonio, the Alamo City.

Fire Ants

fire ant on a tree
Photo Credit: Pixabay
headshot of Molly Keck
Molly Keck

Fire ants are common in San Antonio. According to Molly Keck, Integrated Pest Management Program Specialist and Board Certified Entomologist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service in Bexar County, fire ants are probably the worst stinging pest in the area.

“They are found everywhere,” she said. “You can get into them without realizing, and they can be an issue on sports fields.” 

Here are some reasons why fire ants are among the worst stinging pests in San Antonio. These stinging pests:

  1. Build up mounds in yards and are very difficult to get rid of
  2. Survive torrential storms and rains 
  3. Are fierce, but small in size
  4. Defend their mound to the death 
  5. Swarm your leg if you happen upon a mound or accidentally step in it
  6. Sting you: One ant can sting you multiple times, and many ants can sting you all at once.

Health Implications

The main symptoms at the sting site may start out as redness, burning, pain, and swelling. If the reaction is severe, anaphylaxis can occur, in which case it’s best to call your local emergency number as soon as possible. 

Pest Control: Baits Over Pesticides

Keck says the best way to eliminate them is by using baits every fall and spring. “Usually baiting in the fall means less bait, fewer ants, or no ants in the spring,” she said. She recommends baits over other types of pesticides because:

  • They are food for the fire ants.
  • Smaller percentage of pesticide in the environment
  • The target is specific to fire ants: The bait gets picked up and taken into the nest. The ants carry it off the ground.
  • Baits are more environmentally friendly overall. 

Note: There’s no way to eradicate them on a small or large scale, so there isn’t anything that will keep them away. But baiting twice yearly will significantly help reduce populations in future years.

Africanized Bees

Africanized honey bee
Photo Credit: Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Bugwood.org / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 3.0

Africanized honeybees (aka the Killer Bees of San Antonio) first made their way to the city in the early 90s and are here to stay – and they can be deadly. Keck states, “Africanized bees have interbred with European honeybees (that got out of managed hives) to establish feral hives, and we now have Africanized/European hybrids in all our feral colonies.”

She also said that they “consider all feral colonies to have the Africanized gene in the state of Texas, so much so that we don’t even do DNA testing to determine Africanization.”

Interesting to Note: Even those who manage bees as beekeepers will get Africanized colonies if they don’t requeen often and allow their colonies to requeen. (The virgin queen mates with feral (Africanized) drones, and then every baby is partially Africanized.) If you allow that to happen repeatedly, the colony gets “hotter.”

Health Implications

When this bee stings, it releases a pheromone that attracts other bees to join in the attack. It’s been estimated that around 1,000 stings could be fatal for an adult human. Given that Africanised bees attack in large numbers, it’s no wonder they’re nicknamed “killer bees.”

Pest Control: You’ll Need the Pros

Killer bees are nothing to mess with! If you suspect you have them on your property, don’t approach them. Instead, connect with a licensed pest control company for removal.

Striped Bark Scorpion

Striped Bark Scorpion on sand
Photo Credit: JasonOndreicka / Canva Pro / License

Unfortunately, the striped bark scorpion likes to call San Antonio home. In most cases, their sting isn’t fatal, but if this creepy little stinging pest gets you, it definitely hurts! 

Striped bark scorpions are usually about 2 to 3 inches long and like to hide out in your yard and your house. You see them more around San Antonio during the warmer spring and summer months, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t present the rest of the year — they are just hiding, so watch out!

Health Implications

The bark scorpion resides mostly in Arizona but can also be found in parts of California, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. It is considered one of the most dangerous species in the United States. 

Its sting can cause severe symptoms, so it’s important to seek medical attention immediately if you or someone you know experiences any of the following:

  • Numbness throughout your body
  • Difficulty breathing and swallowing
  • Slurred speech and thick tongue
  • Seizures
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle twitching
  • Elevated heart rate

Pest Control: Eliminate Their Hiding Spots

You can reduce the striped bark scorpion population around your home by eliminating their favorite hiding spots, such as unused logs, stones, and debris. Use weather stripping around doors and windows to keep them out. 

Also, you can do a thorough sweep using a UV flashlight at night since scorpions are known to glow under ultraviolet light. This will help you identify lurking scorpions inside and outside your home.

Brown Recluse Spider

Photo Credit: PeteMuller / Canva Pro / License

The brown recluse spider is one of the most venomous pests in Texas and San Antonio. It lays its eggs between April and October, which is when it’s the fiercest. The bite doesn’t hurt, but its venom can cause necrosis, leading to more serious health issues.

You can identify these spiders by their sandy brown body and dark center marking. Its legs are lighter than its body, and it has no other markings. If you spot a brown spider with stripes, spots, or other markings, it’s not a brown recluse.

Be Aware: If these spiders decide to call your property home, they can multiply exponentially. You may find them in places like wood piles, sheds, or even in drawers or cabinets inside your home! If you discover an infestation, it’s best to seek professional help.

Health Implications 

Brown recluse spiders, hence the name, are rarely spotted or recognized. Interestingly, when they bite, it often goes unnoticed. However, the venom is quite potent and can cause injury and death of surrounding tissues, known as necrosis. In rare, severe cases, the venom can even result in secondary infections, disfiguring skin ulcers, and pain.

Unfortunately, no antidote is available, but death is unlikely. The typical protocol for treatment is managing the wound and preventing infection. 

Pest Control: Call In The Pros

Dealing with a brown recluse spider infestation in your home can be a serious matter due to the harmful effects of their bites. It is highly recommended to seek the assistance of a professional pest control company to handle this issue, as even experts find it challenging to manage infestations of these spiders.

A two-pronged approach is often most effective if you’re experiencing a stubborn infestation of brown recluse spiders. This strategy involves a blend of potent insecticides and rigorous sanitation practices.


What Other Stinging Insects Do San Antonians Have To Watch Out For?

San Antonians are not immune to other stinging insects, including wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets. Late summer and early autumn are when wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets are most active and their colony is in its peak stage. If you get stung by these insects, you could have an allergic reaction.

What do they all have in common? 

• They all have a stinger.
• The stinger will produce painful stings. 
• The sting could be followed up by anaphylaxis (potential allergic reaction).

What Are The Symptoms of Anaphylaxis?

Anaphylaxis is a potentially life-threatening allergic reaction that can progress rapidly. It is also known as anaphylactic shock. The symptoms of anaphylaxis may include:

Skin reactions such as hives, itching, and pale or flushed skin
Low blood pressure (hypotension)
Airway constriction with a swollen tongue or throat leads to wheezing and difficulty breathing
Additional symptoms include a weak, rapid pulse, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, or fainting.

What Other Poisonous Spiders Are in San Antonio?

The black widow spider is notorious for its venomous bite. This spider can be found lurking in both indoor and outdoor spaces across San Antonio and Texas. Outdoors, it prefers dark, protected spots, such as under rocks, meter boxes, boxes, woodpiles, and outdoor portable toilets.

Black widows can be extremely dangerous to both humans and pets. The potent neurotoxin in their venom can lead to severe and even fatal reactions. 

Interesting to Note: The black widow’s venom is 15 times more toxic than the prairie rattlesnake’s.

Call In The Pros

Are pesky, stinging pests causing a buzzkill in your daily routine? Worry no more! Pest Gnome helps you find peace of mind by connecting you to the best pest control companies in San Antonio. Equipped with the latest knowledge, tools, and years of experience, they can easily tackle all your pest problems. Homeowners, say goodbye to irritating pests and hello to a pest-free life!

Striped Bark Scorpion: William Van Zyl / Canva Pro / License
Brown Recluse Spider: PeteMuller / Canva Pro / License
Fire Ant: huafires / Canva Pro / License
Africanized Bees: Robby_Holmwood / Canva Pro / License

Jennifer Lester

Jennifer Lester is a freelance writer and social media strategist who covers a variety of home and garden topics. She’s a graduate of Texas A&M University and the proud mom of three boys. In her spare time, she volunteers in her community and her children’s schools.