Currently viewing the category: "Hornets and Yellow Jackets"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Large insect with wasp prey
Location: West coast of British Columbia
July 29, 2015 3:43 pm
I took these photos on July 29/15 in the town of Nanaimo, on the west coast of British Columbia. This awesome creature was on a salal leaf, in a dry forest of Douglas fir, hemlock, and arbutus. I wanted to get a side view shot as well, but it must have been bothered by my intrusion into its juicy meal, and flew away. Can you tell what species it is? I think I’ve narrowed it down to the Laphria genus, Robber flies.
Thanks a lot. Love your site!
Signature: John Segal

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Yellowjacket

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Yellowjacket

Dear John,
Because of the thick antennae that helps to identify the genus, we agree that this is a Bee-Like Robber Fly in the genus
Laphria, and after searching through 10 pages of species on BugGuide, we have narrowed down the possibilities to five species that have yellow thoracic hair and that generally resemble your individual, which appears to be feeding on a Yellowjacket based on this facial closeup on BugGuide.    The abdomen on Laphria fernaldi appears too orange to be your species.  In alphabetical order, the most similar looking species on BugGuide are:  Laphria astur Laphria janusLaphria partitor and Laphria unicolor.  Of those, we believe the images of Laphria astur on BugGuide look the closest, but we are by no means experts in the identification of Robber Flies.  Thanks for your excellent Food Chain contribution, and in the future, we can accept larger digital files to ensure the highest quality of the images on our site.

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Yellow Jacket

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Yellowjacket

Hi Daniel,
Thanks very much for helping me identify an insect I’ve never seen before.  I really appreciate it.
Those photos are about 650 X 450 KB; the size I use for email. Let me know if you’d like me to send them again, as larger files, and what the maximum size is that you can receive.
Thanks again.  Excellent website you have there!
John

Hi John,
We can easily accept 5MB files.  We are then able to crop into details like the antennae on this Bee-Like Robber Fly.  You may send them larger and we will crop to some details.

Hi Daniel,
Great! Okay, here are my two photos, each about 1.7 MB.
Thanks again for your great website, and all the work you do for us bug-curious types!
John

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Yellowjacket

Bee-Like Robber Fly eats Yellowjacket

Thanks for sending the higher resolution files.  Since you already cropped the images the first time, we were not able to magnify much more, but we did move a bit closer.

Karl Anderson, Sue Dougherty, Ann Levitsky, Andrea Leonard Drummond liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Tree Party!
Location: Va Beach, VA
July 16, 2015 5:33 pm
June bugs with ??? Wasp? Hornet?
Signature: Thanks!

Green June Beetles and Bald Faced Hornets feeding on sap.

Green June Beetles and Bald Faced Hornets feeding on sap.

You are correct.  There must be sweet sap running from this tree, and sap with its high sugar content is an excellent food for many species of insects, including the Green June Beetles and Bald Faced Hornets in your image.  It appears there is also an Ant in the lower edge of your image.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Bald faced hornet nest?
Location: Connecticut
June 7, 2015 5:23 pm
Sorry for posting twice! We wonder if this is a bald faced hornet nest and what you can tell us about it? Thanks!
Signature: Don’t understand

New Hornets Nest

New Hornets Nest

This does indeed appear to be a newly constructed Bald Faced Hornets Nest, and we are supposing that the only flying inhabitant at this time is the queen, though her initial brood is probably developing in the nest now.  Toward the end of the season, the nest will grow to the size of a football, or even larger, and according to The Study of Northern Virginia Ecology:  “One nest may hold up to 700 hornets.”  Bald Faced Hornets are not considered aggressive, but they will defend the nest and they are capable of stinging. 

Thank you for your quick response! It is amazing what bees can do! Let me know if you would like more photos as it progresses. Have a wonderful day! Cheryl

Hi Cheryl,
We are happy to hear you are going to let the nest develop.  We would love additional images.  We are going to be away until the end of June and not responding to emails in our absence, but by the time we return there should be changes in the appearance and activity around the nest.
  Please continue to use Bald Faced Hornet Nest as the subject line.

Bryan Sharp, Ann Levitsky, Jill Brinjak Setaro, Kitty Heidih liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Hornet or Wasp
Location: Kannapolis NC
May 20, 2015 11:40 pm
This giant thing was trying to make a nest in my paper lamp! It was huge and looked pretty dangerous…we let it go outside…maybe not the best decision?!
May 2015 location NC.
Signature: MForrest

European Hornet

European Hornet

Dear MForrest,
This is a European Hornet,
Vespa crabro, and introduced species.  You may read more about the European Hornet on the Penn State Entomology page where it states:  “”The European or giant hornet is an introduced species first reported in the United States in 1840 in New York. Currently, its geographical range extends from the Northeastern states west to the Dakotas, and south to Louisiana and Florida. It belongs to a family of wasps called the vespids, which encompass all of the yellowjackets including the bald-faced hornets. Technically, the European hornet is the only true hornet in North America and is large and will aggressively defend their nests. Homeowners should be cautious when attempting to manage this hornet.

Thank you!
I have a young child.  This makes me very concerned…we will be cautious and keep an eye out for anymore.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: curious…
Location: north nj
May 12, 2015 9:26 pm
Can’t figure out if this is a European wasp, or a Japanese wasp. I’m in North Jersey.
Signature: adam minick

European Hornet

European Hornet

Hi Adam,
This is a European Hornet and we believe it is a queen.  According to BugGuide:  “Queens emerge from hibernation during the spring, and they search for a suitable location in which to start a new nest. They build the nest with chewed wood pulp, and a few eggs are laid in individual paper cells; these eggs develop into non-reproductive workers. When 5-10 workers have emerged, they take over the care of the nest, and the rest of queen’s life is devoted solely to egg laying. The workers capture insects, bringing them back to the nest to feed the brood. Workers need more high-energy sugary foods such as sap and nectar, and hornet larvae are able to exude a sugary liquid which the workers can feed on.  The nest reaches its peak size towards mid September. At this time the queen lays eggs that develop into males (drones) and new queens, she then dies shortly after. The new queens and males mate during a ‘nuptial flight’, after which the males die, and the newly mated queens seek out suitable places in which to hibernate; the old nest is never re-used.”

Sue Dougherty, Ann Levitsky liked this post
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Indian or Hobomok skipper?
Location: Great Falls Park, Virginia
August 24, 2014 4:27 pm
Looking at various sources, I am not sure one can tell the difference, but do you have an opinion as to whether this is an Indian or Hobomok Skipper? Both look just like what I photographed as far as I can see. No other angles, unfortunately, as didn’t move until it flew off. I am also attaching a photo of what presumably is a Cicada Killer Wasp (it was after all, killing an Annual Cicada!), mainly because it has a great deal more yellow than any photo I can find – is this just natural variation? A difference between the sexes? Or is there a sub-species I haven’t seen mentioned?
Signature: Seth

European Hornet kills Cicada

European Hornet kills Cicada

Hi Seth,
We will address the Skipper question later, but most Skippers look alike to our untrained eye.  What you have mistaken for a Cicada Killer with prey is actually an invasive, exotic European Hornet, a formidable predator that can take down very large prey.
  According to BugGuide:  “Predatory on other insects, used to feed young.”  There is also this elaboration:  “The workers capture insects, bringing them back to the nest to feed the brood. Workers need more high-energy sugary foods such as sap and nectar, and hornet larvae are able to exude a sugary liquid which the workers can feed on.”

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination