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

Subject: Wasp?
Location: Central PA
September 10, 2013 2:59 pm
This insect shows up on our covered back porch above the door at night only after the porch light had been on for awhile. I never see them during the day. I believe they live behind the porch light. They are about 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 inches long. My wife thinks they are cicada killers, but I believe they might be scarab hunter wasps. They seem pretty docile and have never stung anyone. I do have a sting allergy and have some reservations about using this door at night. Anyone light you can shed on this would be very much appreciated.
Signature: Rick Davis

European Hornets

European Hornets

Dear Rick,
These are European Hornets, an introduced species that might be negatively impacting native species by preying upon them and displacing them in the food chain.  They might have a nest in the attic.  We have read on BugGuide that they are attracted to lights, so your letter is evidence that is correct.

Dear Daniel,
Thanks for the quick reply.  You certainly nailed this one.  According to the literature you referenced, the nest will move on after the queen dies.  (I made a small donation to your site.)  Thanks again.
Rick

That was very kind of your Rick.  Thanks for the support.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: hornets and nectar
Location: North Carolina
September 7, 2013 11:57 am
I am enjoying taking photos of the hornets and have started to appreciate insects now that my hummers have left for the winter. In trying to research online, I found that I don’t have much knowledge about these critters. Thought these were Japanese Hornets but now wonder if they are European. Also, thrilled to see photo of Bald Faced on your site….one identified.
I have been curiously watching these large hornets make trip after trip from the hummer feeder up into the trees. Obviously nest is up there somewhere. My question is how do they use the nectar? Is it food, used to produce something like honey bees do, feed the queen or others, or…….?
Appreciate identification and any information as to dangers from and also any benefits they may have in nature.
Any books on flying critters that you would recommend…..anything like a field guide or such?
Signature: estack

European Hornets

European Hornets

Dear estack,
Your action photos are gorgeous.  You are correct that these are European Hornets,
Vespa crabro.  Many adult wasps and hornets feed on nectar and other sweets, like overripe fruit and sap, but they hunt insects or other sources of protein to feed their larvae.  This is also true about the European Hornets.  Since European Hornets prey upon insects and they are not native, European Hornets might have a negative impact on native species.  We cannot think of a good book that concentrates on strictly flying insects, unless you want to be specific like a butterfly guide or a dragonfly guide.  For a general guide to insects, we strongly recommend Eric Eaton’s book Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America.

European Hornets

European Hornets

Thank you so much for such a quick (and kind) reply.  I hate to harm any wildlife, but these hornets have become and are quite a problem.  I may have to find an exterminator to help locate the nest and help me eliminate the main source.  They do tend to get into my house at night – following the light – and I am violently allergic to stings, as is my dog who finds them wonderful “toys” to chase.
Thank you again so very much and I’ll follow up on finding the reading material you suggested.
Ena

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Huge Bee type bug
Location: Wrentham, MA
September 7, 2013 2:35 pm
My daughter thought she had a mouse in the attic above her bedroom ceiling. Upon investigation, my husband found these in the area of the house. They’re about 2-3 inches long. Are they a bee? Or maybe a wasp? We’re not quite sure what they are and what we need to do about them. It’s Sept 7th in Wrentham, MA, USA.
Signature: Stephanie G

European Hornets

European Hornets

Dear Stephanie,
These are European Hornets, and judging by the number, we are guessing there is a nest hidden past that opening.  According to BugGuide they live in:  “Woodlands. Paper nest is built in hollow trees, or in human structures such as attics. Adults come to lights.”
  BugGuide also notes:  “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.  Based on that information, we would speculate that nothing needs to be done about them at this time since the colony will be dying with the queen and any progeny will most likely nest elsewhere.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: bees
Location: costa rica
May 19, 2013 2:07 pm
Hi!
we saw these nest of bees, in Costa Rica.
We saw very well the activity inside the nest!
Any idea about the species? Not easy, I can believe!
thanks
fred
Signature: fred from belgium

Paper Wasp Nest

Vespid Wasp Nest

Hi Fred,
These are not bees.  They are Paper Wasps in the genus
Polistes

Paper Wasp Nest

Vespid Wasp Nest

We found a matching photo on Nature.Com on a page entitled An Introduction to Eusociality, but they are only identified to the genus level.

Paper Wasps:  genus Polistes

Vespid Wasps: genus Polybia

Correction courtesy of Cesar Crash via comment:  Polybia species
Thanks to Cesar’s comment, we looked up his link to the Animal Communications Project where we scrutized the photo of the Polybia Wasps.  We did a web search of the genus and found BugEric which mentions they are Vespid Wasps.  Eric writes:  “Thanks to Google image searches, I eventually pinpointed the wasp as the species Polybia emaciata. It is one of the few social vespid wasps that builds its nest of mud instead of paper. The more durable nature of the mud envelope allows the wasps to “hunker down” or flee when faced with a potential attack by a vertebrate predator. Contrast this behavior with the violent attacks launched by social wasps that build relatively flimsy nests of paper.”  Thanks to Eric’s comments, we have moved this to the Hornets and Yellow Jackets category.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: flying insect
Location: New Jersey, interior
April 19, 2013 9:24 am
Hi there! This one was on an upstairs window screen this morning, and its size is what struck me: it’s close to 2 inches in length.
I’d like to remove the screen to free it to the outside but need to know if it stings (I’m allergic and must be careful of such things…).
Thanks for your help!
Signature: Mila

European Hornet Queen

European Hornet Queen

Dear Mila,
This is a European Hornet,
Vespa crabro, a species introduced to North America in the 1800s.  We suspect this is a queen that recently emerged from hibernation and that she will look for a suitable place to begin building a new nest to start a new colony.  See BugGuide for additional information.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: type of bee, wasp or hornet
Location: brooklyn, ny
April 6, 2013 10:18 am
brooklyn, nyelp me identify this? Found it in the winter mulch in one of my garden beds today as I started cleaning up for spring.
I didn’t move much, cleaned head and wings, took a few steps here and there, seemed interested in the wood chips.
Signature: thanks!

Queen Baldfaced Hornet

Queen Baldfaced Hornet

This is a queen Baldfaced Hornet and she is probably chewing wood into pulp in order to construct a paper nest.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination