Currently viewing the category: "Hornets and Yellow Jackets"
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

Subject: mass of bugs on downed sycamore
Location: Baltimore, MD
August 20, 2012 11:08 pm
I noticed masses of this bug on a sycamore that had been downed by a recent storm. This part of the tree was leaning, not on the ground. The tree is located in a park in woods near freshwater wetland.
I’ve included one photo with a bee to provide size comparison.
Thanks.
Signature: Martha

Giant Bark Aphids and Yellow Jacket

Hi Martha,
You have submitted photos of Giant Bark Aphids,
Longistigma caryae, and here is what we learned about them on BugGuide:  “This is the largest aphid in North America with adults averaging about 1/4 inch long. They also have long legs which makes them appear even larger. Males and some females are winged but egg laying females are wingless. They are brown with black markings (giving them somewhat of a mottled appearance) and have short, black cornicles. When alive they are often partially covered with a bluish white, waxy secretion.  BugGuide continues:  “Activity usually begins in late April in Oklahoma. An adult female gives birth to live young and a colony is formed on the underside of the branches of the host tree. Several generations occur during the summer and fall. Activity continues into mid-November in some years. Late in the fall females lay eggs in bark crevices or on the smooth bark of smaller limbs. The eggs are yellow when laid but later turn black. They are the overwintering stage.”  Sycamore is listed on BugGuideas a host plant and the complete list of host plants is:  “American elm, pin oak, live oak, post oak, blackjack oak, pecan, hickory, sycamore, and golden rain tree. Other trees which might be infested include maple, basswood, birch, beech, walnut, chestnut, and willow.”  We suspect the felled tree was oozing sap which attracted the Yellow Jacket.

Giant Bark Aphids

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: European Hornet eating Dragonfly
Location: Westfield, NJ, USA
July 16, 2012 10:58 am
My own internet research led me from my initial suspicion of ”Cicada Killer” to a more accurate labeling of ”European Hornet.” I pulled into my driveway in Westfield, NJ, got out of the car, and heard a strange buzzing/flapping noise. The dragonfly was on its back, struggling, with the hornet clinging to its thorax. By the time I got batteries in the camera, the battle was over, and the hornet was butchering its catch, presumably taking pieces back to the hive.
I have more photos, and even videos of the carnage! If you’re interested, check out http://www.flickr.com/photos/53449201@N06/sets/72157630604296946/
This was an amazing event. I had to leave before the hornet was done with its work, and when I returned home an hour later, all that remained was all four wings of the dragonfly, attached to a tiny piece of thorax exoskeleton! I saved them in a tupperware.
Signature: Jordan

European Hornet kills Dragonfly

Hi Jordan,
This is not the first time we have received documentation of a European Hornet preying upon a Dragonfly.  Since the European Hornet is an introduced species and since we doubt there are many natural predators of Dragonflies in the insect world, the cumulative effects of such predation might have negative ramifications on our local Dragonfly populations.  Thanks for your excellent description of the events.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination