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

Subject:  European hornet ?
Geographic location of the bug:  north Georgia
Date: 05/02/2019
Time: 06:13 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman :  Found this hornets’ nest at the base of a tree in north Georgia.  The guards at the entrance were all fanning the nest.  I think this is the European hornet but would like confirmation.  Sorry the photos are blurry – actually they are freeze frames from a long video clip.  FWIW I am a Patreon donor to WTB!
How you want your letter signed:  Bruce Carlson

European Hornets

Hi Bruce,
Thanks for your patronage.  We apologize for the delay, but Daniel is currently in Ohio for Mother’s Day and the internet here is woefully slow.  These are definitely European Hornets. At first we were not convinced this is a nest because European Hornets and many other Wasps will feed on sap that is oozing from trees.  According to BugGuide:  “Paper nest is built in hollow trees, or in human structures such as attics” so we also concur that this is a nest.

European Hornets

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Wasp indoors in winter
Geographic location of the bug:  Grayslake, Northern Illinois
Date: 01/04/2019
Time: 01:16 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  My young cats found this wasp buzzing in the window today. Temps are a bit warmer than normal in the low 40’s, but I thought wasps died off in the winter and never expected to see one in January. Can you help me identify and figure out why (s)he’s in my house? I’m not one to kill things but I don’t want the cats to eat it or get stung either.
Thank you for all of your work!
How you want your letter signed:  Karin

Yellowjacket Queen

Dear Karin,
We believe this is a queen Yellowjacket, probably the Eastern Yellowjacket,
Vespula maculifrons, which is pictured on BugGuide.  Each spring, a female queen begins a new nest that grows over the summer and autumn, but the nest dies over the winter and reproductive female Yellowjacket queens hibernate, beginning new nests in the spring.  We suspect you encountered a hibernating queen.  Since few insects are sighted in northern climes during winter months, we have decided to make this posting our Bug of the Month for January 2019.

Yellowjacket Queen

Yellowjacket Queen

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Cocoon
Geographic location of the bug:  Inside a shed hanging from ceiling
Date: 01/02/2019
Time: 02:42 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi. Just wondering what insect(?) Emerged from this?
How you want your letter signed:  Yvonne

Hornet Nest

Dear Yvonne,
We can’t help but to wonder if your ceiling is in Sydney, Australia or Schenectady, New York, or perhaps some other place on the planet.  This appears to be the early stages of a Bald Faced Hornet nest, so depending upon your location, this might be the nest of a related species  If summer just began in the Southern Hemisphere for you, this nest is probably being constructed.  If you are in the grips of a northeastern North American winter, this nest was probably long abandoned.

Thanks.
I live in Tasmania, Australia. It is the size of a tennis ball. I havent touched it to determine if its occupied. Its in a barren shed used as a change room at a local country pool. (So only used in summer). It is suspended from a ceiling joist. There was no activity for the 10 minutes we were in the shed. This was in the daytime
Cheers yvonne
Another suggestion was a polyphamus moth??
Just cant find an exact replica on google images.

Thanks for the clarification Yvonne.  This is not a moth cocoon.

Thanks Daniel. Will keep an eye on it. See what develops. Yvonne

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bee or wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Andalusia, Spain
Date: 10/22/2018
Time: 12:35 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
Are these bees or wasps? where feeding on bottle brush. They where not small, much bigger than paper wasp, but they looked much more wasp like than a bee.
Malaga province,  Spain,  October 22, 2018
Thanks in advance
How you want your letter signed:  Perry

Vespid Wasp:  Vespa bicolor

Dear Perry,
This is definitely a Wasp and not a Bee.  It looks to us like one of the Paper Wasps in the genus
Polistes, but we have not found any images from Spain on the internet that resemble your individual.  Perhaps one of our readers will be able to substantiate or provide a correction.

Vespid Wasp:  Vespa bicolor

Correction:  December 29, 2018
Thanks to comments from several of our readers, though the species is still not identified, we now know that this is one of the Hornets or Yellowjackets in the subfamily Vespinae.

Update Regarding Permission to use images:  February 28, 2019
Dear Mr Marlos,
Thank you very much indeed for the pictures and the information on the terms of use!!  The main reasons I’m interested in using one of these images in my paper are that they show the species close-up and in great detail and that what you see is the living wasp going about its business, as opposed to any photographs of preserved, pinned specimens I could have contributed using my own material. Now let’s hope “Perry” does provide information on the locality where he took the photographs: it’s likely to lie inside the wasp’s known Spanish range, but, who knows, it might be a new locality/area, and that would increase our knowledge of the subject.
Best wishes,
Leopoldo Castro.

You are most welcome Leopoldo.  The submitted letter indicates the images were taken in “Malaga province,  Spain,  October 22, 2018.”

Dear Mr Marlos
My little investigation has born fruit, and here’s the “happy ending”.
On Friday I spent some time surfing the ‘net, with unexpectedly good results: first I found out what the photographer’s full name was, then I got hold of his email and finally I was able to contact him. He has kindly provided the exact locality (Mijas), as well as some other relevant details. This part of the puzzle is now complete, and I can move on to the next phase, thanks to your help and his.
Best wishes,
Leopoldo Castro.

Congratulations on your diligence Leopoldo.  I began What’s That Bug? in 1998 as a column in a zine called American Homebody that eventually became a website when the zine editor, and a collaborative artist on other projects I did, decided she wanted to learn web design, so What’s That Bug? became an online column on a website.  When Lisa Anne suggested I purchase the domain name in 2002 because my column generated more mail than the rest of the website combined.  I have been answering inquiries for 17 years, and I no entomological credentials, nor any science background.  I am an artist, so it gives me great satisfaction each time I am contacted because of the important sightings documented in our extensive database.  I’m so happy I was able to facilitate your research.
Daniel

Dear Mr Marlos,
After a very short editorial process, I’ve had the paper on Vespa bicolor published by an entomological journal, and you can find it attached. As you’ll see, your valuable help is duly acknowledged at the end of the article (sorry that it’s in Spanish… the paper’s mostly aimed at Spain’s scientific community) (but’s it’s got a lot of international hits in the seven days it’s been available on the ‘net).
Best wishes,
Leopoldo Castro.
2019 Castro =V. bicolor[CAS19A]

Hi again Leopoldo,
Congratulations on your quick completion of your paper.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Wasp or ?
Geographic location of the bug:  Andover, NJ
Your letter to the bugman:  I found a couple of these big wasps feeding on my mountain mint this morning and my first thought was “eastern yellow jacket”.  But as I looked closer, they don’t quite look right for the easter yj’s.  Any thoughts?  There were only two and they were very happy to nectar in among the bees and mason wasps.  No signs of aggression.
How you want your letter signed:  Deborah Bifulco

Possibly Common Aerial Yellowjacket

Hi Deborah,
After the last time we misidentified your Parasitic Yellowjacket, we demonstrated that we don’t really have much in the way of entomological chops.  According to BugGuide, in the subfamily Vespinae which contains Yellowjackets and Hornets, there are “22 spp. (of which 4 adventive or 2?) in 3 genera in our fauna” and many look remarkably similar.  This individual looks to us like it might be the Aerial Yellowjacket,
Dolichovespula arenaria, which is pictured on BugGuide, but it is not represented on Insect Identification for the Casual Observer using the New Jersey Hymenopteran filter.  Of the Common Aerial Yellowjacket, BugGuide states:  “They have mostly aerial nests, from a few centimeters above ground to the tops or trees, or houses or sheds. But in some cases they build nests under rocks or even underground.”  Does that look correct to you?  We can’t say for certain.

Possibly Common Aerial Yellowjacket

Hi Daniel,
I had actually wondered if it might be The Common Aerial YJ, but I just wasn’t sure.  I’m inclined to agree that this seems the most likely id for this big wasp.  Interesting, though, that Bugguide describes them as being primarily predatory and these were definitely after nectar, totally ignoring the many other tasty insects on the mint.
The mountain mint has yielded a couple of interesting feather-legged flies this morning so I’m going to take a crack at id-ing them, but may be back for an assist on one.  I also saw, for the briefest of moments  Great Black Wasp, which was thrilling.  She buzzed me a few times before taking off.  I don’t see them all that often here, so that was pretty exciting.
Best
Debbi

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Scary looking bug
Geographic location of the bug:  In ancient Pompeii
Date: 08/11/2018
Time: 08:52 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Have seen quite a few of these on holiday in Italy. This particular one is in the ruins of Pompeii but many were not. Could you attempt to identify I’d be interested to know what it is
How you want your letter signed:  George

Oriental Hornet

Dear George,
When we searched for Hornet sightings in Pompeii, we found this FlickR posting of an Oriental Hornet,
Vespa orientalis.  According to Encyclopedia of Life, the Oriental Hornet:  “is a social insect of the Vespidae family. It can be found in Southwest Asia, Northeast Africa, the island of Madagascar, and parts of Southern Europe. Oriental hornets have also been found in a few isolated locations such as Mexico due to human introduction. The Oriental hornet lives in seasonal colonies consisting of caste system dominated by a queen. The hornet builds its nests underground and communicates using sound vibrations. The hornet has a yellow stripe on its cuticle (exoskeleton) which can absorb sunlight to generate a small electrical potential, and it has been suggested that this might help supply energy for digging. The adult hornet eats nectar and fruits and scavenges for insects and animal proteins to feed to their young. Because they are scavengers, the hornets may also serve as a transmitter of disease following consumption infected plants. The hornets are a primary pest to honey bees, attacking bee colonies to obtain honey and animal proteins. The sting of an Oriental hornet can be quite painful to humans and some humans are allergic to stings.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination