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

Subject:  Is there a special name for this unusual wasp?
Geographic location of the bug:  Manchester, UK
Date: 08/22/2019
Time: 03:24 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Dear Bugman,
A friend of mine saw this wasp a few days ago and thought it was unusual, so he decided to take a picture. He has red feet and a bit of a long nose (the wasp, not my friend). I think he just looks like a normal wasp, but my friend wonders if there’s a special name for him.
Is he special? Or just a run-of-the-mill wasp?
How you want your letter signed:  The person who asked you about a boxelder bug 15 years ago

Yellowjacket

Dear person,
This looks to us to be a Yellowjacket.  According to CountryFile:  ”  What is the most common wasp species found in the UK?  The wasp in question is the yellowjacket (
Vespula vulgaris), the black and stripy species you often find yourself swatting away. The reputation of this and a few other species has tarred that of another 200,000.”  Social wasps like the Yellowjacket sting much more readily than do solitary wasps.  If we identified a Boxelder Bug for you 15 years ago, you have a very long history with our site.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  I’m resending bald-face hornet girdling gridwork on bark.
Geographic location of the bug:  Tonasket WA
Date: 06/27/2019
Time: 08:11 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I sent this about a week ago and got the confirmation e-mail and I realize you can’t post everything. I did kinda wonder if the picture came thru as I’m on Windows 7 and I’ve had problems with the upload before. So, just checking. I was told BF hornets did it. I thought, Makes sense, thy use the bark to make their paper nests. Then I looked it up! I read they do it to make the sap run and then they eat it! They are “vegan?” and only gather insects and B-B-Q (haha) to provision their babies. Apparently they can girdle a tree, but this pattern leaves bark and cambium to continue the sap flow. Can you verify this behavior? Or if something else did, do you know who? I don’t think it’s our red-naped sapsucker, they leave a grid work of little round drilled holes, and they’re the only sapsuckers we have. Thanks.
How you want your letter signed:  Cathy

Did Hornets damage this tree???

Dear Cathy,
We cannot confirm that Hornets damaged this tree, but if your theory is correct, they should revisit the site to feed.  We have images on our site of European Hornets (introduced to eastern North America) stripping the bark off of lilac bushes.  We will attempt further research into this matter.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What kind of nest is this?
Geographic location of the bug:  Near roof under eaves
Date: 06/08/2019
Time: 08:10 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  We found this nest under the roof of our house in northern Illinois
How you want your letter signed:  Zena

Bald Faced Hornets Nest

Dear Zena,
This looks like the nest of a Bald Faced Hornet in its early stages of construction.  When complete, it will be about the size of a football.  According to Bee Friendly:  “Bald Faced Hornets become active each year in the early spring (March-April) when the fertile Queen comes out of her underground winter den and begins to forage on flies and other insects, including smaller wasps and bees, while she scouts for a nesting site for the coming year. The new colony will typically build up its population, through the Spring and Summer months (May-Sept), to an average number of 700 members. During the cooler weather of the Autumn (late Oct.) the colony will produce short lived male wasps and fertile females that will then mate and seek out hibernation dens for the winter.The entire colony will eventually die off in mid to late November when the prey insects have all disappeared.”  Hornets will not reuse an old nest.  Hornets are social wasps and they will defend the nest.  Hopefully the nest is high enough in the eaves that human movements will not alarm the inhabitants.  They will sting to protect the nest.

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