Currently viewing the category: "Hornets and Yellow Jackets"
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

Subject:  Bald-faced Hornet or Blackjacket?
Geographic location of the bug:  Andover, NJ
Date: 06/23/2018
Time: 06:13 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  I found this robust looking hornet at the edge of the woods on our property a couple of days ago.  It doesn’t look quite right for a bald-faced hornet to me, although several have insisted that it is one.  I think it looks better for a Blackjacket, which would also be a new species for me.
Can you give me some wisdom?
How you want your letter signed:  Deborah Bifulco

Parasitic Yellowjacket

Dear Deborah,
We always enjoy your submissions.  Quite frankly, we do not know how to easily tell the difference between a Bald Faced Hornet and a Blackjacket, but we are working on getting you an answer.  Our gut instinct is that this is a Bald Faced Hornet.  We have contacted Eric Eaton for assistance.

Parasitic Yellowjacket

Eric Eaton Responds
Daniel:
Oh, wow, this is neither Bald-faced Hornet nor Blackjacket.  It is a social parasite of the Aerial Yellowjacket.  It is called the Parasitic Yellowjacket, Dolichovespula arctica.  Always a great find!  They are not that common.
https://bugguide.net/node/view/14075
and my own blog post:  http://bugeric.blogspot.com/2017/07/one-of-these-is-not-like-others.html
Eric
author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America

Hi again Deborah,
BugGuide also indicates:  “The species most easily confused with the Parasitic is the Blackjacket.”  Eric Eaton’s blog posting is very informative, including the statement that the Parasitic Yellowjacket “has no worker caste like the Aerial Yellowjacket, only reproductive females, and males.”

Well, how cool!!  I am so glad I sent this to you.  I just didn’t think it was a bald-faced, but would never have come up with this identification without your and Eric’s help.  Thank you!

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  What’s this bee?
Geographic location of the bug:  Orange County, NY
Date: 05/26/2018
Time: 08:17 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Woke up to find this giant bee IN MY BEDROOM this morning. It wanted out (and I wanted it out) and somehow everyone left the room alive. It was a significantly large bee — unquestionably the biggest I’ve ever seen, and solidly in the inch-long realm.
How you want your letter signed:  Thanks

European Hornet

This is not a bee.  It is a European Hornet, a species introduced to North America at the end of the nineteenth century.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Large bee
Geographic location of the bug:  Berks County Pennsylvania
Date: 05/20/2018
Time: 11:13 PM EDT
Your letter to the bugman —
This bee was found in my garage. I’ve never seen one so big. Unfortunately it was killed before I could get to it. The picture doesn’t do it justice. It’s about the thickness of a pinky finger. The giant Asian hornet is the only thing I could find that looked similar. Should I be worried?
How you want your letter signed:  Oswald

European Hornet

Dear Oswald,
This is a European Hornet, a species introduced to North America toward the end of the Nineteenth Century.  It has naturalized.  Though European Hornets are not aggressive, they will sting to defend a nest.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject:  Bald faced hornet nest
Geographic location of the bug:  Washington D.C. Metro area, USA
Date: 05/19/2018
Time: 07:57 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  A couple weeks ago I was surprised when I noticed a “beehive” (I know they’re not bees) newly under construction right to the side of my garage. I was really surprised because it’s being built ON the siding! I was able to find out it’s a bald faced hornets nest. Now I need to figure out what to do about it. From what I’ve researched it should only be the Queen in there right now…which would explain why I’ve only ever seen one hornet on it. I don’t wanna kill her like everyone keeps telling me to but I do need to remove it. What is the best way to do so where I’m not gonna get killed by this thing or kill her?!
*I may have a slight irrational fear of all things “bee”.
The first pic I included is of the nest about three days ago. The second pic is just to show where on the house the nest is located.
How you want your letter signed:  Christine O.

Bald Faced Hornet Nest

Hi Christine,
We can see by the images you provided that this Bald Faced Hornet nest is positioned so it is near the entrance to your home.  Hornets are social wasps that will defend the nest.  While we acknowledge your quandary regarding this matter, alas we do not provide extermination advice.  We would advise you to act before the queen Bald Faced Hornet’s first brood become adults as the workers will help her to defend the nest.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination