Currently viewing the category: "Hornets and Yellow Jackets"
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

Unknown Wasp

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.

Unknown Wasp

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.

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