Bees, Hornets & Wasps

Bald-Faced Hornet

These hornets are about 5/8" to 3/4" long. The queen can be about 3/4" or larger. They are black with a pattern on the face that is mostly white. Their nest is paper enclosed and gray in color. They can be found in shrubs at ground-level or up to 66 (sixty-six) feet or higher in trees. They can also be found in houses, utility poles, sheds, or other structures. Once a nest is used, and weather gets cooler, the nests are not reused the next season. Only new, inseminated queens hibernate and survive the winter. The founding queen of the nest, workers, and males all die. The new queen will relocate the nest in a new season and begin again.

Carpenter Bee

The Carpenter Bee is about 1/2" to 1" in length. They have a robust body shaping resembling bumble bees. They their name from their habit of boring into wood to make galleries for their young. These are not social bees and they do not live in nests or colonies. They will live in a wide range of woods but weathered, unpainted wood is preferred. Such wood includes decayed live oak, deciduous oak, eucalyptus, and other hard woods. Male Carpenter Bees are territorial and can become aggressive when people approach, sometimes hovering and buzzing in front of someone's face or head. However, males do not have a stinger so it is an act of show and intimidation. Females do have a potent sting which is rarely used.

Cicada Killer

This wasp is quite large. They are about 1" to 1-5/8" long. They are black to rusty with yellow markings on its abdominal segments. They nest in the ground and will dig their burrows. Females will not sting unless handled or stepped on, while males will buzz people but they cannot sting. These wasps get their name by locating a cicada, stinging it, and bringing the paralyzed cicada back to the burrow. One to two cicadas may be brought back to the burrow where an egg is placed in them. The wasps larvae will then feed on the paralyzed cicada. These wasps generally emerge in July and August.

Paper Wasp

These wasps are about 5/8" to 3/4" long. They are brownish in color with yellow markings, some have reddish markings. They hang their comb nests from twigs and branches of trees and shrubs. They can also hang the comb nest from places like porch ceilings, the tops of window and door frames, soffit, eaves, attic rafters, etc. When trimming trees, scrubs, or picking fruit off of them, a person that comes in contact with the nest has a high probability of being stung.

Spiders Wasp

These wasps can be about ¾" to 1 ¾" long. They are usually black or blue in color. Some have orange bands, but not all. Their wings are usually black or bluish, but sometimes are a reddish or yellowish color. They can usually be found on flowers or on the ground searching for spider prey. They capture a spider of similar size; a single spider must provide enough food for each larvae. They will capture and paralyze a spider prey before they construct a nest for it. They will paralyze a spider prey and lay an egg on it for the larvae. These wasps are solitary wasps. They are not social and do not live in colonies. The sting of a spider wasp is extremely painful, sometimes being violent. Great care should be used around them.

Yellow Jacket

Yellow Jackets get their name from their yellow and black bodies. They measure between ½" to 1" in length. They are known to be aggressive defenders of their colonies, yet they are not quick to sting humans. The sting of a Yellow Jacket is painful and each insect is capable of delivering multiple stings. Many are ground-nesters. Their colonies can be found under porches or steps, in sidewalk cracks, around railroad ties, or at the base of trees. Sometimes the queen finds an abandoned rodent burrow to use as a nesting place. Some can build aerial nests in bushes or low-hanging branches or in the corners of buildings and other man-made structures.

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