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Wasp Identification Chart

Wasp identification guide - species and types -wasps.

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Wasps

Wasps are generally seen as a benefit to the environment, wasps are predatory flying insects. Wasps are a great source of organic pest control on gardens, farms, and crops. The're are commonly two types of wasps, solitary wasps and social wasps. Social wasp species live in large numbers. Wasp nests are abandoned by late autumn, the queens individually over-winter until spring. Wasps eat meaty things, spiders, and sweets. Wasps can be more hot-tempered than bees, and should be treated with caution. If you’re trying to eliminate nuisance wasps attached to your home or near a doorway, it is best done at sunset or very early in the morning; if inside the house or near the window, there is likely a nest in the attic. Below are pictures, identification, and information on common wasps in the U.S. and Canada.

Yellow Jackets

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YellowJacket2
Yellow Jacket3
Yellow Jacket4




Size
: 1/2 inch in size.
Type
: Social Wasp
Population
: Up to 5,000 members per nest. Nests have multiple layers.
Region
: North east, mid east and south east regions of US, and in Canada.

Often mistaken for honeybees, yellow jackets are just a bit quicker, smaller, and are a brighter yellow vs. the more orange color of honeybees. Honeybees will often be caring noticeable yellow sacks of pollen on their back legs, while yellow jackets do not. Yellow jackets may also be identified by a rapid side to side flight pattern prior to landing. They are scavengers eating meats and sweets and often found in parks or disrupting picnics or other park events. Yellow jackets are sometimes called meat bees, sweet bees, or ground bees. They are generally found nesting in holes in the ground about golf ball to a softball in size; they defended their home very aggressively. Contrary to the honeybee, yellow jackets can sting repeatedly, do not lose their stinger, and do not die after stinging. The stings often cause a swelling reaction followed by itching for a few days. Seasonally yellow jacket colonies can reach a size of 4,000 and 5,000 workers and can create a nest of 10,000 and 15,000 cells by August or early September.

Occasionally yellow jackets nest in wall voids and attics, they can end up by accident in the house in large numbers. This is usually preceded by a slow growing wet spot on the ceiling caused by the nest. Every so often, a curious homeowner will poke or push their finger right through the deteriorating ceiling and end up with an unfortunate surprise. It’s generally considered unwise to try to remove an active yellow jackets nest yourself.

Like all wasps, yellow jackets abandoned their nest by late autumn, the queens will hibernate until early spring often in attics. If you have un-wanted yellow jackets in your attic, in winter to discourage them returning in spring, you can put up some chemical cards labeled for yellowjackets, perhaps one to every 3 studs / bays - based on instructions.


Hornets

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Hornets2
Hornets3
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Size
: Up to 2 inches in size
Type
: Social Wasp
Population
: Have up to 700 members per nest.
Region
: Hornets are most popular in the US north east region, and in Canada.

Hornets or bald faced hornets may look similar to yellow jackets in color, but hornets are perhaps twice as long and thicker. Hornets are slightly less aggressive than yellow jackets and like most wasps, hornets can sting multiple times with a very strong painful sting. Hornets build warped ball shaped nests ranging in size from football to basket ball. They can be found in attics, walls, and attics on the side of a building, in bushes, tree branches or halows. It’s generally considered unwise to try to remove a hornets’ nest without experience. While many hornet species are yellow and black, there are also white and black hornets. Hornets like other wasps abondon the nest by late autumn the queens overwinter and are known return to the same or a nearby location.

 

Paper Wasps

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Paper Wasp Nest2




Size
: 3/4 to 1-1/2 inch long.
Type
: Social wasps
Population
: Nest sizes generally consist of 5 to 30 wasps
Region
: Most popular in West and South east regions of the US and in Mexico.

There are many species of paper wasps in the US. Paper wasps are typically long with yellow and rusty brown or black stripes. Nests are naked or open and made of grayish paper-like material that is honeycomb shaped. Paper wasp nests are about the size of a hand or smaller containing 4 to 30 wasps per nest, not to be confused with hornets which are similar in shape, but have larger enclosed hives. Paper wasps are often found hanging under the eaves, but can also be found in attics, trees, as well as other structures. Paper wasps attack when aggravated and have a painful sting; they can also sting multiple times and do not loose there stinger.

Occasionally these wasps are found inside the house. This happens when a nest is living in the attic and there is perhaps a bit of light entering the attic from a ceiling fixture. In this case the wasp goes to the light thinking it leads back outside but ends up in the house. At this point the wasp will typically fly around near the windows looking for an exit. Wasps are much more comfortable navigating inside of a house than honeybees are, as honeybees simply go straight to the window and buzz until exhausted.

 

Mud Wasps






The 3 types of mud wasps seen here and shown below: mud daubers, potter wasps, and pollen wasps are typically found in the same surrounding areas as one another. They earned the name Mud Wasps, as they construct their homes from mud or clay. Mud wasps nest in the ground as well as in attics, on walls, businesses, and under bridges. Mud wasps are solitary wasps and vary from 1/2 inch to 1 inch in size and have relatively small nests. Prior to winter they abandon the mud nests and overwinter until spring time.

 

Mud Daubers

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Mud Dauber2




Size
: Up to 1 inch long
Wasp Type
: Solitary wasps
Population:
: Small nests, perhaps 3 to 20 wasps with tube-like cells.
US Region
: South east and West

Mud daubers have a very compressed alien like look with their skinny needle like waist they are sometimes called thread waist wasps. Mud daubers (also called dirt daubers) are commonly identified by their mud nests which are hard flat oval and tube shaped. Mud daubers nests rang from the size of a peanut to a large lemon but rarely get that thick. The mud dauber species seldom sting and are not protective of their nests. Mud daubers typically attach under eaves, porches, walls and attics. Mud daubers prey on spiders and are said to particularly enjoy black widow spiders.

 

Potter Wasp

Potter Wasp1
Potter Wasp2


 

Size
: 1/2 inch long
Wasp Type
: Generally solitary wasps
Population:
: Very tiny nest sizes
US Region
: These wasps are located in the South East and West.

Sometimes called mason wasps, potter wasps build "pot" or jug shaped nests less than a size of a lemon. Out of all wasp species, potter wasps have the largest diversity of species, which have been classified into about two hundred groups as shown in wikipedia. potter wasp species.

 

Pollen Wasp

Pollen Wasp1
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Size
: 3/4 inches long
Wasp Type
: Solitary wasps
Population:
: Smaller than average nest size.
US Region
: These wasps are located in the South East and West.

Pollen wasps are sometimes mistaken for yellow jackets because of their size similarity and they burrow their nests in ground however pollen wasps differentiate by their large clubbed antennas; nests are constructed out of mud and water. Pollen wasps are similar to many solitary bees in that they feed their young entirely on nectar and pollen, hence the name "pollen wasp". Rocks or crevices low to the earth also make attractive nesting sites for pollen wasps.



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