Bee & Wasp

The bald-faced hornet isn’t actually a true hornet, but an aerial yellow jacket.  It’s easy to identify since it’s Michigan’s only black and white yellow jacket.

Description

It gets it’s name from the black and white marking on it’s face, thorax, and abdominal. They range in size from 12mm to 15mm, with queens being bigger ranging from 18mm to 20mm.

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Bald Face Hornet on it’s nest.

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Sting

Despite their large size (bigger than yellow jackets), bald face hornets are less aggressive compared to yellow jackets. However, they are still able to sting multiple times because of their smooth stinger. Most stings from bald face hornets are a result of their nest being disturbed or threatened.

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Carpenter bees are large, yellow and black (or blue-black) bees that become active in early spring.  This bee is commonly 2/3 to 1 inch long, usually with a shiny abdomen and a yellow thorax.  Its look-alike cousins (bumble bees) have a fuzzy abdomen.  Although it is rare to be stung by one, their sheer size is scary and people generally stay clear of them.  Bumble bees do not bore into wood, as do carpenter bees.

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Male carpenter bees spend most of their time flying around the nest playing guard. This is ironic as nature has left him with no stinger. The female can sting, but she is normally very docile.

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Yellow Jackets are one of the best known wasps in Michigan, as well as the least liked. This is because yellow jackets are dangerous and are responsible for the majority of all insect stings. They inject a venomous fluid under the skin.

Yellow Jackets have a smooth stinger allowing them to sting as much as they want. These stings can be very painful.

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Between the spring and fall we find ourselves in close contact with them because they nest in and around our homes. Another reason is because they’re attracted to many of the foods we enjoy eating outdoors.

Identification

Yellow Jackets are among the smallest of the stinging pests. A typical yellow jacket worker is about 0.5 inches (12mm) long with the queen being larger, around 0.75 inches (19mm). They are black and yellow with alternating bands on the abdomen.

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