Bug ID?
August 4, 2018 12:29 PM   Subscribe

What kind of bees are these?
posted by Dashy to Home & Garden (14 answers total)
Not bees. Wasps.
posted by BWA at 12:33 PM on August 4, 2018

Bodies are almost entirely black.
posted by Dashy at 12:36 PM on August 4, 2018

It would help to know where you live, even if it's just the continent you are on.

But yeah, probably paper wasps.
posted by fshgrl at 12:59 PM on August 4, 2018

Bees don’t make paper, wasps do. Do you really care what they are or do you just want a course of action?

If you want a good species level ID, yes we need location, and preferably photos of the wasps.

All Vespidae hang their nests from a thin petiole. Beyond that there are nest-based dichotomous keys you can use.

Ignoring is a fine option, paper wasps are fairly non-aggressive (at least non-vespinae, which I don’t think these are) and will not bug you if you don’t bug them.

If you want to destroy this relatively harmless annual colony, you mostly destroy them all the same way. Basically get up real early, wear protective gear, and hit it with long range wasp spray.
posted by SaltySalticid at 1:07 PM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

> Bodies are almost entirely black.

With white, especially on the face? Bald Faced Hornets. You want to be really fuckin' careful around them.
posted by humboldt32 at 1:29 PM on August 4, 2018

I used to be on call for wasp control as part of a wild-areas planting management program. I used a modified gas fire-extinguisher with 10 grams of carbaryl (nasty but quick) and a very long rigid pressure line right into the nest (wear a mask). So if you live in a city your Council or Extension may do this for free as it's normally regarded as a public nuisance.

oh and always check your running away route BEFORE you pull the trigger. Paper wasps are IMO the nastiest of all wasps.
posted by unearthed at 1:35 PM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

"Paper wasps are IMO the nastiest of all wasps."

Boy, that sure is different from my experience, granted, I've never gone around destroying wasp nests and given the wasps reason to feel agressive towards me.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 2:10 PM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

Location: PA, USA.
posted by Dashy at 2:16 PM on August 4, 2018

Pics on Google for bald faced hornets are a match. Thanks. We'll take good care.
posted by Dashy at 2:19 PM on August 4, 2018

I’ve had paper wasps right by a shed door, and regularly put my face within inches of it, and they never bothered me. Not all paper wasps are equal, yellowjackets and hornets can be jerks, they are Vespinae.

A dark paper wasp in PA is most likely a polistes species, which are generally known to be fairly non-aggressive.

although generally not aggressive, they can be provoked into defending their nests. All species are predatory, and they may consume large numbers of caterpillars, in which respect they are generally considered beneficial.

Polistes wasps can be identified by their characteristic flight; their long legs dangle below their bodies, which are also more slender than a yellow jacket.

On preview: yes a white face and thick body is probably a hornet.
posted by SaltySalticid at 2:21 PM on August 4, 2018 [1 favorite]

"Paper wasps are IMO the nastiest of all wasps."

We have Tasmanian paper wasps here which are something else.

And I've seen them take up home around narrow pedestrian ways where contact is inevitable. NZ has some native wasps which are not a problem but 5 exotic species constitute an environmental nightmare which also threaten native bird life through taking all the food.
posted by unearthed at 2:23 PM on August 4, 2018

I had paper wasps, no big deal until they were looking for places to sleep in Fall, and would not leave me in peace to oil the deck. They like to come back the next year. In the US, you can call the CoOperative Extension Office for advice.
posted by theora55 at 2:42 PM on August 4, 2018

Possibly useful idea: I removed a small paper wasp nest from our outdoor shower this spring. They kept coming back, trying to reestablish so I stuffed a bundle of fresh mint in the crevice per online suggestions and they gave up.
posted by Botanizer at 3:27 PM on August 4, 2018 [2 favorites]

Get an expert out to remove them. You do not want to mess with hornets if you don’t know what you’re doing.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:37 PM on August 4, 2018

« Older Best books on the science of eating and weight...   |   Car is hurting my back :( Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.