Wasps and hornets are common in the northern hemisphere. From summer to fall, North America experiences a season full of these little creatures. But every part of the globe has wasps and hornets, as there are several hundreds of species scattered all throughout the planet. Though they may be beneficial to humans by controlling insect population, they do pose some threats too.
Some common species of wasps and hornets are:
The most common type of wasps is called the yellow jacket. Characterized by their bright yellow and black body stripes, they may be mistaken for bees. This type is very aggressive because they sting more than once and the females are the ones who are more aggressive. They are the same size as a honeybee. Yellow jacket is also the common name for white and black wasps and the bald-faced hornet.
Yellow jackets are commonly found living in the ground, tree hollows, and cavities in rocks or cemented buildings. Their venom is only dangerous if a person is allergic to it but if it stings repeatedly, that is when it can be life-threatening.
This type of wasp is also known as umbrella wasps because of their nests, which are shaped like honeycombs. Their nests, which are water resistant, are made of dead plant and wood fibers and mixed with their saliva. They measure two centimeters long and have yellow markings on their bodies which may be black, brown or red. North America is home to over 20 species of paper wasps. This type of wasp only attacks when it is disturbed but their sting may be fatal to some humans with certain allergic reactions. Their nests may be found in buildings, barns, house entrances, shrubs and trees. These are very hazardous so beware of a paper wasp’s nest.
These hornets are black and white and are bigger than paper wasps and yellow jackets. They are common in the southeastern part of the United States. Like paper wasps, they only attack when their nests are being threatened but they are similar to yellow jackets because they sting viciously and repeatedly.
Their nests are oval-shaped, large, reaching about three feet and are found hanging on trees or buildings. Usually, their nests are colored gray. This makes them sensitive to vibrations so one must be very careful around their nests.
Mud Dauber Wasps
This species of wasps are known to be solitary and relatively docile. They are characterized by their long and slender bodies with a needle-like waist. They may be all black, yellow and black, or metallic blue. Their name comes from their nests, which are made of mud and created by the females. The mud is molded into place, which may look like a series of organ pipes. Their nests are found on ceilings or walls. They seem to be a relatively safe species of wasps, as they do not attack humans even when their nests are threatened. They prey on black and brown widow spiders.
It is easy to identify wasps and hornets as each species have their own set of characteristics and physical attributes.