Common Wasp and Hornet Species
Contrary to its name, bald-faced hornets are in fact wasps, not hornets, and go by many names: white-tailed hornet, yellow jacket or bull wasp. But if you’re better with faces, you can remember the bald-faced hornet by the distinctive white markings covering its face and body. This pest is highly territorial of its nest and will sting repeatedly if provoked.
The bald-faced hornet is widespread throughout the contiguous United States, Alaska and Canada. It is most common in the southeastern United States.
Northern Paper Wasp
For every colony of northern paper wasps, one queen calls the shots. As a species characterized by its colonies and reproductive dominance, northern paper wasps take their lead from the behavioral patterns of their female leader. And the queen means business: she uses threatening postures to establish hierarchy over her subordinates.
Northern paper wasp populations are found throughout temperate North America, from southern Canada to Central America.
They show up uninvited to your backyard picnic. They buzz under the eaves of your garage. They swarm around the outdoor pavilion at your local park. Mud wasps can be a real “buzz kill.”
But not to fear: mud wasps or mud dauber wasps, are unlike some of their feisty, stinger-happy relatives. The ‘lone wolf’ of the wasp species, mud wasps build nests on their own without the support of a colony and sting only to hunt down their prey.
Ground Digger Wasp
The ground digger wasp (also known as the cicada Killer wasp) is a large, buzzing, hovering insect with no problem invading your personal space. They may be non-aggressors beloved by gardeners for permeating soil and pollenating flowers, but don’t let their gentle reputation fool you. Female ground digger wasps will use their needle-like stingers when provoked. Ouch!
Ground digger wasps are widespread across North America, especially in areas east of the Rocky Mountains.
Any homeowner knows the nuisance of coming across a bee nest when cleaning the gutters. Perhaps named after the very handyman they take after, the wood-warping carpenter bee has the ability to drill through wood with nature’s original power tool, the jaw.
Widespread across the country, the carpenter bee is found in a diverse range of habitats, from tropical and subtropical, to temperate climates. You’ll see this species swarming from Florida to Arizona in the south and as far north as New York.