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Common bees in nyc including wasps

Wasps and bees are beneficial insects, although they are generally considered to be pests because of their ability to sting. Wasps, in particular, can become a problem in autumn when they may disrupt many outdoor activities. People often mistakenly call all stinging insects "bees". While both social wasps and bees live in colonies ruled by queens and maintained by workers, they look and behave differently. It is important to distinguish between these insects because different methods may be necessary to control them if they become a nuisance.


honeybee

Honey Bee

Honey bee (Apis mellifera) is the only bee, or wasp, that produces a persisting perennial colony. During winter, honeybees survive clustered together within their hive. The queen, the only fertile female, begins to lay eggs in late winter and the young are fed on stored pollen and nectar. At midwinter the size of the colony may only number around 10,000, but numbers increase with the presence of flowering plants that provide food.

Wasps have a slender body with a narrow waist, slender, cylindrical legs, and appear smoothed-skinned and shiny. Yellowjackets, baldfaced hornets, and paper wasps are the most common types of wasps encountered by people.


The majority of bees in the honey bee colony are workers—females that are infertile solely because their diet during development was insufficient for them to mature into a fertile queen. All of the bees—workers, the queen, and the few males (drones)—are dependent on each other and can not survive for long outside the colony.


In this sense, a honey bee colony is often described as being a “super organism” where all the individual insects have essential roles on which the entire colony depends. As a result, reproduction of honey bees is different and requires that the colony periodically subdivide, a process known as swarming. During swarms about half the colony leaves the hive along with the queen and attempts to establish a new colony. The remaining bees then rear a new queen, who may begin to lay eggs 3 or 4 weeks after a swarming event.


Honey bees are not aggressive insects, although they will readily defend the colony. Most stings occur when people step barefooted on bees visiting ground covers or when they accidentally are trapped in clothing. The foraging bees seen visiting flowers do not attack.


bumblebee

Bumble bee

bumble bees (Bombus spp.) are native to Colorado. Up to two dozen species are present in the state. All are heavy bodied, quite fuzzy and banded orange or yellow and black.


Bumble bee colonies are produced annually. Fertilized queens survive the winter and attempt to establish colonies in spring. Oftentimes bumblebee nests occur in abandoned rodent burrows, but they may also occur in other small hollow spaces, particularly if there is insulating debris available.


The size of bumble bees varies with the season. Large queens are observed first, followed by the tiny workers she has reared. As the colony increases, the size of the bumble bees that are produced also increases. New queens and males develop by the end of the summer


Yellowjackets (Vespula spp.) are banded yellow or orange and black and are commonly mistaken for honey bees, but they lack the hairy body and are more intensely colored. Yellowjackets typically nest underground using existing hollows. Occasionally nests can be found in dark, enclosed areas of a building, such as crawl spaces or wall voids.


Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jackets

Nests are enclosed in a paper envelope, but they are not exposed nor observed unless excavated. The nest entrance is small and inconspicuous. Colonies are readily defended and yellowjackets will sting when the nest area is disturbed.


The western yellowjacket (V. pensylvanica) is, by far, the most important stinging insect in New york. Late in the season, when colonies may include up to 200 individuals, they become serious nuisance pests around outdoor sources of food or garbage. The western yellowjacket is estimated to cause at least 90 percent of the “bee stings” in the state.


wasps

Wasps

Hornets (Dolichovespula spp.) produce large, conspicuous grayish paper nests in trees, shrubs and under building eaves. The most common species is the baldfaced hornet (D. maculata) which is stout-bodied and marked with dark and white striping. Hornets feed their young live insects and do not share the scavenging habit of yellowjackets. Nests often attract attention because of their large size, but hornets rarely sting unless the colony is seriously disturbed.


Paper wasps (Polistes spp. and the western paper wasp, Mischocyttarus flavitarsus) make paper, open cell nests which are not covered by a papery envelope. Often these nests are produced under building overhangs. However, a new species to New york.


European paper wasp (Polistes dominulus), will also nest in small cavities in the sides of buildings, within metal gutters and poles, outdoor grills, and similar items. Paper wasps are more slender-bodied than other social wasps. Most native paper wasps are reddish-brown and marked with yellow, but the European paper wasp is marked with shiny black and yellow, allowing it to be easily mistaken for a yellowjacket.


Paper wasps are beneficial predators of caterpillars and other insects and do not scavenge. However, the habit of the European paper wasp to nest in many locations around a yard has greatly increased the incidence of stings associated with this group of wasps.


It is during the spring and summer that these insects become active. When these seasons come, check your home for signs of an early infestation and do the necessary steps to avoid the worsening of the infestation.


paperwasps

Paper wasps

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