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  1. #1
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    Default Over Wintering. A Western Paper Wasp (Mischocyttarus flavitarsis)

    Here is a photo of paper wasps over-wintering in a dead out. These are the source of bee predation later in the year. Each one that you see develops her own paper nest. They did not last long when they were introduced to my hive tool1.

    Paper wasps are often mistakenly called yellowjackets by the non-entomologist. These wasps are much longer in body and have a very thin "wasp-like" waist. They make nests under the eaves of houses, in bushes, in empty boxes and garden pots, etc. These nests are relatively small, consist of only one layer of comb for brood rearing and are never covered with a paper envelope (that is, when you look at the nest, you can see the wasps and the comb; yellowjacket nests are covered with a paper envelope). Paper wasp nests only reach a colony size of about 100 wasps. Paper wasps are brown and yellow whereas yellowjackets are usually black and yellow.


    Ernie
    Last edited by BEES4U; 03-02-2009 at 10:58 AM. Reason: edited my posting
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default

    Those are what we refer to as paper wasps. I know that names can be confusing in the wasp world. What we have are also referred to sometimes as paper wasps. The nests are similar except that our yellow jacket version is mainly subterranean and will sometimes be found in a closed structure like a house wall.

    We also have a lot, many varieties of paper wasps that build like yours do. And they can be found in empty hives or hanging out under tops. They are usually red or brown but about the same size and body build your yellow jackets have. Hateful critters they are! Very defensive of their nests and don't tolerate abuse anytime. Our yellow jackets are the same as well. Problem with them to often is that they are hidden from site underground until you step on them or disturb the ground some way. Then you know they're there, when you run away with a angry crowd of bees on your tale and 20 or 30 stings later! They test the hives constantly later in the season. Probably irritates me more than the bees. There's little that gives me more pleasure than wacking as many of all the wasps that I can find.

    No, not really. I try to control them some around the bees and keep them out of my space where living together isn't easily done. Other than that, I think some of them are pretty to look at and interesting to watch. They are just another one of Gods creatures trying to make a living and survive like the rest of us. Some of them help quite a bit with other insects and critters that are more of a nuisance than they are.

    By the way, nice pic bees!
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  3. #3
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    Volga, SD
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    Default

    Like has already been pointed out, these are paper wasps (Polistes is the genus, Vespula is the genus for yellowjackets). Big difference in social organization: paper wasps are social, and each female can and will lay eggs; yellowjackets are eusocial, so only the queens can lay fertilized eggs (like honey bees).

  4. #4
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    Vespa

    here is a closer photo for ID. Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  5. #5
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    Default Vespa Germanica

    Vespa germanica
    Do you have this introduced species?
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  6. #6
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    Default By the way, nice pic bees!

    Thanks.
    I am still understanding how my new camera functions.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  7. #7
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    Loganville, GA
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    Default

    Looking at some pics of Vespa germanica I can only say that we have some that look like that. I can't say for sure? When they get started up this year I'll get my yellow jacket traps going around the hives and take some pictures of all the different ones that show up. I'm guessing there are at least a half dozen different ones around here. They range in size from that of a fruit fly to that of a honeybee. I never knew that there were so many different ones around. A couple with markings that I have never seen before.

    I've also seen some pretty cool paper wasps in the past couple of years that are new to me.(or at least they appear to be paper wasps) Amazing colors on some. Very interesting behaviors also. They seem as curious about me as I am about them.
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  8. #8
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    Mar 2008
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    Ennis, TX USA
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    Default

    I think you have Mischocyttarus flavitarsis. Western Paper Wasp

    http://bugguide.net/node/view/45845/bgimage

    http://www.insectimages.org/browse/s....cfm?SUB=11327
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  9. #9
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    Default

    I find the overwintering YJ's or hornets in the fall, they overwinter in leaf cover. Whoo hooo, those mama's are big 'uns! They make impressive bug collections for the kids

    Yeah, the wasps are more of a pain in the kiester, though! Madam wasp, meet Monsieur Hivetool...

  10. #10
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    Jul 2008
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    Limestone Co, Alabama
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bizzybee View Post
    Looking at some pics of Vespa germanica I can only say that we have some that look like that. I can't say for sure?...
    http://www.forestpests.org/publichealth/socialwasp.html

    This sight gives good descriptions and pictures of the most common South Eastern wasps. Notice the similarities between the Eastern and Southern yellow jackets and the Guinea Wasp. All three of these are bad news for the picnicker and gardener. You have never lived until you experience the adrenalin rush one gets from weed eating or mowing over the Southern Yellow Jackets’ underground nest. The largest is the Red Wasp. A really painful stinger too, but you usually have to trash talk about its mother to rile it up a Red Wasp.

    As a young boy I was the terror of the Blue Gill slough and the Shell Cracker hole. I would collect an 8 pound orange sack full of fresh wasp nests and hang them up in the peach orchard till needed. Needless to say there was always a new crop of nurse wasps of every species on the nests when I went to fetch fresh fish bait. I became quite a connoisseur of wasp stings and their relative levels of pain, swelling, and the likely hood which one would get you.
    Scrapfe---Never believe anything in politics until it has been officially denied.--Otto von Bismarck.

  11. #11
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    Default

    I too continue to be amazed at the number of different species of bees and wasps.

    I'm beginning my 4th year beekeping and durin that time have become more aware of all the different kinds of bees.

    We have one here in Orlando, I only see it in the fall and it is HUGE. They average I'd say 1 1/4 inches and I saw one last fall that was like 2 inches long. They are kind of scary.

    They are so big I can wack them out of the air (sometimes) with my hive tool.
    Troy

  12. #12
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    I too continue to be amazed at the number of different species of bees and wasps.

    I'm beginning my 4th year beekeping and durin that time have become more aware of all the different kinds of bees.

    We have one here in Orlando, I only see it in the fall and it is HUGE. They average I'd say 1 1/4 inches and I saw one last fall that was like 2 inches long. They are kind of scary.

    They are so big I can wack them out of the air (sometimes) with my hive tool.

    I bet you are seeing the cicada killer. Pretty scary. But not not illed tempered.
    Chuck Norris has a grizzly bear carpet in his room. The bear isn't dead it is just afraid to move.

  13. #13
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    Default Hornet

    Quote Originally Posted by Troy View Post
    I too continue to be amazed at the number of different species of bees and wasps.

    I'm beginning my 4th year beekeping and durin that time have become more aware of all the different kinds of bees.

    We have one here in Orlando, I only see it in the fall and it is HUGE. They average I'd say 1 1/4 inches and I saw one last fall that was like 2 inches long. They are kind of scary.

    They are so big I can wack them out of the air (sometimes) with my hive tool.
    if this was a true(aggressive) hornet you would not smack at them twice. they laugh at a bee suit and can and will repeatedly sting, then go get help from their hive. (add mad laugh here) this is the voice of experience!
    "Wine is a constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy" Ben Franklin

  14. #14
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    Apr 2005
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    Salem, Oregon
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    Sold Out Want to rent out that hive?

    Right before returning home from California I was contracted to grade some hives for another grower.
    I can tell you for certain that MANY of the hives that I opened had less stinging insects in them than your picture.
    Maybe a bit off topic, but all too true.
    I have exactly ONE hive more than you.
    That makes my opinion beyond question.

  15. #15
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    Algonquin, IL, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek View Post
    I bet you are seeing the cicada killer. Pretty scary. But not not illed tempered.
    Here's one I filmed. My Kid's reactions to it are funny.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Om7QAI112Dw

  16. #16
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    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
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    Default

    I too think that the huge wasps were cicada killer wasps. I have plenty of them in my yard. They make huge piles of dirt as they build their homes in the ground to lay eggs and leave a cicada to feed the eggs. I have a bunch of pictures that I have taken of these wasps. Their venom is not suppose to be harmful to us. At least that is what I have found on the 'Net.

    Use to see wasp nests in the wild that sometimes would measure 2 or 3 feet across in SC. They would be in a bush or tree near the water. You would see them while fishing in a boat. I was always carefull when fishing in the "woods" or swampy areas in a lake, river, or pond.

    Guess that's why beetle spins work so good when fishing. They are shaped just like wasp larva.
    De Colores,
    Ken

  17. #17
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    Kiel WI, USA
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Scrapfe View Post
    Notice the similarities between the Eastern and Southern yellow jackets and the Guinea Wasp. All three of these are bad news for the picnicker and gardener.

    They have their benefits in the garden, but they also sent my cousin to the ER when he was weed-eating.

  18. #18
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    Murfreesboro, TN, USA
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    Default

    "Notice the similarities between the Eastern and Southern yellow jackets and the Guinea Wasp"

    I started to mention Guinea Wasp. I have been stung by them when I was younger in SC. At least that's what my uncle and dad said they were. I walked up on a nest in the ground and they almost ate me up. They hurt as bad as the big red wasps.
    De Colores,
    Ken

  19. #19
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    Default

    Back to the topic, and sorry about this, but the wasps in the pictures are not Vespula germanica, and are not Mischocyttarus.

    The wasps are clearly in the genus Polistes, but which species would need closer examination of some specimens.

  20. #20
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    Default Back to the topic, and sorry about this

    I know the genus and specie of the wasp in the photo.
    I asked about the germanica because it was introduced into this country and is established in certain areas. It's another introduced pest.
    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

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