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Many of you know that many people who do not keep bees, or have not been seen a colony of honeybees, automatically assume that anything that flies and might sting is a "bee." That's fine by me; it's a simplification we use in our language. We do the same thing with "cars" "cats" and "airplanes." But, the lack of distinction where colony-based insects are involved has led me to a number of instances in which I was asked to help remove/collect honeybees that were in fact wasps, hornets or bumblebees. So far a phone conversation has been sufficient to determine what type of insect is actually being observed. Usually, people are happy to have learned some of the differences.

I stumbled across the link below, which contains some basic information about honeybees, and common wasps and hornets, in one page. I thought I'd share it and ask if anyone knows of a similar summary, perhaps one that includes photos of the nests. You can, of course, also provide your own stories about mistaken swarm calls and how you have learned to avoid them (or wish you had).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Characteristics_of_common_wasps_and_bees
 

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Nice find Chemguy, I really like the single page format. I had to dig to find an Adobe pdf document regarding yellow jackets, wasps and hornets. I stumbled upon this a few months ago; however, it is not a single page format. The document is put out by Utah State University and gives good narrative in addition to photos of the little buggers and their nests. The first link will be for the pfd document and the second will be for the download page.

http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/factsheet/yellowjackets-hornets-wasps09.pdf

https://utahpests.usu.edu/htm/factsheets/publication=5330&custom=1

As a kid I was frequently stung by hornets as I managed to find many nests in the back alleys of my small hometown in Idaho. These nests, some the size of large footballs made nice targets for my rock throwing skills. Even got another kid I didn't like (bully) to ride his bike by the nest really fast during one of our pitching sessions. I remember him hollering all the way to the next block. I don't remember seeing many yellow jacket nests growing up, but that town must have been ground zero for hornets.
 
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