Size: Honey bee adult worker is 1/2-5/8 in (11-15 mm) long; queen is 5/8-3/4 in (15-20 mm) long. The pointed abdomen extends beyond the wing, and has a smooth stinger. Drones are 5/8 in (15-17 mm) long, with no stingers.
Color: Orange-brown to sometimes black; body covered with pale hairs.
Biology: The queen mates once, and can lay 1,500-2,000 eggs in a day. Young workers tend the brood, build the comb, ventilate the hive, guard the entrance. Older workers gather pollen, nectar and “bee glue”, a waxy substance from tree buds. Swarms go to a tree branch 1-2 days until finding another hive, hollow tree, or wall, where there is shelter.
Damage: They are defensive, not aggressive, attacking to protect colony. However, stings can be painful, sometimes severe. Remove barbed stinger with fingernail or knife blade; do not rub or scratch
Color: Brownish with yellow markings; some species with reddish markings.
Nest: Paper wasps make paper-like nests with an umbrella-like shape. There is a single layer of comb with cells that open downward, hanging down by a single, narrow strand. There is no outer “envelope”. The cells remain open. The thin strand may help keep ants and other intruders out. Nests are smaller than 6 by 8 inches, with about 150-250 cells.
Biology: A single egg is laid in each open cell and the larvae are fed protein from insects. Later the cells are capped when the larvae are ready to pupate.
Food: Insects and Nectar
Damage: Paper wasps are beneficial insects. They feed on many insect pests. However, they can and do sting when disturbed, which can be a problem if a nest is touched by someone doing pruning or fruit picking, or if there is a lot of human activity near a nest.
Size: Yellow jacket adult workers are 3/8-5/8 in (10-16 mm) long, depending on species; queens are 25% longer.
Color: Abdomen usually has yellow and black bands, but some species are white and black, and two northern species have red markings.
Nest: A paper-carton nest which eventually has 30-55 compartments surrounded by a paper “envelope”. It is made of chewed cellulose.
Biology: Each colony has a queen that lays the eggs, female workers that do not reproduce, and males that come forth in late summer, being reared in the same cells that were earlier used for the workers.
Food: Insects and Nectar
Damage: Yellow Jackets are beneficial as they eat many pest species. They may sting when the nest entrance is approached, and can be aggressive, stinging several times.