Carpenter bees are about 1″ (25 mm). Large black and yellow bees with a shiny black abdomen and a shiny black bald spot on the thorax. Males have a yellow patch on their faces, while females have black faces.
Carpenter bees are considered beneficial pollinators and are nearly harmless to humans, but females can sting if they are handled. Structural damage is done by females, which carve out dime-sized holes in exposed wood and excavate several tunnels where they lay their eggs. Over time, this may result in serious damage to structural wood. Males are quite noticeable as they hover near the galleries of working females, guarding them from intruding males. Males cannot sting.
Carpenter bees overwinter as adults in wood within abandoned nest tunnels. They emerge in the spring, usually in April or May. After mating, the fertilized females excavate tunnels in wood and lay their eggs within a series of small cells. The cells are provisioned with a ball of pollen on which the larvae feed, emerging as adults in late summer. The entrance hole and tunnels are perfectly round and about the diameter of your finger. Coarse sawdust the color of fresh cut wood will often be present beneath the entry hole, and burrowing sounds may be heard from within the wood. Female carpenter bees may excavate new tunnels for egg laying, or enlarge and reuse old ones. The extent of damage to wood which has been utilized for nesting year after year may be considerable.
Members of the family Vespidae include all the wasps that use cellulose fiber to build nests. This includes yellow jackets, paper wasps, bald-faced hornets and the less common European hornets. These species are usually brightly colored with yellow or white and black bodies, with the exception of the European hornet, which is brown and tan with similar patterns. Wasps have only a few hairs on their bodies. There is a constricted waist, and wasps have wings that fold along their bodies while they’re resting. Vespid wasps are known for their paper carton nest-making ability, although nest styles are variable. Yellow jackets inhabit cavities in wall or the ground, building combs in the protected shelter. Paper wasps build inverted combs in less sheltered locations, usually under overhangs or in dense vegetation. European hornets and bald-faced hornets, which are actually large yellow jackets, create the football-shaped, fully enclosed nests that can be found in exposed locations such as in tree tops or on the sides of buildings.
Yellow jackets: 3/8″ to 5/8″ (10 – 16 mm) long
Paper wasps: 5/8″ to 3/4″ (16 – 20 mm) long
Bald-face hornets: 5/8″ to 3/4″ (15 – 20 mm) long
European hornets: 3/4″ to 13/8″ (20 – 35 mm) long
Vespid wasps capture soft-bodied insects for larval food, and are considered beneficial insects (unless they’re found near people). Then they may pose a real threat. Their stings are painful and can result in serious illness or death for some allergic individuals. Old or pesticide-treated yellow jacket nests can attract carpet or hide beetles, too.
Social wasps such as the hornets and paper wasps live in colonies in a fashion similar to the honey bees and ants. Most of the wasps in a colony are workers; i.e., the nest queen’s nonreproductive daughters that build the nest, gather food and care for the queen’s offspring.
Hornets build the familiar large nests of a paper-like material made from chewed wood mixed with saliva. Nests contain many tiers of cells covered by the outer shell with a single opening at the bottom. Hornet nests are usually located in wooded areas, attached to a tree branch, but may be attached to shrubs, utility poles or house siding. Each nest has only a few hundred workers that are about an inch long and dark with white, light yellow or cream colored markings on the abdomen, thorax, and face. Hornets can be aroused to sting in great numbers, but only when the nest is disturbed or threatened.
Paper wasps build the familiar umbrella shaped nests found hanging by a short stalk on the undersides of building eaves. Only a single tier of cells is constructed and there is no external covering over the nest. Each colony normally contains fewer than 25 wasps, but late in the season, the number may swell to over 100. Paper wasps are slightly longer and more slender than yellowjackets, and color is variable among the many species.
A social wasp colony lasts only 1 year. Paper wasps and hornets build a new nest from scratch each year and do not reuse the previous year’s nest. The only wasps to overwinter are the fertilized queens. All the workers from a colony die with the first frosts.
Yellow jackets yellowjacket
Late summer is the time of year when populations of yellowjackets (commonly called “bees”) and other social wasps become large and noticeable. The wasps have been present since spring, but because colonies start as a single queen in May, populations are very small through the early part of the summer.
Yellow jackets build paper nests similar to hornets, but either in the ground, a log or landscape timber or building wall or attic. Yellowjackets are commonly observed hovering back and forth at the small nest opening or around garbage cans and other areas where they forage for food. The workers from the colony travel up to a few hundred yards from the nest while looking for food. In the early summer the wasps forage for caterpillars and other “meat” items, but in the fall prefer sweets such as pop and candy residue in garbage cans.
Indian Meal Moths indian meal moth
The Indian Meal Moth (IMM), a stored product pest, is approximately 1/2″–1” (12–24 mm) wide from wingtip to wingtip. Larvae vary by species from 3/10″– 4/5” (7–20 mm) long. Adult moths are silvery gray to copper. They hold their wings alongside the body, making them look much smaller. Larvae are white to yellow with darker head and mouth parts. Dried fruits, grains, corn, pet food, chocolate, nuts, and seeds are a few of the products that these moth larvae will eat. Adults cause no direct damage other than laying eggs in stored products.
Sanitation is key to eliminating IMM infestations. Without food or grains available to eat, the IMM cannot survive and will die off or leave to find other