Wasp, Yellow Jacket, Hornet — Bee Species, Rentokil Canada

Wasp, hornet and bee species

There may be hundreds of types of wasps and bees found around the world. Only a few of these species are seen as real pests here in Canada. and some of them do not sting.

Some species, like the Honey Bee, are actually a valuable part of our ecosystem. Understanding their habits, lifecycle and appearance can help to identify the best form of wasp control for your home or business.

See our list below of common species found in Canada.

European wasp and English wasp

(Family: Vespidae, e.g. Vespula Vulgaris & Vespula germanica)

These are the two commonly found wasp species across Canada. and the ones responsible for causing painful wasp stings.

Once indoors, they prefer to build nests in sheltered locations with easy access to the outside, such as lofts, garages and wall cavities. Outside they may nest in old rodent burrows, hollow trees and bushes.

What does a wasp look like?

  • Yellow and black body, marking varies according to species.
  • Workers vary in size from 12 – 17mm.

Key Facts

  • Only young Queens survive over winter and emerge in the spring to start nest building and lay eggs.
  • Workers (sterile females) emerge during early summer and take over nest building. Queen continues to lay eggs.
  • New queens and males mate in early autumn.
  • Nest dies during winter, including all the males and workers.
  • Wasps do not swarm.
  • Food preferences — will take insects and sweet foods.
  • Females sting readily and repeatedly.
  • A colony may have as many as 25,000 individual wasps.

Honey bee

Honey bees are the species kept by Bee Keepers.

If you have a problem with honey bees, contact a local Beekeeper or the Environmental Protection Agency as they will be able to arrange for the swarm to be relocated.


Species of Wasps Found in Oklahoma

About the Author:

Kathryn Hatashita-Lee

Kathryn Hatashita-Lee has written articles and shot images for various publications. Her first children’s story appeared in «Winds Through Time» (1998). She earned a B.A. in history at the University of British Columbia and a B.F.A. in photography at the Emily Carr Institute of Art + Design.

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Species of wasps in Oklahoma that pose a stinging hazard include paper wasps and yellowjackets. Beneficial wasps that prey on garden pests include braconid, chalcid and ichneumon. Avoid stings by avoiding areas that attract wasps: sweet-scented products, garbage, bright-colored clothing and grounds with fallen fruit.

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps are common in Oklahoma and measure 3/4 to 1 inch with slender yellow, black, brown or red bodies. They make paper nests by chewing wood or plants with saliva. Paper nests cling to trees, shrubs and manmade structures.

The maximum colony size is 20 to 75 adults. A colony begins in spring, and progresses in summer when humans are most vulnerable to stings. Most wasps, however, are male, which cannot sting.

Beware of swarms that can develop on high structures. If you disturb a nest, run away from the swarm. Control a nest by applying an aerosol «wasp spray» at night.


Yellowjackets wear yellow and black bands on the abdomen. Three species in Oklahoma include Southern yellowjacket, Eastern yellowjacket and baldfaced hornet. Southern and Eastern yellowjackets form mature colonies of 1,000 to 5,000 adults. In contrast, the baldfaced hornet has mature colonies of 200 to 700 adults.

More aggressive than paper wasps, the yellowjackets defend colonies and nest entrances. Keep lawn mowers and trimmers away from the colonies, which are sensitive to rapid motion. These colonies remain active until late autumn. A wasp can repeatedly sting without losing its stinging apparatus. Prey includes live insects.

Stay away from garbage at picnic and recreation areas, food-processing and meat-packing plants, and all feeding grounds where wasps scavenge for protein and sugars.


Tiny, stout braconid wasps measure from 1/16- to 5/16-inch. Sporting a dark appearance, some wasps have colored markings. This wasp can parasitize aphids, tent caterpillars, garden webworms, army worms, tomato hornworms and strawberry leaf rollers.

Chalcid Wasp

The chalcid (superfamily Chalcidoidea) includes from 22,000 up to 100,000 species of small, parasitic wasps. The chalcid wasp measures 1/64- to 5/16-inch. Distinctive from other wasps, the chalcid wasp does not fold its transparent wings.

The chalcid wasp feeds on nectar and fluids from animal wounds. As pest control, they act as parasites of cabbage loopers, cabbage worms, caterpillars, corn borers, corn earworms, codling moths, armyworms, cutworms and webworms.

Ichneumon Wasp

Ichneumon wasps are part of the superfamily Icheumonoidea, which may include over 80,000 different species. Ichneumon wasps measure the largest of the parasitic wasps with an adult length of 1/8- to 1 1/2-inches. With a black to yellowish slender body, this wasp has long antennae. Females have a long tail-like tube, the ovipositor, for egg laying. The ovipositor can act as a bore to place eggs. The female locates a host, then lays an egg close to or on the host. The developing larvae then feed on that host externally or internally. When ready to pupate, the wasp kills the host.

Several beneficial species prey on garden pests such as caterpillars, cutworms, corn earworms and white grubs.


Insect Bites and Stings

Identifying the Bug That Stung You

Daniel More, MD, is a board-certified allergist and clinical immunologist with a background in internal medicine.

Being stung or bitten by an insect can be stressful and even scary. Besides managing the sting it’s important to recognize if any symptoms you experience indicate you’re having a serious allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. And even though most allergists perform skin testing to an entire panel of stinging insects when a bite or sting causes an allergic reaction it can be helpful to know what type of bug got to you.

Signs of Anaphylaxis

If you’re seriously allergic to an insect such as a bee you may not know it until you get stung the first time. Call 911 or the number for emergency assistance in your location if you begin to feel these symptoms of anaphylaxis:  

  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Skin symptoms beyond the site of the sting such as redness, itching, and hives
  • Swelling or thick feeling in your mouth, throat, or tongue
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • A sense of impending doom
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If left untreated, anaphylaxis could lead to unconsciousness, coma, asphyxiation, respiratory or cardiac failure, and death.

Types of Stinging Insects

Stinging insects belong to the order Hymenoptera. The three most common stinging insects are apids (honeybees and bumblebees), vespids (wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets), and ants (fire ants are the stinging kind).

Note that if you didn’t get a good look at the insect that stung you, you may be able to identify it by the appearance of the hive, whether the insect was near the ground or higher in the air, and even by the way that the insect flies. Here’s more information about each type of stinging insect:


Honeybees (or simply “bees”) typically aren’t aggressive. The only sting if their hive is threatened or if they’re stepped on. Children running around barefoot, especially on grass or clover, where honeybees like to linger, receive the majority of honeybee stings. Africanized honeybees (“killer bees”) are far more aggressive and tend to attack in swarms without provocation. This type of honeybee is becoming more common in the southwestern United States.

Honeybees’ stingers are barbed on the end, so after they enter the skin they stay behind, along with their internal organs.

There is some debate as to what is the best way to remove a honeybee stinger. Whatever method you choose, it is best to act quickly. The longer a stinger remains in the skin, the more venom will be released into the body.

One quick way to get a stinger out is to use the edge of a credit card to scrape it out. Don’t use tweezers: This can squeeze more venom into the skin.   After the stinger is out, apply an ice pack to the skin: This will help slow the spread of venom.

Bumblebees can sting, but they aren’t aggressive. Unlike honeybees, they don’t have a barbed stinger so they can sting multiple times.


Wasps are varied in color (shades of brown, yellow, and red); when they fly their back legs dangle. They often live under the eaves of houses in honeycomb-shaped nests. They’re rarely aggressive but they will sting if they’re disturbed. Since they don’t leave their stinger behind, wasps can sting someone multiple times.  

Fire Ants

Fire ants are found mainly in the South and Southeast parts of the United States.   They make their nests from dirt. These nests can be flat in sandy areas or as tall as 18 inches in moist areas. Fire ants are most likely to sting if a person steps on their nest. and can sting multiple times, very quickly.


Yellowjackets are the most aggressive of the stinging insects. They live in nests built into the ground or in structures on the ground.

Yellowjackets are scavengers and are commonly found around trashcans, dumpsters, and at picnics. They often crawl into open cans of soda or other sugary drinks and then sting when a person takes a swig. Since they’re scavengers, their stings sometimes can cause a skin infection.

Unlike honeybees, yellowjackets don’t leave behind a stinger. Even so, it is important to clean the skin thoroughly and apply a first aid cream like Bacitracin or Neosporin.

If you notice increasing redness, swelling, drainage, or develop a fever, call your physician.  


Yellow-faced and white-faced hornets live in trees and shrubs. The material they make their nests from resembles papier-mâché. Hornets will attack when provoked (if disturbed by the vibration from a lawnmower, for example).


Types of Wasps

What are the different types of wasps?


Wasps are in the insect order Hymenoptera and have 4 distinct stages – egg, larvae, pupae and adult. Eggs are small, white and cylindrical-shaped. Larvae are without legs, whitish-colored and grub-like. Pupae are the unwinged, cocoon-like stage. Adults are extremely variable in appearance and color, depending on the wasp species.

Types of Wasps

Wasps are broadly categorized as social wasps, solitary wasps and parasitic wasps. The general commonality between these three groups of wasps is they all are predators or parasites of other insects and spiders or are opportunistic, omnivorous feeders known as scavengers. Wasp nests are constructed either above or below ground.

Solitary Wasps

The solitary wasps do not produce a communal insect colony; rather, they operate on their own. Solitary wasps make nests in the ground; gouge out holes in plants; make mud nests (the mud daubers); or reuse existing nests. The female wasp constructs the nest; goes hunting to collect prey; captures and paralyzes the prey; then returns to the nest where she lays an egg on the prey; finally sealing the prey in a nest cell. After the egg hatches, the offspring feed on the prey until becoming adults. While some of the solitary wasps look terrifying, they are not aggressive and will sting only if handled or perhaps accidently stepped on. A solitary wasp worth mentioning is the velvet ant, which is not actually an ant. The female is wingless, hairy, colored red and black and found in the southern and western parts of the U.S. She can produce a severe sting if stepped on or handled.

Social Wasps

Social wasp colonies are established annually, but die off in the late-fall leaving behind only some fertilized queens. These queens will survive the winter and begin a new colony the next spring. Nests are constructed of «paper» the wasp makes from chewed up wood mixed with the wasp’s saliva. Social wasp nests can be either above or below ground level. The most common social wasps are the yellow jackets, the group of wasps most likely to sting, and the hornets. Social wasp colonies are communal in nature

Parasitic Wasps

The parasitic wasps lay their eggs in or on other insects and the wasp larvae consume and kill the host. They are non-aggressive – stinging only when handled. Their sting produces very little pain. Parasitic wasps are beneficial as they help control a wide variety of pest insects of crops, gardens and landscape plants.


While there are many do-it-yourself techniques and materials for wasp control, the safest and most effective methods and recommendations are provided by a pest management professional (PMP). Always be sure to seek the advice of your PMP before trying on your own.


Types of Wasps: Pictures and Identification

Home and garden interests, along with enthusiasm for the natural biological control work wasps provide on a global basis explains much of the wasp’s popularity.

The types of wasps usually found around the yard and home often divide into those that cause concern, Vespid wasps, and the beneficial wasps.

pose the greatest concern to humans because of their habit of building nests in residential areas and their tendency to sting (multiple times) as a defensive mechanism, when their nests are threatened.

They can build nests on structures around the house or like the Yellowjackets in the video, they can build nests in the ground.

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Paper Wasps

Most homeowner tend to associate members of the subfamily Polistinae, paper wasps, with vespid wasps. Three genera represent the subfamily, but for all intent and purposes, paper wasps and the Polistes genus usually represent the group.

Their appetite for caterpillars and other garden pests often translates into their being welcome guests in many back yards, with some limits. Paper wasps, stinging insects that defend their nests, explains homeowner concerns about their presence around the doorways. At the same time, their appetite for caterpillars and other garden pests often translates into their being welcome guests in many back yards.

The standard Polistes story posits them as semi-eusocial insects, whose nests are built on a annual basis and tended by a queen and workers.

Approximately twenty native poliste species, most regionally based, inhabit residential areas, fields and forest across North America. A quick yard check during the warmer moths of the year provides a good opportunity for identifying local poliste species. Preventative measures for dealing with paper wasp nest problems around the house can be as easy as removing the nest from the porch roof as soon as it is spotted.

Yellow Jacket

Most people recognize yellow jackets (Paravespula) as the uninvited guests at many picnics.

They are all social wasps that build, and vigorously defend, ground nests or aerial nests. As the colony grows over the course of a summer, the need for food expands. The presence of a sweet tooth partially explains their scavenging ways at picnics and barbecues.

Many homeowners opt to remove them when they nest around the home because their sting is painful.

Please press the Yellowjackets button for pictures and descriptions covering the many different Yellowjacket species in the United States.

Some yellowjackets can be confused with European paper wasps because their bodies have very similar black and yellow color patterns. The second picture shows a European paper wasp with a white line pointing to a yellow spot on the thorax. The presence of the yellow spots, which are absent in the yellowjacket picture is a good identification clue.

Knowing the difference between yellowjackets and paper wasps around the yard is important because they each build different types of wasp nests. Identifying the proper wasp makes looking for the nest easier.

Potter and Mason Wasps (Eumeninae), the most diverse of the five vespid subfamilies, receive their name based on their pot shaped mud nests. The approximately twenty in North America species get described as solitary, predator wasps and beneficial insects because of their use of caterpillars and other insect larvae as their principle larvae hosts.

Potter wasp appearance varies slightly from genera to genera. Pachodynerus erynnis in the picture is a small, colorful potter wasp species with a range limited mostly to the South East and Gulf Coast states. They have a habit of nest building in wood structures such as benches, fences and sides of houses.

Other Types of Wasps

Approximately one hundred and twenty five thread-waisted wasps (Sphecidae) call North America home. Familiar to most people as the long, thin wasps that occupy flower tops during the warmer seasons, their sometimes fragile look masks their predatory nature. Thread-waisted wasps capture and paralyze a variety of insect species and then transport them to their nests as hosts and feed their own larvae.

Five Amophilia wasps, collectively referred to as sand wasps, build nests in sandy soils across North America. The picture highlights the long, skinny body with a very pronounced thin waist. Most species have variations of red and black color markings on the thorax and abdomen.

Ammophila do not live in their nests and therefore they do not generally cause any problems for homeowners.

Three common Sphecidae, the Black and Yellow Mud Dauber, (Sceliphron caementarium), the Blue Mud Dauber (Chalybion californicum) and the Pipe organ mud dauber (Trypoxylon politum) build mud nests on a variety of substrates, predominantly wood. Nests built around residential areas can be considered nuisances. Because they are solitary wasps, their sometimes aggressive nature gets saved for prey rather than humans.


Grass-carrying wasps of the genus Isodontia build cocoons shaped nests of grass for their young. The association of grass with many residential areas of the United States means the species can be common around homes. As with most solitary wasp species, they are not known to be aggressive around humans. They nectar on flowers.

About one dozen colorful Sphex species, or digger wasps inhabit North American soils. With the exception of the Great Golden Digger Wasp’s (Sphex ichneumoneus) continental range, all other Sphex species limit their range to specific geographical areas.

They sting, but they are not aggressive.

Wasps as insect predators is one story told with every wasp family. Pompilidae, for example, predate on spiders, using their bodies as larval hosts. North American species numbers approach the 150 mark, divided into a dozen and one half genera. The picture at the top of the page shows the end result of a spider wasp chasing down an orb weaving spider.

Spider wasps can also be specialized, as demonstrated by the tarantula hawk. It’s the story of large wasps with painful stings taking on large spiders, in a battle of survival. In this case, the tarantula hawk preys on tarantulas for the purpose of making them their larval hosts. As the state insect of New Mexico, the story of the tarantula hawk gets told on a daily basis. Because wasps can be categorized as pest specialists, agriculture specialists have always invested time trying to understand and leverage their utility as natural biological control agents.

Physical characteristics also help with wasp identification. Often groups of wasps, be they families or genera, share similar physical characteristics. Ichneumon Wasps, for example, one of the three major groups of wasps, share the characteristics of thin bodies with long antennae and extended tails, formally called Ovipositors. They, divide into two families:

  • Family Braconidae – Braconid Wasps
  • Family Ichneumonidae – Ichneumon Wasps

figuratively blanket North America and the ten thousand or so native species guarantees that a handful of species fly around the yard and ground of most residential areas. For individuals not fluent in wasp identification, the large number of species makes it very difficult to identify any one specimen. Nonetheless, species identification of Ichneumon wasps can be very important because some of the species can be used to for pest control purposes.

A wasp in sheep’s clothing might be the story of beewolves. Small wasps that resemble bees, their name comes from the fact that they hang around flower gardens waiting to snatch a honeybee or sweat bee from the flowers to serve as its larval host. They are one of the more well known of all the Crabronidae wasps.

Another common genera in the Crabronidae family, the Bembicinae species with larger eyes also tend to stand out on flowers.

Green eyes and yellow and white bodies generally characterize the sand wasps.

See also:  Bee vs

Scoliid wasps, a primarily southern group, share physical characteristics such as colorful spots on the abdomen and/or eye color.

The iridescent blue or green of Cuckoo wasps (Family Chrysididae) helps them stand on atop most flowers. Like other cuckoo species, they are parasitic nesters, laying their eggs in another wasps’s nest. Cuckoo wasps have a continent wide presence.

Another family of flower wasps, Tiphiid Wasps, can be identified by thin, long bodies and a hooked appendage at the end of the abdomen.


Wasps and bees: A guide to identifying Stinging Insects


Stinging Insect Identification BEES & WASPS. A-1 Bonded Termite would like to help you identify the common stinging insects in your area. After looking at the differences within our stinging insect identification guide, you should be able to tell the difference between your local stinging pests.

Why are Bees, Ants and Wasps grouped together on this page? Because they are scientifically categorized under the same Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order and Suborder and are very closely related to one another. There are a total of 69 Bees, Ants, Wasps, & Similar in the Insect Identification database. Entries are listed below in alphabetical order.

The Home Of The Bark Scorpion Uncontrolled Pantry Pests Leave a Bad Taste in Guests’ Mouths Stay away. It is so unfortunate we had to leave at the end of the lease with such a bad taste in our mouths. I absolutely recommend steering clear of this complex and the unprofessional, shameless people that work for them. The apartments themselves are not luxurious and extremely overpriced.Arizona Bark Scorpion. Home Species Arizona Bark Scorpion. The venom of the Arizona bark scorpion is dangerous for humans. Besides causing severe.When Does Termite Season Begin? Tips to Prevent Common Pantry Pests, Moths The Dangers Of Termites S.C., have been found to be the source of new outbreaks of Formosan termites in Atlanta. Ties also have been linked to infestations in Auburn, Ala., and elsewhere. Monitoring and control Invading.Top 25 Mosquito Cities Please consider joining any of the community cleanup efforts. A perfect community service project for individuals, families, groups, and organizations that love york county and want to help the environment. Find out more.Hulett Environmental Services shares tips to guard against beetles, moths and other common pantry pests . Palm Beach Pest Control Company. As the holiday season ramps up, families will soon be spending more time in the kitchen, cooking turkey dinners and baking pumpkin pies.West Nile Virus Outbreak Slows, But Mosquito-Borne Disease Remains A Threat West Nile Virus is a mosquito-borne virus that can cause mild illness (west nile fever) or severe symptoms (encephalitis or meningitis) in humans bitten by infected mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can become infected when they feed on birds that are carrying the virus.Venomous Spiders in US & North America Wasps & Bees: Stinging insects pose health risks This Summer Wasp, Hornet, Yellow jacket, and Bee Prevention and Treatment Tips. With the start of summer comes the appearance of common stinging insects, such as bees, wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets, and the various related health risks that range from irritating but relatively harmless stings to the threat of serious allergic reaction.Your Partner in Pest Prevention Partners Pest Control, Your Partner in Good Housekeeping Welcome to South Florida. As you probably know, South Florida is a subtropical state that deals with many unique insect problems that don’t exist in most other states.This was a great article identifying the different types of spiders and the problems that they can produce. Nice to know that there are easy ways to keep the spiders under control.When is termite season? col-2. What is the life cycle of a termite? Can termites hurt me? Where do termites live? What attracts termites to my house? How do termites spread? What do termites damage? col-1. Where does termite damage start? How much damage can termites cause? What does termite damage look like? How much does termite damage cost.

The First step: proper identification. flies could mean that there’s decaying matter somewhere or even dead mice in wall voids. Stinging insects are attracted to certain common structures, like slotted window shutters and eaves. We’ll properly identify the insect in question during our inspection and provide a couple of options for you.

Venomous Spiders in US & North America What Causes Termites? Top Ten Reasons Termites Invade Your Home. We have compiled the top ten reasons why termites may invade a home. MIND THE FRONT STEPS : Over the years your front stoop may sag or crack. precipitation pools against the home and along the foundation.. Wet insulation and wood is a common cause.Black widow spiders are arachnids that are known for the females’ unique appearance and tendency to eat their mates. They are considered the most venomous spiders in North America; however, their. This highly venomous spider is thought to be the most dangerous recluse spider . It is found in the USA, from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast.

Tick-Borne Lyme Disease On The Rise Termites: Facts, Photos, & Extermination Termites Facts. Termites are wood-eating pests; these decomposers have been munching wood for a long time. A termite infestation at home or the workplace is no less than a nightmare. They have the capability to eat away all wood that they come across and can greatly damage the structure of your building.Lyme and other tickborne diseases are on the rise in the U.S. Here’s what that means. An infectious disease physician answers questions about the increase in cases

Is that stinging critter a bee, yellow jacket, wasp, or hornet? It’s natural to feel worried when you see stinging insects buzzing around your backyard or barbecue in the park, but many of them are relatively harmless-and are important pollinators. In Part I, we’ll help you learn to identify bees, which is the first step to protecting these critical critters.

Stinging Insects 101: A Lesson in Prevention and Treatment. By NPMA Staff Stinging insects are most active in the summer and early fall when their nest populations exceed 60,000. Some 500,000 people are sent to the hospital emergency room every year due to stings from insects such as yellow jackets, honeybees, paper wasps, hornets and fire ants.

Stinging Insects 101 How to identify the pest, the nest and the threat Stinging insects such as various types of wasps, yellowjackets, hornets and bees, are common summertime pests and their stings can be more than just a painful nuisance.

Stinging insects like bees, hornets and wasps send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year. Common home remedies for stings include coating the sting site with a meat tenderizer/water solution rinse, baking soda paste or even rubbing the site with an aluminum based deodorant!


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