Insect Identification
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Insect Identification

Bees, Ants, Wasps and Similar Insects

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 7/28/2015

The human race maintains a peculiar love-hate relationship with this particular insect group.


Bees, Ants and Wasps are well-represented in their Hymenoptera order as some 18,000 species are recognized in North America alone with a further 115,000 found worldwide. This order produces a variety of species types that make for a distinct love/hate relationship in the world of people - some are excellent at controlling pest populations while others provide a bounty of honey and wax sources for usable goods and still others can serve the medical and research communities with their fascinating ways. There are those, however, that are inherently more aggressive and will sting humans, sometimes generating allergic reactions, or build their colonies near or inside of homes. If these species rely on people food sources, they inevitably make their way into our food stores, eventually being labeled as "pests".

There are a total of (43) Bees, Ants, Wasps and Similar insects in the Insect Identification database. Entries are listed below in alphabetical order.

American Bumble Bee
Similar to Golden Northern Bumblebee (Bombus fervidus) but larger, this Bumble Bee has black coloring just behind the wings. ...
American Pelecinid Wasp
The long abdomen ('tail') of the female invokes trepidation among humans, but its primary purpose is not to sting. It is act...
Augochlora Sweat Bee
The shiny, metallic green color of this bee are vivid and uncommon compared to the typical yellow and black image of bees. Th...
Bald-Faced Hornet
Bald-faced Hornets are related to yellow jackets, but are not "true" hornets themselves. This species features a rather stout...
Banded Horntail
The prominent yellow bands at the end of the stout abdomen of the Banded Horntail are easily overlooked thanks to the 'hornta...
Black and Yellow Mud Dauber
The alarming yellow and black coloration on the Black and Yellow Mud Dauber causes many observers to slowly back away. While...
Black Carpenter Ant
Black Carpenter Ants are relatively large compared to other ant species. Recognized mostly by size and color, this type of an...
Blue-Winged Wasp
This non-aggressive Japanese wasp may not have blue wings in the brightest sense of the color, but at certain angles, the win...
Carpenter Ant
Carpenter Ants are the largest ants on the continent. They are fond of tunneling through dead or decaying wood to build colo...
Cicada Killer
Cicada Killers earned their common name for good reason. They will hunt down flying Cicadas and attack them in-flight. The ...
Common Eastern Bumble Bee
Fuzzy and loud, the Common Eastern Bumble Bee is an industrious workhorse. Like other bumble bees, it flies from flower to f...
Common Thread Waisted Wasp
The incredibly thin 'waist' on this wasp led to its name. It is an ambush attacker, immobilizing insect prey with a swift st...
Cow Killer
The Eastern Velvet Ant (aka: "Cow Killer") is not an ant at all, though it looks like a hairy one. It is actually a wasp and...
Cuckoo Bee
This sweat bee gets its name from its parasitic behavior. Females Cuckoo Bees enter another species' nest and change out the...
Cuckoo Wasp
Cuckoo Wasps get their name thanks to their parenting technique. Similar to the Cuckoo bird, whose females lay eggs in anoth...
Eastern Carpenter Bee
Though it looks like a Bumble Bee, the Carpenter Bee does not have a fuzzy abdomen, though it may have a few short hairs here...
Five-Banded Tiphiid Wasp
This medium-sized wasp is highly beneficial because they prey on a variety of beetles that destroy trees and flowers. The fe...
Formica Ant
Ants in the Formica genus have only 1 knob (bump) between the thorax and abdomen. They feed on the honeydew created by aphid...
Four-Toothed Mason Wasp
The solitary Four-Toothed Mason Wasp is a beneficial insect to have in the garden, just like its doppelganger, the Bald-Faced...
Golden Northern Bumble Bee
The Golden Northern Bumble Bee features an all-black head and dark wings. A black band runs across the mostly yellow thorax a...
Great Golden Digger Wasp
Despite its vivid alarm coloration, the Great Golden Digger Wasp is not an aggressive species of wasp. They tend to mind the...
Honey Bee
Honey Bee occupations break down into one of three categories: the worker bees, the drones and the Queen Bee. Unlike wasps, ...
Horntail Wasp
Despite the warning colors, Horntail wasps are generally non-aggressive and (one source says) harmless. Both genders of Hornt...
Ichneumon Wasp
There are several different species of Ichneumon Wasp, each with its own color variations. Some are black and yellow, others ...
Leucospid Wasp
While most wasps have abdomen that come to a point, this type of wasp seems to have rounded it out. They still possess sting...
Longhorn Bee
Longhorn Bees have antennae that are about twice as long as usual. The genus has at least 100 different species and they vary...
Mutillid Wasp
Though they look and act like ants, the solitary wasps known as Velvet Ants are anything but. Wingless females are capable o...
Northern Paper Wasp
Northern Paper Wasps are most commonly found in the Midwest states. They are likely to build nests near humans as that is wh...
Paper Wasp
Paper Wasps are part of the Vespid Wasp family. They form nests by chewing wood, forming a sort of paper mash with their sal...
Pigeon Tremex
Although they look intimidating, the Pigeon Tremex is a horntail and is not naturally aggressive, unlike wasps. The thick, l...
Potter Wasp
Potter Wasps have nests that look like ceramic jugs or pots. They create these mud nests on twigs, branches or on the trunks...
Red Pavement Ant
The colonies of the Red Pavement Ant are usually seen on sidewalks, or driveways, on concrete or asphalt. Stepping on one res...
Red Velvet Ant
Although they look like fuzzy little ants, Velvet ants are actually hairy wasps! They run around the ground like ants, but a...
Small Carpenter Bee
This small bee resembles an ant, but with wings. They are industrious and hard-working all spring and summer long. They can ...
Spider Wasp
Spider Wasps are wasps that hunt spiders. This species will attack a jumping spider and paralyze it. The wasp may even pull...
Sweat Bee
Sweat Bees are hard-working and mission-orientated. They pollinate a variety of plants in urban, suburban and rural areas. ...
Tarantula Hawk
Adult Tarantula Hawks feed primarily on nectar though the females will actively hunt tarantulas for more nefarious reasons. T...
Thistle Down Velvet Ant
Although it looks and walks like an ant, this hairy little creature is a wasp! The color of the hairs may vary from stark whi...
Tri-Colored Bumble Bee
While most bumble bees adhere to the typical yellow/black coloration, this particular species has a flourish of bright orange...
Weevil Wasp
Members of the genus Cerceris are hunters and gatherers of weevils and other beetles. Females dig nests in the ground along ...
Yellow Jacket
Yellow Jackets are easily distinguishable by their yellow and black coloring. They area common sight throughout all of North...
Yellow Velvet Ant
Despite its name, the Velvet Ant isn't an ant at all! It is a type of wasp. True ants have bent antennae and a twice-constri...
Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee
Yellow-Faced Bumble Bees have yellow hair on the head and face as well as a single yellow band on the abdomen. Huge pollen b...
BugFinder - Insects by Color or State
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