The first giveaway that this is not a bee are the dark veins and a black border around the large, see-through wings. This is actually a moth that is an excellent mimic. Its black thorax has two bright yellow stripes on it like a wasp would have, and its abdomen has yellow bands. The tip of the abdomen has a tuft of yellow and black hairs that resemble tail feathers. Look for adults from April through summer.
Caterpillars are known pests of trees, particularly of dogwood and pecan trees. They also use apple, birch, oak, willow, elm, chestnut, black cherry, and pine trees as hosts. They have brown heads and ivory-colored bodies. Two spots on the upper body may be present. After hatching, larvae crawl into tree bark and feed on the cambium layer of the tree. This is where water and nutrients flow up and down, so feeding habits destroy the tissue and can create knots, scars, and bark loss on the tree trunk. Birds like woodpeckers eat them, but if there are a number of larvae in the tree, the tree suffers. Management of the insect includes removing branches that may have been affected, preventing scrapes and injury to tree bark (via mower and trimmers), and insecticides (always use according to label instructions).
General Characteristics Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns.
Territorial Map U.S., Canada, and Mexico
Prince Edward Is.
Butterfly and Moth Anatomy
Antennae: Butterflies and Moths have a pair of antennae on the head used for sensing.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and proboscis.
Thorax: Home to the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Abdomen: Contains vital internal organs such as the heart(s) and reproduction facilities.
Forewing: The upper, forward wing pair used for flying.
Hindwing: The lower, rearward wing pair used for flying.
NOTE: Butterflies and Moths are part of the Lepidopteran order as they share many similarities.