The American Bumble Bee
The bumble bee has a black body and a yellow-striped belly. Bee colonies (like that of the other stinging insects) are divided into queens, female workers, and male workers. Unlike males, females have stingers; furthermore, queens are twice as big as the males. Bees have short life cycles and become adults 21 days after they are hatched.
Bees drink flower nectar and make honey with pollen. They are usually harmless, but when their nests are disturbed, they become defensive. Worker bees can sting over and over again without dying.
The Bald-faced Hornet
Bald-faced hornets are black with white stripes; all bald-faced hornets have the same pattern of markings. Like most stinging insects, bald-faced hornets become highly aggressive if the nest is disturbed, but unlike other stinging insects, they squirt venom into a harasser’s eyes, causing temporary blindness.
The hives (also referred to as nests) of the bald-faced hornet are above ground and shaped like pears. Usually, there are about 100 to 400 hornets in a single hive.
The Common Thread Waisted Wasp
The common thread waisted wasp has a many names, including caterpillar-hunter, cicada killer, and hunting wasp. They are one inch long and get their name from their extremely thin waists. They have orange stomachs, eat small insects, and drink flower nectar.
To catch its prey, the common thread waisted wasp stings the insect, immobilizes it, and then drags the insect to its lair with its jaws. Eggs are then laid on the paralyzed prey; after hatching, the wasp larvae eat the paralyzed, but alive victim.
Yellow jackets are often confused with bees because they are also yellow and black; however, yellow jackets are smaller and hairless. They are half an inch long and live for only a year.
Yellow jackets love carbohydrates and sugar; they like human food such as candy, carbonated beverages, and meat. They also rob honey from bees from time to time.
Yellow jackets are some of the most aggressive stinging insects. Moreover, some people are allergic to yellow jacket venom and can die if stung. Furthermore, the venom of yellow jackets is more powerful than that of bees, and their stingers stay on, even after repeated use.