Bee Identification: Types of Bees and Wasps in Upstate NY



Yellow Jackets  - These are stinging insects and the #1 nuisance to residential homes and businesses. Yellow Jackets are annual nesters who start a new nest each season. The new nest is started by a mated queen who has successfully over-wintered. The queen begins by gathering wood, chewing it up, mixing it with saliva and depositing it where the nest will populate. The queen will then start to draw out the cells of the nest. Partially finished the queen will lay an egg in each of the cells. The incubation period is around 5-6 days. From this point the hatchouts are hungry and dependent on the queen. The queen gathers food, generally insects and feeds the young for about 14 days until they emerge from the nest as adults. From this point the young yellow jackets will take over the maintenance of the nest while the queen continues to lay eggs and expand the colony. This continues into the fall as Yellow Jacket season reaches its peak of the season. The old queens from early sping will die off into the winter and the newer queens from later in the season will find a place to over-winter (hopefully not your attic or walls). These queens will start the cycle over agin in the spring. 



Carpenter Bees - Large intimidating bee that is often confused with the Bumble Bee. The Carpenter Bee suspends themselves in the air or "Hovers" around their nesting site, a behavior most homeowners report. Carpenter Bees prefer to build their nests to the south side of an unpainted or house or wooden stucture. Their nests are finely drilled holes about the diameter of a dime in your deck, fence, fascia or other structure. The female carpenter ant will drill this hole as a chamber in which she will lay one single egg. The chamber is usually accompanied with nectar and pollen. Once mature the young often return to their nesting place to have their own offspring later in life. Female Carpenter Bees are a stinging insect although not as agressive as the Yellow Jacket, unless they feel their nest is threatened. Carpenter bees are wood destroying insects that require professional service.                    



Honey Bees - The Honey Bee is a beneficial insect to the environment, as they are good pollinaters but not as good as the native bees. honey Bees are more interested in the nectar and they also produce honey. Honey Bees prefer to make their nests in dark voided area's which becomes problematic to homeowners and other structures. The Honey Bee is broken down into three types the "Drones", the "Workers" and the "Queens". The queen has a responsibility to lay thousands off eggs in a honey bee colony. The drones are darker and hairier and carry a stronger scent to mate with the queens, these are males and they carry no stinger. The workers of the colony serve the queen and the nest, they keep the nest clean and forage for food, and they're lighter in color than the drones. Honey Bee's inside a home or wall void can be a major problem. This becomes visible when the honey starts to seep through the wall or when there's a large number of bees at the opening of the entry site. Professional service is needed immediately. Please call us at 518-489-7378       



Bald Face Hornets - Very intimidating and stinging insect. The bald face hornet can very agressive in residential and business settings especilly if there is traffic around the hive. Their hives are massive and colored medium charcoal gray. The are usually hanging in the tree or built into a corner of a man made structure or tree. These hornets are black and gray in color. The nest is composed of paper which is made of wood. The Hornet nest is started by one queen and can number in the thousands by the end of the season. If you have a Hornet nest on your property please call us at 518-489-7378... do not disturb it... don't get stung!   


Bee Stings and Allergic Reactions

Bee Stings can be very dangerous  to people who have allergic reactions. Severe allergic reaction is rare but it does happen.Allergic reactions are ofetn cause by yellow jackets, hornets, honey bees and other wasps.  Symptoms of a severe insect sting may include one or more of the following:

  • Swelling of the face, throat or mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Hives or red rash that spreads
  • Wheezing or difficulty swallowing
  • Accelerated Pulse
  • Dizziness

Although severe allergic reactions are not that common, they can lead to shock, cardiac arrest, and unconsciousness in 10 minutes or less. This type of reaction can occur within minutes after a sting and can be fatal. If severe allergic reaction occurs get emergency treatment as soon as possible. 

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