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    Annlyn0518's Avatar
    Annlyn0518 Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jul 19, 2007, 07:24 AM
    Baldface Hornet?
    I'll admit - I am too chicken to get any closer to this bug... I live in a residential area of NYC. I have 2, maybe 3 of these bugs flying around the front yard - in and out of a snowball bush. They're about an inch in length. The closest bug I've found is a baldface hornet. Can anyone tell me if that's what this is? I hope I attached the picture correctly.

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    firmbeliever's Avatar
    firmbeliever Posts: 2,919, Reputation: 463
    Ultra Member

    Aug 16, 2007, 02:37 AM
    Here's some information I found which maybe relevant-
    I have attached only one picture, but you can view all the pictures on this link

    Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
    Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
    Superclass Hexapoda (Hexapods)
    Class Insecta (Insects)
    Subclass Pterygota (Winged Insects)
    Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
    No Taxon (Aculeata - Bees, Ants, and other Stinging Wasps)
    Superfamily Vespoidea
    Family Vespidae (Yellowjackets, Paper Wasps, and Hornets; Potter, Mason and Pollen Wasps)
    Subfamily Vespinae (Hornets and Yellowjackets)
    Genus Vespula
    Species consobrina (Blackjacket)
    Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
    Once treated as a form of the Palearctic Vespula rufa
    Queens about 17 mm, males 15-16 mm, workers 10-12 mm
    A small to large black and white (or very pale yellow) wasp. With pale posterior bands, of various widths, on most of the abdomen segments (urotergites) (Figs A, A1). The compound eye almost touches the mandible (jaw). This feature places this insect in the genus Vespula.


    I have seen only 9 queens from NB with 1 presented on the Guide (Fig B). There is just 1 image of a live queen in the Guide (Fig C). All the 9 NB females have a pale face with the black spot located in the lower half; touching the bottom of the face in 3 specimens (Fig B) and 'free' in the other 6. The upper half of the pale genal band behind the eye is present in all 9 queens. A smaller pale spot in the lower half is present in 7, but absent in 2 (Fig B). Antennae are all black (Fig B). The humeral band on the side of the thorax varies from broad (Fig B) to being about 50% of the width of that in Fig B. Dorsally, all 9 NB queens are similar to the one shown in (Figs A,B); note that the 1st tergite lacks any pale band. The Pennsylvania queen (Fig C) has an interrupted pale band on tergite 1 and greater amounts of pale on the subsequent tergites, and isolated black spots on tergites 4 and 5 (Fig C).

    Worker females

    I have seen only 3 workers from NB; there is one image in the Guide from E Central NB (Fig D). 1 of my NB workers has an almost complete central black spot (Fig E), the other 2 resemble the queen's face in Fig B. Antennae, genal band, and humeral band are similar to the variations seen in the queens. My 3 workers lack a pale band on tergite 1 (Fig A,E). The worker from E Central NB (Fig D) has an interrupted pale band on tergite 1 and in that respect resembles the Pennsylvania queen.


    I have seen 3 males from NB; there are images of 4 males in the Guide. Two of my males and 2 in the Guide (Figs F, F1) have a black spot on the lower half of the face. The 3rd NB male has this spot broken into 3 small spots (Fig G). All NB males have small pale dashes on the ventral surface of the 1st antennal segment (scape), but these are not immediately obvious. The pale genal band is complete (Fig H). All males I have seen have a centrally interrupted band on the posterior margin of tergite 1, and pale bands on the posterior of tergites 2-6 (Figs A,H,I,J,K, K1).

    Northern, including much of Canada but not reaching Alaska. Coastal in the western USA reaching southern California, south in the mountains in the east.

    A species of forests. Nests are subterranean, typically in rodent burrows. May be above ground in logs, rock cavitie, walls of houses. Nests are small, usually less than 100 workers.
    Nests are short-lived with queens and males produced as early as September
    Feed on sugary substances, otherwise feed on live prey only.

    Similar species

    The Blackjacket, is one of 5 black and white/pale yellow Yellowjackets. Two of these 5 species however have reddish patches laterally on the tergites: on tergite 2 in Dolichovespula albida; on tergites 1 and 2 in Vespula intermedia. The Blackjacket most closely resembles the Baldfaced Hornet and the Northern Yellowjacket . The Baldfaced Hornet (Fig L, left) has an entirely black tergite 2 whereas the other 2 species each have a pale posterior band on tergite 2. Thus it is the Blackjacket and Northern Yellowjacket that are almost identical in coloration.

    Blackjacket vs. Northern Yellowjacket:

    1] Queens

    Dorsally these 2 queens are almost identical. However, in the Blackjacket the pale posterior bands on tergites 3, 4, and 5 are complete, i.e. uninterrupted in the mid-line, (Fig L, right); in the Northern Yellowjacket each pale band is interrupted by a black extension from the anterior part of the segment (Fig L, middle ). Other differences occur on the head. On the face, the 1st antennal segment is completely black in the Blackjacket and extensively pale in the Northern Yellowjacket (Fig M ). The oculo-malar space is narrow in the Blackjacket (a character of the genus Vespula), and wide in the Northern Yellowjacket (a character of the genus Dolichovespula) (Fig M). Both species have an incomplete genal band. In the Blackjacket the lower spot is small or absent (Fig B), in the Northern Yellowjacket both spots are of equal size separated by only a small black spot.


    2] Workers

    Worker Blackjackets are distinctive, no other yellowjacket has their body pattern (Figs D,E).(NB: Northern Yellowjacket queens and males are very similar to Blackjacket queens and males but the Northern Yellowjacket does not produce a worker caste).

    3] Males

    Male Blackjackets are almost identical to male Northern Yellowjackets, even to the extent of having a pale patch on the ventral surface of the scape that is absent in the female Blackjackets. However there are subtle differences in the tergites. Male Blackjackets have the pale posterior bands on the tergites wider than those on the Northern and they are not interrupted in the mid line. Male Northern Yellowjackets have the pale bands on the tergites almost completely interrupted medially by black posterior pointing extensions (Fig N).
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    shirley hall's Avatar
    shirley hall Posts: 1, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Oct 13, 2007, 09:18 AM
    What is a coastal feature?
    gnahcd's Avatar
    gnahcd Posts: 215, Reputation: 39
    Full Member

    Nov 20, 2007, 11:18 PM
    Nice picture. Did you take this picture in the eastern or midwestern U.S? This is very likely an eastern cicada killer, Sphecius speciosus. Visit or confirmation.

    It is NOT a blackjacket, northern yellowjacket, or a bald face hornet:rolleyes:

    Coastal [sic] feature? A costal feature is a specific vein in an insect wing. If you look closely at an insect's wings you'll see veins which give the wing strength. These veins are given names that allow taxonomic identification.

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