PDA

View Full Version : Any bee experts here?



Perks
04-30-2011, 11:58 PM
So I've got this monstrous bee. I've seen it the last two days (my neighbor saw it with me today) and the thing is defying my attempts to identify it.

It's not a carpenter bee, because we have those and I know what they look like. In fact, there's a few of them guarding my front flower bed right now and their noise and bravado scared my off my gardening. (I know they're harmless, but god almighty, the menace. If they could kill me, I just know they would. I can read their evil whirring minds.)

Anyway, this other beezilla is about 1 3/4 inches long. (Seriously, from the base of my second knuckle to the tip of my index finger and about as thick around.) It's lightly fuzzy, yellow with brown stripes. The only thing I can even compare it to is the Asian Giant Hornet, but it can't be that, even thought it's that big.


http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s40/Perks_album/Asiangiantwasp.jpg

(That's the Asian wasp, not my bee. But you can see why I'm menaced, yeah?)


It's not terribly aggressive, just terribly terrible. Anybody know what it is?

fourlittlebees
05-01-2011, 12:02 AM
GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH. No, but thank you. I'll have nightmares now. NO INSECT SHOULD EVER BE THAT LARGE. EVER. :chair

CACTUSWENDY
05-01-2011, 12:03 AM
Might be a bumble bee. They tend to be a lot larger.

alleycat
05-01-2011, 12:04 AM
I'm no expert. Could be a cicada killer wasp, I suppose, but those are usually more black than yellow.

alleycat
05-01-2011, 12:07 AM
I did a Google search for pictures of a cicada killer wasp. Most of them didn't really look like your bee, but this one sort of did:

http://www.wildlifexperts.com/images/cicandakiller.jpg

Perks
05-01-2011, 12:11 AM
Nope. That guy is smooth and my guy is fuzzy. And I don't think it's a bumble bee, because it doesn't have that rounded fat abdomen. The bee is as thick around as my finger and generally, erm, finger-shaped - it's girth is uniform.

alleycat
05-01-2011, 12:16 AM
No, doesn't look like a bumblebee.

Perks
05-01-2011, 12:21 AM
I can't find anything anywhere on the internet that looks like my monster bee. 'Tis a mystery.

mirandashell
05-01-2011, 02:26 AM
You sure it's not a variety of wasp?

Don't kill it, even so!

Wicked
05-01-2011, 03:04 AM
Large and fuzzy certainly brings bumblebee to mind, but there are all sorts of odd look-alikes in the bug world.

This link might help narrow it down, or rule it out.

http://www.bumblebee.org/NorthAmerica.htm

sunandshadow
05-01-2011, 03:24 AM
If it's particularly long for its width, it might be a queen. In species of bee where they don't live in large groups the queens don't lay around all day being brought food and laying eggs, instead they go out and fly around like any other bee.

Cliff Face
05-01-2011, 03:35 AM
The only fuzzy bees I know of are the bumble variety. sunandshadow might be right about the queen thing, though. I hadn't even considered that.

Also, I'm not really a bee expert, but I have been stung by them twice in my bed (once one almost stung me in my ear) and I'm abjectly terrified of the things.

My advice? Move house. ;)

Stlight
05-01-2011, 04:31 AM
The first year here, we had carpenter bees. Love them. Second year we suddenly (hey, this is about bees suddenly is allowed) had a bunch of really long fairly thin bees no real shape to their bodies. It turned out they were teenage/juvenile carpenter bees.

Just a suggestion for googling.

JoNightshade
05-01-2011, 04:36 AM
Holy crap.
:e2faint:

Bmwhtly
05-01-2011, 04:37 AM
from the base of my second knuckle to the tip of my index finger:e2brows:

Wicked
05-01-2011, 04:44 AM
Here is another link. This one is much better.

http://bugguide.net/node/view/3076/bgimage?from=1176

I went through the first fifty pages all ready, and didn't see anything close to what you described, but from this point forward(the link page) they are more in the ball park.

You'll have better luck with an id clicking through the pictures of species. There are hundreds. :)

backslashbaby
05-01-2011, 06:24 AM
Well, shoot. We have something here folks call a Japanese Hornet (and have for years and years). But that's your first pic, lol. I don't know what they really are.

They aren't the Cicada Killers. I kind of love those, but they are horrifyingly big! I see them fairly often. The other, not so much, but I've seen them.

rhymegirl
05-01-2011, 06:39 AM
I'll bee hiding under my bed, Perks.

I'M AFRAID OF BEES!

kayleamay
05-01-2011, 06:42 AM
I'm pretty sure it's an alien drone. Not positive, but if I were you I'd break out the tinfoil hats.

SWest
05-01-2011, 06:45 AM
Carpenter wasps would certainly zing you if they get the chance...rough venom, so steer clear of those monsters! Likewise, Butterfly Wasps can be aggressive, but they are nocturnal (but very furry).

Location, location, location...the Hymenoptera family is quite large!

You might searching here:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/59


Since she seems un-inclined to menace you, she's most likely some kind of communal wasp ("yellow jacket") or bee (European Hornet (http://www.hornissenschutz.de/hornets.htm)?). As long as you do not attack individuals or disturb a nest, they are not aggressive.

You might try talking to her! The various Lady colonies on our property and around our neighborhood know me and say "Hey" when I'm out with the dogs ('course I do have apiarist genes, maybe I just smell "right"...and I feed them sugar water when there's drought ;) ).

If she gets to trust your presence, you may be able to see where she nests so you can avoid her colony.

backslashbaby
05-01-2011, 07:14 AM
Carpenter wasps would certainly zing you if they get the chance...rough venom, so steer clear of those monsters! Likewise, Butterfly Wasps can be aggressive, but they are nocturnal (but very furry).

Location, location, location...the Hymenoptera family is quite large!

You might searching here:

http://bugguide.net/node/view/59


Since she seems un-inclined to menace you, she's most likely some kind of communal wasp ("yellow jacket") or bee (European Hornet (http://www.hornissenschutz.de/hornets.htm)?). As long as you do not attack individuals or disturb a nest, they are not aggressive.

You might try talking to her! The various Lady colonies on our property and around our neighborhood know me and say "Hey" when I'm out with the dogs ('course I do have apiarist genes, maybe I just smell "right"...and I feed them sugar water when there's drought ;) ).

If she gets to trust your presence, you may be able to see where she nests so you can avoid her colony.

OMG, so bees can really know you? I garden a bunch, and I swore my various bees like me, but then I'm a tad eccentric :D

The yellowjackets hate me, btw. I'm the mower lady. I've paid for that on many an occassion ;) They remember!

SWest
05-01-2011, 07:26 AM
OMG, so bees can really know you? I garden a bunch, and I swore my various bees like me, but then I'm a tad eccentric :D

The yellowjackets hate me, btw. I'm the mower lady. I've paid for that on many an occassion ;) They remember!

Oh, yes! I lurves me my Matrilineals (dogs & bees)! :D

Unfortunately, mess with the nests, you do pay a price.

Although, I have often spent so much time near ground nests that the residents just buzz over to say "Heyya!", (yep, right in my face, so don't necessarily be alarmed at this kind of thing - bees like to smell you) and even greet the dogs. "Just me, little ones! How's yer day?"

If one is hospitable over several generations, most varieties of Hymenoptera can become quite tame. They just want to be safe and look after their babies.

Plant flowers, fruit and veggies they love, and they'll love you back. Our fruit brambles are always serviced First each season! :D

Abras
05-01-2011, 09:02 AM
This reminds me of a funny story... Stay with me as I try to tell in as few words as possible!

A few years ago, during late summer, I was walking around in the woods behind our house. I was just on my way home, climbing up this fairly steep hill to get there, when I grabbed onto this small tree for support...

Well, I must have disturbed their nest, or hive, or whatever. Either way, a few dozen bees -- of one variety or another; I never stopped quite long enough to find out -- swarmed around me and started stinging me. Naturally, I ran. Straight toward the house, a few hundred yards away. There was and is a path back there, but in my haste I ignored it, swatting at the bees that were chasing and stinging me, and jumping over fallen branches.

Less than halfway there, I tripped on a branch and twisted my ankle in a funny direction. They were still chasing me, stinging me, so I had to get up and limp as fast I could. My sister was in our backyard, and she laughed when she saw me limping towards her and shouting "Run! Get in the house." She laughed when I swatted at the air and ripped off my shirt.

By then the bees had mostly left me. I was left with only my shame in front of my family members -- and an embarrassingly small number of bee stings, and one wickedly twisted ankle. At first it felt fine, fine enough for me to decide to go to this family picnic that was planned for later in the day. But, by God, it swelled up, and ultimately it felt so bad I found myself half-hopping, half-crawling down the all-purpose path at some public park. Ultimately, my family took pity on me and all pitched in to do a mock-fireman's carry all the way to the car. I felt like a king!

I had never been so proud of my family before. Then my Dad retold us the story of this kid, one of his childhood friends -- the one who was severely allergic to bees -- who had been stung while they were playing back there, in the same woods, and had swollen up and, ultimately, died... I love my family.

BeatrixKiddo
05-01-2011, 10:11 AM
Nope. That guy is smooth and my guy is fuzzy. And I don't think it's a bumble bee, because it doesn't have that rounded fat abdomen. The bee is as thick around as my finger and generally, erm, finger-shaped - it's girth is uniform.

Furry makes me think of some type of larger bumble bee species.

We had a large bumble bee that kept "visiting" us one summer on our back porch while we were inside. (back when I was a kid) We always knew it was him (or her?) because if we opened our sliding glass door and left just the screen closed, we'd eventually hear something "hovering" near it. Sure enough, we'd take a look and there was our bee. It was the weirdest thing.

We had the feeling it was attracted to our voices. It would just hover there, for long periods of time. The longer we talked closer to the screen door, the longer it would hover. If we got quiet, it would eventually leave. It was cute and kind of freaky at the same time because it was a pretty big one.

I don't know how long bumble bees live but for that summer we considered it our temporary pet bee. I hope it had a happy bee life, wherever it ended up after it left us finally.

We used to get wasps bad too. They'd get into our house. I hate wasps. Those things are nasty and aggressive.

Is this "gigantic" hybrid bee aggressive?

Medievalist
05-01-2011, 11:01 AM
Nope. That guy is smooth and my guy is fuzzy. And I don't think it's a bumble bee, because it doesn't have that rounded fat abdomen. The bee is as thick around as my finger and generally, erm, finger-shaped - it's girth is uniform.

You might have a new queen bee, just evicted by her mom to find her own hive and drones.

robeiae
06-20-2011, 05:47 PM
Maybe it's just a large bee. Why the insistence that all bees conform to a stereotype, hmm?

cray
06-20-2011, 06:03 PM
yeah. who keeps digging up all these ancient thread? hmm.


anyway, about the bee,...
does it have large talons?

Vito
06-20-2011, 06:41 PM
It's a Pistol Whipped Bee.

CobraMisfit
06-22-2011, 05:55 PM
You might have a new queen bee, just evicted by her mom to find her own hive and drones.

It's highly unlikely to be a queen**. Evicted queens still take half the hive with them when they leave. The swarm will proceed immediately to a branch, picnic table, etc, while scouts locate a suitable new hive location. During that time the queen is completely surrounded by workers (approx the size of a football). Once the new condo us located, she'll set up shop and then conduct a mating flight where she's completely surrounded by drones (a truly amazing sight, by the way).

To the OP, did your visitor look like this?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/68/Drohn_im_Flug_08-3.jpg/220px-Drohn_im_Flug_08-3.jpg

Drone honeybees (aka: da' boys) are "huge" compared to their worker sisters. They're passive and lack a stinger. Normally they buzz around looking for a queen to mate with, but do not collect pollen or nectar.

Another possibility is this:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/4a/Bumblebee_October_2007-3a.jpg/220px-Bumblebee_October_2007-3a.jpg

I know the OP said it wasn't a bumblebee, but there are varying sub-species which can grow to the size you describe, including the Cuckoo Bumblebee*

To Beatrix, most bees (honey, bumble, and etc) are defensive, not aggressive by nature. Unless threatened, they'll flee from danger while foraging. They just want to find the pollen/nectar and get back home.

Yellow jackets/ground bees, however, are much more aggressive. They're the ones that love to come out and play when you run over their nest with a lawn mower.

*Interesting side note: the Cuckoo Bumblebee lacks hiving/social behavior typical to others of the species. Instead of building a hive, it "overthrows" an existing bumblebee hive by killing the queen and then overpowering the workers with her own pheromones.

**Correction: I'm referring to honeybees here. Another poster was spot on that some species don't have queens that spend their lives laying eggs. Therefore, Med et al may be right that it's a queen of non-honeybee persuasion.