What kind of bee is this?

alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)July 26, 2006


I live in the Lehigh Valley pf Pennsylvania. Today I saw a bee in my garden that I had not noticed before.

It is about the size of a honeybee, but a bit stockier. It is yellow and black striped, like a yellowjacket. It hovers quite well, and its flight style reminds me of a hoverfly. Several times I saw it watch another bee in mid air, then fly right into it, as if attacking.

Any ideas what this is?


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Does it look like this:

If so, it's a carpenter bee. They can be as destructive to buildings as termites. Do some research. They nest in pairs--the queen laying eggs inside a whole drilled into wood, and the male flys around outside protecting the area. The male doesn't have a stinger. It's just all about making a ruckass. The queen has a stinger but is really fairly docile herself. The problem is that you can't just kill the queen and the male because the eggs will eventually hatch and there will be more. As I said, do some research so you can learn how best to handle them.

Here is a link that might be useful: carpenter bee

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 1:47PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

No, I should have said that it is not hairy like a carpenter bee or bumblebee. It's bald like a yellowjacket.


    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 2:05PM
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What about the africanized honey bee? Here's a link and there's a picture where you can see the bees towards the bottom of the page:


If this isn't it, and you really want to know what type of bee it is, catch a few and then take them/send them to an agriculture office near you. You can also take them/send them to a university also. My sister makes a habit of having all sorts of bugs identified this way. lol

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 9:49AM
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I just learned that yellowjackets aren't bees!

I've also seen some pictures of wasps that are striped very much like yellowjackets.

Read wikepedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 10:01AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

It could be a paper wasp, which looks almost like an Eastern yellow jacket. They are a nuisance at this time of year (as you can see.... LOL).

Here is a link that might be useful: Paper Wasps & Hornets

    Bookmark   July 27, 2006 at 4:56PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

It's definitely not an Africanized honeybee.

It's colors are very similar to the wasp in the picture, but it does not have that characteristic wasp waist, it's very stout.

maggiecola's comment got me thinkoing that it is not a bee at all, but another kind of insect mimicking a bee. I found this picture which looks just like what I saw, but was talken in the canary islands!

I think what I saw actually is a hover fly, just a much larger species than the kind I am familiar with. I've made an effort to attract hoverflies, since the larvae eat aphids. The small ones are abundant, I'm glad to see another species.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 12:41AM
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meadowphlox(z6 PA)

Here's another thought, could it be a Snowberry Hummingbird Moth? I saw my first one earlier this summer. I was cutting lilacs and this "creature" was hovering and diving into the the lilacs to drink the nectar. It was striped like a bee but had a weird long beakish-nose and hovered just like a hummingbird. I felt like Darwin discovering a new species....That is until I googled "hummingbird bee" and found this picture. According to the PennState Extension they're very common here in SE PA. Who knew!? It was the first time I ever saw it...Could this possibly be what you saw? I'm trying to load a picture, hopefully it will show up. If not, try typing in Snowberry Clearwing Moth into Google and see if that looks like it. The picture shows a fuzzy moth, but the one I saw was smooth, no fuzz.[img]http://www.birds-n-garden.com/butterfly/snowberry_clearwing_moth_link2.jpg[/img]

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 9:24AM
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i think it might be a hummingbird moth.they look alot like a bumble bee.joan

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 1:23PM
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Here's a google image search of hoverfly:


As you can see, they come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.

It just might be a hoverfly you've got!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 2:26PM
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Could it have been a hornet? They are huge though & you did say yours was about honeybee size.. I saw a Hornet take down a cicada at Tyler Arboretum  Monster Bees.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2007 at 4:52PM
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I bet it was the bald faced hornet.Theye nasty.Theyre a little bigger than honey bee black and white.Their heads are whiter I think.I first saw them Theymade a nest in my apple tree.I was looking they chased me.look up bald faced hornet.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 8:43AM
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