Wasps

Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jackets
  • Size: About 1.2 to 2 cm long
  • Color: Black with yellow bands
  • Distinctive Feature: Slim waist and wings folded lengthwise at rest
  • Habitat: Nests in the ground or in hollow structures

Yellow jackets are recognizable by their yellow and black markings. They typically measure between 10 and 15 mm. They often construct their underground nests or in hidden, protected spaces. These wasps become particularly aggressive in late summer and autumn, especially if their nest is threatened. They are attracted to sweet and protein-rich foods, which often brings them into contact with humans during outdoor events.

Paper Wasps

Paper Wasps
  • Size: About 1.9 to 2.5 cm long
  • Color: Black with yellow or white markings
  • Distinctive Feature: Umbrella-shaped nests made of ‘paper’
  • Habitat: Under eaves, in trees, bushes

Paper wasps, with their slender bodies and slim waists, measure about 15 to 20 mm. Their nests, resembling umbrellas, are made from a mixture of saliva and wood fibers, giving a papier-mâché appearance. Less aggressive than yellow jackets, they can sting if threatened. They play an important role in pollination and pest control.

Northern Aerial Wasp

Northern Aerial Wasp
  • Size: About 1.8 to 2.5 cm long
  • Color: Black with yellow markings
  • Distinctive Feature: Nests high up, often in trees
  • Habitat: Wooded areas, gardens

The Northern aerial wasp measures between 10 and 15 mm and builds aerial nests in high places like trees or under eaves. Although they can be confused with yellow jackets, they are distinguished by their aggressive behavior towards those who threaten their nest. They play an important role in the ecosystem by regulating the populations of other insects.

Black Wasps

Black Wasps
  • Size: About 1.2 to 2 cm long
  • Color: Mainly black
  • Distinctive Feature: Less colorful than other wasps, sometimes with white markings
  • Habitat: Nests in the ground or in hollow structures

Black wasps are a distinctive species due to their almost entirely black appearance. They can measure between 20 and 35 mm, making them relatively large compared to other wasp species. These wasps typically build their nests in the ground or in natural cavities, and are often observed in areas of dense vegetation or near human dwellings. Their diet is primarily carnivorous, focusing on insects they capture to feed their larvae. Despite their intimidating appearance, black wasps are generally less aggressive than other

American Sand Wasp

American Sand Wasp
  • Size: About 2.5 cm long
  • Color: Black with yellow markings
  • Distinctive Feature: Builds nests in the sand
  • Habitat: Sandy regions, dunes, beaches

The American sand wasp, measuring between 12 and 25 mm, is distinguished by its elongated body adapted to life in sandy soils. These wasps are unique as they dig nests in the sand or loose soils. Solitary in nature, they show little aggression towards humans and focus on hunting other insects to feed their larvae.

Habitat

In Canada, wasps establish their habitats in a variety of environments, from urban areas to dense forests and open spaces. These insects are particularly adept at building their nests in places offering some protection, such as under house eaves, in tree cavities, or even underground. In urban environments, they are often attracted to gardens and parks where they find an abundance of food and materials for nest building. In forested areas and fields, they prefer spaces with abundant vegetation that offers both a food source (insects, nectar) and natural shelter. Wasps play an important ecological role in controlling other insect populations and participating in pollination. However, their presence in urban environments can sometimes lead to conflicts with humans, particularly due to their tendency to build nests near homes or in frequently visited areas.

Attraction and Behavior

Wasps are attracted by a variety of factors that also influence their behavior. One of the main attractants for these insects is food, especially sweet substances and proteins. This often brings them into contact with human areas, particularly during summer and autumn, where they are attracted to foods consumed or left outside, such as fruits, sugary drinks, and meat remnants. In addition to food, wasps are also attracted to suitable places for nest building, such as under roof structures, crevices in walls, or hollow trees. Their behavior varies depending on the species and circumstances. Some wasps, like paper wasps, are relatively peaceful and avoid interactions with humans unless threatened. Others, like yellow jackets, can be more aggressive, especially when protecting their nest or in late season when food resources become scarce. In these situations, they can become more likely to sting. Their aggressiveness also varies depending on environmental factors and food availability. Overall, wasps play a crucial role in the ecosystem, acting as pollinators and regulators of other insect populations, but their interaction with humans can be a source of nuisance, especially in urban settings.

Distinguer les Guêpes d’Autres Insectes

Bees

Bees

Bees and wasps differ in several aspects. Bees have a more robust and hairy body, which aids in pollen collection, while wasps have a smoother and more slender body. Typically, bees display more muted colors, with shades of brown and black, as opposed to the brighter markings of wasps. Behaviorally, bees are primarily pollinators and are less aggressive than wasps, except when defending their hive.

Hornets

Hornets

Hornets are actually a type of wasp, but they are noticeably larger. Hornets can grow up to 5 cm in length, which makes them much larger than common wasps. They also have a more robust appearance and color patterns that may vary depending on the species. Although both species build paper nests, hornet nests are often much larger and are typically found in elevated locations like trees or attics. Hornets are known for being more aggressive and can be more dangerous due to their size and the potency of their sting.

Black Wasps

Black Wasps

Although black wasps share some similarities with common wasps, they are distinguished by several key features. Black wasps have an entirely or almost entirely black body, with little or no colored markings, unlike common wasps which display yellow or red stripes. Additionally, black wasps generally have a more slender body and longer legs. Their behavior also differs, with black wasps often being more solitary and less aggressive towards humans than common wasps.

Carpenter Ants with wings

Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants, although they can be similar in size to wasps, are easily distinguishable by their morphology. Ants have elbowed antennae and a narrow petiole between the thorax and the abdomen, forming a distinctive “waist,” a feature absent in wasps. Moreover, carpenter ants do not have wings, except during their reproductive period, while wasps generally have wings. Carpenter ants are also known for nesting behavior in wood, unlike wasps that build paper nests.

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