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Not sure what you have? The following gives you a way to help identifying what you see. Go to the month that your seeing the insects or nest. Find the scenario that best fits yours. Then go to the link to find the species you have. 

January-February

You find it or them in the house by a light or on the inside windows. Most often these are polistes wasps or queen yellow jackets that found a way into the attic area to hibernate in. With the heat of the house they stay warm and start to crawl around finding a way into the house. Often they will enter through light fixtures in the ceiling.  
Honeybees are the only species that will still have a live nest in the winter months. They are in their winter cluster inside the hive and will only come out on warm winter days for cleansing flights. This would have been active in late summer and fall of the previous summer.

March – April

You see them flying around the lights, or on the windows. Polistes wasps and yellow jacket queens will start coming out of hibernation and will crawl into the house.

 You see them flying around the peak of the house, soffit areas or the edge of a shed roof on a warm sunny day. Only on warm sunny days will the polistes wasp fly around areas that they have hibernated in.

 You see them flying around a plant outside that has flowers. Bumble bee queens will start emerging from hibernation in March and April. They have hibernated all winter on fat stores that are all but gone now so they need to eat and you will see the bumble bee queens on the few plants that are in bloom in early March and April.

 You see lots (20-100) of them flying into a hole in a wall or in a tree. Honey bees that lived through the winter will fly on warmer days in March and April. This would be a hive that was active last summer.

 You see them coming out of small holes in the ground. Several species of solitary bees will start to emerge in April. 

 You see them coming in and out of a birdhouse. Bumble bees will nest in birdhouses and can have active nests in March and April. Polistes wasps will sometimes use a birdhouse to hibernate in and you will see them when the weather is sunny and warm.

May

You have a plant that is in bloom and every time you get near it they swarm around you. This is typical for bumble bees. When you get by a rhododendron that is blooming the bumble bees will fly around circling you.

 You see them flying around the peak of the house or around the ridge top of the roof or maybe the edge of a shed roof. The polistes wasps will be emerging from hibernation and actively seeking out nesting sights. It is not uncommon to see 10-20 flying around at a time when the sun is out and it is warm (+-60 degrees).

 You see a small globe nest about the size of a chicken egg or a little larger. The Yellow hornet queens are building thier nest now. The nest starts out small about the size of a golf ball or an egg.

 You see them sitting in the sun on the wall or the eave on the fascia board. Polistes wasps and Yellow hornets will sun themselves to get warm. 

  You see small holes in the ground that they are coming from. Several species of  solitary bees will emerge and start nest building in May.

 You see them going in and out of a birdhouse. Bumble bees will use a bird house to nest in. You can tell bumble bees from the others because they are fat and stubby-looking. The yellow hornet will nest in a birdhouse as will the polistes wasp. 

 You see them going into a wood pile, compost pile, grass clipping pile or under the house. Bumble bees are generally the only ones that have nests this early in these places.

 You see lots (50-100) of them going in and out of a hole in a wall or tree. Honeybees are active when the temperature is 50 degrees and up. 

 You see a cloud of bees flying in the air. This is a honeybee swarm.

 You see a ball of bees in a tree, sitting in a bush, on a wall or on the ground. This is a honeybee swarm.

June

You see a nest -
You see honeycomb nest(s) on the eave or in a shed. Polistes wasps make the comb nests.
You see a globe-like nest from as small as a chicken egg up to the size of a football. The yellow hornets have their nests started now.

 You see them going into the soffit area on the house. The yellow hornet will nest in the soffits. They will be active from morning till dark. Polistes wasps will nest in the soffits but are not active until it warms up.  

 You see them going into the soffit where birds have had a nest before, under a shed, into a box, into insulation, into hay, or into a grass clipping pile. These are common nesting sights for bumble bees.

 You have a birdhouse with them inside. These will either be bumble bees, yellow hornets or polistes wasps.

 You see a cloud of bees in the air. This is a honeybee swarm.

 You see a clump or a ball of bees (generally this will be 1000s) on a limb, maybe sitting on a car, or in a bush. This is a honeybee swarm.

 You see 100s if not 1000s of them flying around the house looking at cracks, or checking one area and you know they were not doing this the day before.  Honeybees reproduce by swarming. The queen leaves the old hive with about half of the work force. They look for a new place to live. This will be a wall void, a hollow tree or a man-made box hive. They may look at a sight for a couple of days before deciding to move in. They will look at several different places until a majority will agree on the same place where they will then all go.

 You see them going in the cracks and sitting on the wall.  They look a lot like flies. Mason bees will sit on the wall and sun themselves.  Although they look black they are a metallic blue when the light hits them right.

 You see small holes in the ground that they come from. Solitary bees live in small holes in the ground.

 

July & August

You can see a nest -
The nest is on an eve looks flat - see polistes wasps 
The nest is on an eve and is globe like with a hole toward the bottom - see hornets         
The nest is plastered in the corner looks like mud - see mud dobber wasps
The nest is in a tree or a bush – see hornets

You cannot see a nest but see them coming and going from the soffit or eve -
They are active from daybreak untill dark - see yellow hornet, honeybee, or yellow jacket
They are only active when the sun is out and it is warm - see polistes wasps 
You cannot see a nest but see them coming and going from a hole in the ground, a stump, a box in a shed, a retaining wall, a brush or compost pile - see yellow jackets, or bumble bees. You see them coming and going from a hole in a wall - see honeybees, or yellow jackets 

You see several holes in the ground and see them flying around when the sun is out and it is warm - see sand wasps, or solitary bees

September & October

You can see a nest -
The nest is on an eve looks flat - see
polistes wasps 
The nest is on an eve and is globe like with a hole toward the bottom-see
hornets         
The nest is plastered in the corner looks like mud - see
mud dobber wasps
The nest is in a tree or a bush – see
hornets
You cannot see a nest but see them coming and going from the soffit or eve -
They are active from daybreak untill dark - see
yellow hornet, honeybee, or yellow jacket
They are only active when the sun is out and it is warm - see
polistes wasps 
You cannot see a nest but see them coming and going from a hole in the ground, a stump, a box in a shed, a retaining wall, a brush or compost pile - see
yellow jackets, or bumble beesYou see them coming and going from a hole in a wall - see honeybees, or yellow jackets 

November & December

 
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