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Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Type of bee/wasp identification

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Question
bee/wasp?
bee/wasp?  
I found this dead bee by my house a week ago.  I live in NY.  I've never seen one this big before and just wanted to know what it was? From looking at pictures, it looks to be a wasp/yellow jacket, but wanted to confirm.
Does it sting? What could it mean that that I've never seen this type of bee before and it was right by my house? Does it mean there could be a hive somewhere close by?

Answer
Arkady:

I hope you did not kill it....

The insect in the image is a female Eastern Cicada Killer, Sphecius speciosus .  This website does a vastly better job of explaining what these solitary wasps are than I could in a few sentences:

http://sites.lafayette.edu/hollidac/research/biology-of-cicada-killer-wasps/

Suffice it to say they are not at all dangerous to people unless you physically molest a female wasp (males are anatomically incapable of stinging).  Male are aggressive as they defend territories near the nesting sites of females.

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

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