insect invasion in the miao house!

I was working at my computer when I heard a strange buzzing noise from the living room. It took a few moments for it to register. When I went to investigate, I saw Tashi & Mani crowded together by the window. On the window sill was a gigantic buzzing bug with an intimidating yellow and black color scheme. I think my heart skipped a couple beats and I may have felt faint. I shooed the Miaos away and hurried to get my jar. When I got back, it became clear that the bug must have been wounded because it was still by the window, not acting aggressive but just buzzing. I took it outside. It didn’t leave the jar immediately so I’m just leaving the jar in the front yard for now. I hope the bug makes it, but at the same time I’m terrified that it is some kind of mutant poisonous stinging insect that came to scout out the Miao House in preparation for mass invasion.

I checked Tashi & Mani for signs of insect stings but they both seem comfortable. Past experience has made me paranoid.

And where was the Batcat during all of this? Napping on my bed in his fleecy nest!

Can anyone identify the bug from these photos? Please tell me it is a harmless buzzy bug that eats pollen and not kitties.


bug 5-6-2011 11-05-39 AM
bug 5-6-2011 11-03-20 AM

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25 Responses to insect invasion in the miao house!

  1. Martin says:

    Not an expert but that to me looks like a common wasp…

    Which it is see this google image search…

    Hope the cats are fine which they should be unless they got stung by it!

    Not hearing any cat meows will be a good thing for the cats I think…

    • littlemiao says:

      Thanks! I guess I should have been able to identify it as a common wasp since I’ve seen them before, but it was just so scary looking and I was just so scared that it looked like some alien mutant.

      All the kitties are fine, thank goodness!

  2. GanLu says:

    you might want to check outside for a wasp nest.

  3. I agree with Martin, it appears to be a wasp. Even if it’s hurt, I wouldn’t mess with it. The last time I got stung by one, my foot went numb for three days. A cat, especially one with an allergy to insect stings, would probably get very sick. It was kind of you to set the wasp outside alive, however. I was so traumatized by my wasp sting I automatically reach for a rolled-up magazine when I see one!

    • littlemiao says:

      Lotus has an allergy, but thankfully he was not present. I haven’t been stung in years, but when I did, my leg swelled up to twice its size. Stinging bugs terrify me, but I don’t think I could kill one. I’d probably miss anyways and it would just get angry and attack me. I was lucky that this one was so subdued.

  4. Drude says:

    It is a social wasp, a yellowjacket (Vespidae is the family and I can’t see which species it is). They have a nasty sting, and it can cause a problematic swelling if a cat (or human) gets stung around nose or mouth. Potential problems happen fairly quickly, so if the cats aren’t showing any problems in the first few minutes or half hour I think they’re fine. Otherwise the sting is very painful and swollen for a while.
    The wasps don’t die from giving a sting like bees do, so they can sting over and over if they are mad, even after the wasp itself is actually dead, so if it dies inside, be sure to remove the body so nobody chews on it. You did very well to get the bros away and pick it up with the jar and just take it outside.
    I can’t see the size, but this looks like a worker. They forage for meaty and sugary things, but also old wood that they chew up and make paper for their nests from. They are often attracted to light. That can be a problem if you have your light on indoors at night and there is a colony nearby – then they will try to get in through any cracks around your windows or doors where the light shines through.
    The queens often overwinter indoors or in cracks in old wood. They start a new nest early in spring… depending on your climate that may be not so long ago… and you don’t really notice that there is a nest around until the first brood of workers start flying and foraging. The nests can be in the ground or hanging often in an open space under something that protects them from weather (roof, stairs, furnitures, hollow trees). The nests are normally made from a greyish papery material.
    Wasps are normally not terribly aggressive this time of year, but in the fall, when the colonies start dying they become nasty and sting people for no reason at all.

    • pyrit says:

      Drude – I really, really think you are awesome.

      True about yellowjacket aggression in the fall. I know someone who was just standing outside and a yellowjacket out of the blue landed on their cheek and stung twice for no reason.

      • Drude says:

        He thx Py 🙂
        – wasps I actually DO know something about.. for once I’m not just googling and making shit up 😉
        We weren’t allowed to work on these ones in the lab because they’re nasty… but my best friend really really wanted to and they’re super interesting in all sorts of ways. We have collected a few nests and dug a huge one out of the ground once…
        She ended up working on ants and I worked on parasitoid wasps and fig wasps…
        And yeah I’ve had similar encounters in fall… got stung on the back while unlocking the front door… absolutely no reason… just fly-by stinging madness.
        I also had my lights on at night and got half a swarm of a similar tropical species into my bedroom where they all decided to come and cuddle with me in bed after the lights went out… that was quite painful too… I don’t know what they wanted with me, but it like being in a Hitchcock movie, I tells ya.

        • Lauri says:

          Oook, aaaaack!!! Fly by stinging madness! And night time cuddling in bed….Do.not.want. !!!

          The pain of those stings is unbelievable. Childbirth is nothing compared to bee and wasp stings!

          Little Miao, definitely take a sandal and squarsh those buggers next time you see one!

          • pyrit says:

            Drude, I know you’re for real because you once got all scientific when I was being poetic about a bee on Vox. It was great! I applaud you!

            Lauri – I chased a wasp in my bathroom today with the toilet brush! lol!

          • littlemiao says:

            Somehow I just can’t squash them! Then I think of all the havoc they might cause after I free them and I feel guilty.

            This one must have been wounded or something, but I guess if it had been aggressive I would have tried to stop it by any means.

    • littlemiao says:

      Thanks Drude! I knew I could count on you for great info. The wasp looked quite large to me which is one reason I was so scared. The photos don’t show scale very well. And my memory exaggerates things. But at the time, it seemed like an unusually large insect, and somehow I was used to wasps being smaller.

  5. Drude says:

    It looks very very much like the German wasp (Vespula germanica) that is very common here… I didn’t know it has been introduced, but it says on wikipedia that it’s well established in the US. If you want to know for sure you have to look at the black and yellow pattern on the front of it’s face…. which you might not want to… but you can read about it here:

  6. Drude just said what I came over to say – and included a lot more info 🙂

  7. Lauri says:

    Yes, yes, a vespid wasp! Those darn things! I get stung by them all the time and my leg or foot or hand swells up like a balloon. They are very territorial and grumpy and I do kill them when I find them in the house.

    They nest holes in the house, or in the ground….my husband has been stung by riding his lawnmower over the nest.

    I am NOT a fan of these things!

    • littlemiao says:

      yikes! i’m getting scared.

      • Lauri says:

        I didn’t mean to scare you, littlem! I only get stung because I am very careless about wearing shoes, and I am always digging in dirt and moving rocks and logs and stuff around. I have never been stung in the house. I just take a paper towel and smoosh them. Or a flyswatter.
        I hate killing anything, but those buggers get killed anyway.

  8. Lurkertype says:

    Regardless of how you feel, those bastards need to die any time you see one (esp. if they’re already wounded, I think squishing is better than a lingering death). Last time I saw one, it stung my hand and I couldn’t use it for 2-3 days. They even build nests in parked cars!

    Wasps, cockroaches, and poisonous spiders get killed on sight. I am willing to negotiate with other things. Anything that is a threat to my kitties must die, though.

    Since it was wounded, it might have been lost and confused rather than plotting an invasion of Miao House.

  9. Funny story. I was sitting at my computer at home a weekend or two ago when I heard buzzing. Looked around, didn’t see anything, went back to my computer. It started again and then I saw a wasp (or was it a yellow jacket?) buzzing around not too far from my head. It landed on my bamboo, then I grabbed a jar and took it outside. Still haven’t figured out how it got in my room!

  10. LBeeeze says:

    It looks like a yellow jacket to me (as mentioned above). I don’t think you need to worry about the kitties. If they would’ve been stung I’m sure they would’ve cried. Glad you weren’t stung.

    Take care.

  11. pyrit says:

    Yes, yellowjacket. Ditto other peeps comments about them.

    I often wonder what their purpose is!

  12. snoringKatZ says:

    A sting from one of those hurts for sure. But they’re not nasty. They’re just misunderstood. 😉

Miao & Purr!

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