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bee or wasp?

I need some help really identifying a huge insect that has just fallen down my chimney!  its the same shape as a wasp but it is approx 3cms long and jet black.  I recall hearing something about an invasion of huge bees from America killing our native  or could this be one of them...what do I do with it??  At the moment it is in a jam jar.


  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,736

    It could be a hornet, although they are usually marked more like wasps.  I'd set it free outside -  take a quick photo first if you can - you've then got the photo to aid identification later - it's very unlikely to be anything harmful, to you or to bees.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • granmagranma Posts: 1,929

    Can you photograph it and put it on here - one of the proffesional gardeners might know what it is - I actualy would'nt set it free until I had found out what it is, If it is a Hornet they can be nasty .

    ( you say it came down the chimney , maybe its covered in soot!!!!!!!  ) sorry only joking

  • Could be a soot-covered hornet or a sawfly.  There isn't much that resembles a wasp and gets that big in this country and I can't find anything of that size that's totally black.  The Horntail, Sirex juvencus and Sirex noctilio (sawflies) are darker in colour than hornets and harmless, get on google images and see what you think.

  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 82,736

    Sadly there is a lot of misinformation around about hornets and this is leading to them becoming endangered - their stings are no worse than a wasp sting and they are not as aggressive as wasps - they usually keep themselves to themselves - however they are attracted to light so if you are lucky enough to have a nest nearby and have lights on and windows open in the evening they may come indoors -  so shut the windows and you'll be fine.

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    Could it be a cockchafer or May Bug?  You can tell by their antennae which open out like a book.  They bumble about at this time of year and are harmless.  The destructive phase of their life is before the hatch, when they are in the soil.

  • WintersongWintersong Posts: 2,436

    Whatever it is, 3 days detention in a jam jar is not doing it any goodimage

  • CettiCetti Posts: 22

    Any chance of a pic? I'm reasonably knowledgable on insects. It sounds like a sawfly to me. Do you live near woodland?

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114

    It sounds like a cockchafer!

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