This website was created in 2002 with the main intention of educating and sharing info on insects of the Aculeate Hymenoptera, otherwise known to most people as wasps and bees, the insects feared for their painful stings. I made many changes over the years, but unfortunately did not have much time to maintain the site regularly or sort out the messy pages. The format was therefore rather shabby and unorganized. I moved the website to this domain in 2006, replaced most of the old, poor photos with better ones of standard size and added a number of video clips of hornets, bees and wasps, mostly in their natural environment. Following a long period of being offline or not functioning properly due to problems with the server and web host, it is now back ten years later, in 2016, with a new format which is simplified but hopefully easy on the eyes and neat enough to read and navigate.
I actually spent much time organizing the info on the various species and planning the layouts, such that I didn't have much time to think of a good title for this site! Since I had to design the front page and logo/banners, I tried without success to think of a suitable title. However, not being at my most creative at that point, I could only come out with "Asian Hornet Net", a slight improvement over my obvious, boring old title of "Asian bee and wasp site"! This page does focus quite strongly on the hornets and other social wasps, but I intend to provide info on the solitary wasps and the bees in due course. In 2016, I renamed the site "Aculeates of Asia" to reflect this (Aculeates being a term for the bees and wasps classified under the group Aculeata and commonly known as the Aculeate Hymenoptera). As for the domain name, vespa-bicolor.net, I decided to name the site after Vespa bicolor, the smallest and most common hornet in Hong Kong, probably my favourite wasp as it is one of the species I first came into contact with and which thus sparked my interest in bees and wasps in the beginning.
This site is built purely out of my interest and out of my free time, mainly to educate the layman about Hymenopteran insects(bees and wasps), to provide some info on some of the species found in Hong Kong, Singapore and other parts of Asia, and also to a certain extent, to learn more myself. If you are looking for complicated scientific info, this is not the place, although you can visit the links page and find links to other websites providing such info.
Some of the info on this site was taken from my years of reading on this subject, some through personal communication with experts in this field and some from reading other websites and entomological articles. However, it is not copied word for word from anywhere.In fact, the majority of the info on Asian species was from my own observation over the years.
To my knowledge, all info on this site is correct, however,if I have stated anything erroneous or am wrong in any way, please let me know so I can correct it. It must be noted that many things about these insects are my own observation, so it may differ from others' observation. Therefore such things are never absolutely wrong; they can vary in different habitats and countries. Please provide relevant references in this case. In many cases, you will notice that when in doubt, I do not like to state absolute rights or wrongs; I prefer to list out and discuss different opinions from different sources.
I'm John X. Q. Lee. I'm Singaporean, but have lived half of my life in Singapore and half in Hong Kong, therefore I am very familiar with the natural environments and have some general knowledge of the fauna in both places (I like nature and wildlife in general, but besides bees and wasps, I have a keen interest and basic knowledge of other insects, spiders, fish, reptiles and amphibians). I was based in Hong Kong from 2002 up till 2013. I am now back in Singapore, but I still return to Hong Kong every month or so due to certain commitments, and whenever I am back and time and weather permits, I am always out in the field to observe and photograph bees and wasps.
I have many hobbies and interests, far too many to list out. Many of these involve animals; I have always had a particular interest in fish, reptiles, insects, spiders, scorpions and centipedes. While many people find some of these animals scary and creepy, I have yet to receive such dramatic responses regarding these as when I tell people of my interest in bees and wasps, especially social Vespid wasps. I know of very few who are interested in these insects. Maybe this interest is linked with my love of nature and being in natural habitats; I enjoy staying in these places for hours, especially coupled with a chance to watch wasps.
I'm not a professional biologist or entomologist. I merely have had a lifelong interest in insects which I cannot explain, so therefore I continue to study and observe them whenever I have a chance. I did take up a couple of courses in pest control in Singapore back in 2007 and 2008, where all pest control personnel must be registered with the authorities to ensure occupational safety and quality of work, mainly to learn how wasp nest removals are done, and ran my own wasp removal business in Hong Kong for a period of time, although I have since ceased to operate due to the fact that I'm now based in Singapore. I have also written a few papers of my own or co-authored papers with other wasp researchers and specialists. Thus, it can be said that my interests in bees and wasps has gone far beyond a mere hobby, although it is purely personal and separate from my main job.
All photographs, video clips and other media/graphics on this site are mine unless specifically otherwise stated; in such cases, they are copyright of their respective owners.
The main reason why I got deeper into photography was so that I could capture these fascinating moments of activity and happenings in the world of these insects. In the past, using a compact film camera, I was consistently disappointed when not one single shot I took could ever be developed successfully. The compact camera gave no control over exposure and had no closeup mode. Later, I used a compact digital camera, which provided only slightly better results, capturing detailed but poor quality photos. It was only after I bought my first SLR camera, coupled with lenses with telephoto and closeup capabilities, that my photos distinctly improved.
Although I learnt the basics of photography well, most of my photos are far from perfect and will not be considered technically correct in terms of composition by photography experts, as I always try to quickly take record shots before adjusting the camera settings and moving in for a better composition, especially when trying to record a bee or wasp in the act of doing something interesting, such as mating or catching prey. Thus, I place a lot of pride in many of my photos, despite their imperfection, as these results were obtained only after months of hard work.
Today, I mostly use my Nikon D90 digital SLR camera with various macro or zoom lenses. I sometimes use a small digital camera such as a Canon Ixus 60 or even my Iphone to photograph or take videos of nests in narrow spaces where my main camera cannot squeeze in. Past cameras used include Nikon D70 and Nikon D100. I still use my old Nikon F90X film SLR sometimes, although digital is still most convenient as one is able to review photos taken immediately and adjust settings to compensate if the settings used were not ideal.
You may notice that the browser window cannot be resized, the toolbars and address bar are missing and right clicks have been disabled. This is partly to protect the images on this site, especially the works of those who were kind enough to contribute to this site, but more than anything else, is just an attempt at practicing website design back then! I am too busy to experiment with new layouts today, so I shall leave it this way for now.
As mentioned above, my photos and video clips are not perfect yet but I spent lots of effort to obtain them. Therefore, please donít attempt to copy and save them directly off. If you need to use any of them for any reason whatsoever, please contact me. I will send a higher resolution version, without the copyright and border if so desired.
In the case of photos contributed by others, I can enquire on your behalf if they could contribute these photos for your specific purpose. The decision, of course, lies with the owner of the photo(s) in question.
I used to dedicate this section to thanking everyone who helped in the development of my website, or provided identification of certain species. However, I find myself talking to new people all the time, and also I have had the honour to speak with some of the true experts in this field. Therefore, I cannot update this section regularly, and I can only once again thank everyone who has helped me in any way; I am truly grateful!
I will list the name of those who helped me with certain topics in the respective sections or pages, for example by helping with identification or contributing information and/or photos.
Proceed to any of the other sections or back to the main page with the navigation frame on the left. Or, click here to return to the previous page from where you arrived here.