Yellowjackets and Yellow Hornets
is the common name for several different species of wasps.
Yellowjackets and Hornets are in the taxonomic order or group "Hymenoptera".
The literal translation of this Latin name means "married-wing," and refers
to the tiny hooks (called hamuli) that couple the front and hind wings
The term yellowjacket refers to a number
of different species of wasps in the genera Vespula and Dolichovespula (family
Vespidae). Yellow Jackets are found throughout North America. Their nests
are located in the ground or in rotting logs. The colony will reach
maximum size in late summer. Worker yellow-jackets are common around picnic
areas where they forage for food. Yellow Jackets are social wasps and live
in colonies where they lay their eggs in combs of cells made of paper.
Yellow Jackets benefit the woodland environment by killing insects that
destroy plants and fruit!
E-Mail of Barbara H Parker:
These photos taken of a "yellow-jacket condo" as I called it as it was
reconstructed over the base of a very old
nest destroyed several years ago, A short times after I took the photos the nest
collapsed to the ground as it was so heavy.You can see why the nest fell to the
ground as the old dead base they used just would not hold the weight. For a time we had some angry yellow
pictures taken by
Barbara H Parker
E-Mail of Michael Ellestadt:
unlike the bald-faced hornet the aerial yellow jacket makes a scale
like pattern on the outer envelope instead of the
tube like layered enevelope of the bald-faced
hornet. Those aerial yellow jackets the I have seen them make large nests
before in trees and on houses. The places where I find them at the most
would be in the northern states and sometimes in Kentucky and very
commonly in tennessee and even bald faced hornet is common down there. I
once found a nest in ohio that had 10 combs but it fell apart and I had to
throw it away. Heres another nice photo I shot of a nest I own. I like the
aerial yellow jacket nests better because they are made out of strong
paper while the subterranean species has a nest that is very brittle.
I know someone at where I work at that calls yellow jackets "garbage bees"
because its true they do hang around garbage!!!
pictures taken by Michael Ellestadt
attracted to and eat sweet foods - honey, candy, fruits, soft drinks, etc.
For protein they hunt other insects and spiders. In addition, the common
pest species collect red meats, chicken and fish - the same foods that
people often bring to eat in the parks.
are defensive, and never attack unprovoked. You may not intend to step
near their nest or take away their hamburger on your plate, but they
define what is their space and react predictably to intrusions. A colony
that has been disturbed is much more likely to defend itself. It is
possible to sit next to an undisturbed yellowjacket nest and observe them
quietly without any problems.
How to avoid getting stung
It is always best to
avoid unnecessary stings. Should a yellowjacket wasp fly near you or land on
your body, never swing or strike at it or run rapidly away since quick movements
often provoke attack and painful stings. When a wasp is near you, slowly raise
your hands to protect your face remaining calm and stationary for a while and
then move very slowly (avoid stepping on the ground nest), backing out through
bushes or moving indoors to escape.
- Don't go barefoot
- Don't swat with your hands
- Use lids on soft drinks
- check food before you put it in your mouth
- Avoid using things yellowjackets are attracted to: perfume
and other scents, hairspray, suntan lotion, brightly colored clothes, sweets
If you are stung
- Apply cold water or ice in a wet cloth
- Lie down, when feeling not well
- Lower the stung arm or leg
- Do not take alcohol.
E-Mail of Michael Ellestadt:
"Well my mother called them "Pop can bees" because its true if left unattended
yellow jackets will land on the edge of your soda can for drink so make sure you
put one of those lids with the flip top so you won't get stung in the mouth. My
brother once swallowed a yellow jacket when he went to take a drink of his
Sprite lemon soda."
People who are highly allergic to
yellowjacket venom may develop serious medical problems.
If you have any of the following symptoms contact a doctor or
a hospital to seek immediate emergency treatment: Hives, widespread
swelling of limbs, painful joints, wheezing, shortness of breath, faintness,
dizziness, vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, nasal discharge or stuffiness,
tightening of the throat.
Yellow Hornets (Vespa simillima Smith, 1868) are common in
Asian Russia and adjacent territories and Japan. It is not the same species as
the big hornet (Vespa mandarinia). The yellow-hornet makes greyball-shaped nests
built on structures or in trees. Beekeeper don't like them, because when a
yellow hornet approaches to the nest of the Japanese honeybee in the loft, the
yellow hornet kills them one by one, hovering near the entrance in the air. But
there are so many honeybees in the nest, it is not a big damage for them.
For the interested reader, special biological
literature is required to offer a broader spectrum of knowledge about these
Credit for the above diagram goes to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture
Credit for the above guide goes to the U.S.
Department of Agriculture
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Cicada Killer Wasps