Yellowjackets are Out and About for the Summer



Yellowjackets (also spelled yellow jacket) consist of any 35-40 species. They are social wasps found mostly in the Northern Hemisphere. Their name is about the coloration of the abdomen – with yellow and black markings. However, some yellowjackets are white and black, while others have red markings. They are different from other wasps as their wings fold longitudinally when at rest. 

The Queen Of The Yellowjackets

In the U.S., there are a variety of yellowjackets. They are like termites when it comes to socialization as they also form colonies. The queen is the only yellow jacket to survive through the winter. She then begins to create her colony each spring. She decides on the location for her next nest, and it might be aerial or underground. She often builds her nest from paper-like material. The queen generally “hides” through the winter. When spring arrives, the fertilized queen establishes her colony. It contains 30-50 brood cells, and she lays from 10-20 eggs there. She feeds the young larvae for about 18-20 days. The larvae then emerge as infertile female workers. By the end of June, the first adult workers emerge. They assume the tasks of making the nest larger, gathering food, caring for the queen and her larvae, and defending the colony. The queen remains inside the nest, laying eggs, causing the colony to expand rapidly. The size might reach a maximum of 4,000 to 5,000 workers and a nest of 10,000 to 15,000 cells in August and late September. The queen, also known as the foundress, dies in the autumn. There are areas in the world where the nest can survive the winter. If a nest does survive multiple seasons, it becomes massive. It often possesses multiple egg-laying queens.

Yellowjackets Love Sweets And Are Not Afraid To Attack

The yellow jackets feed on sweets. These include flower nectar, fruit, soda, and protein. Protein is essential during their larval stage as this is when they need the nutrients to grow their wings and develop. Contrary to what most people believe, the yellow jacket does not want to sting. They are territorial insects. So, if their nests are approached, they become incredibly aggressive. During this point, they may sting several times. Some people are very allergic to their venom. Their sting can cause severe reactions. Yellowjackets and other stinging insects result in sending more than 500,000 people to the emergency room each year.

Killing A Yellowjacket

Yellowjackets leave their nest to fly outdoors when searching for food. When the summer ends, and food becomes scarce while temperatures cool, they sometimes find their way into the living areas of a home. Everyone should know that it is important not to kill the pest near its nest. Why? Because, when a yellowjacket is dying, it releases an alarm pheromone that smells. The odor sends an alert to the other wasps in the colony. Within 15 seconds, you might be surrounded by wasps coming to help their dying mate. 

When people see a yellowjacket, their first instinct is to kill it as quickly as possible. If you do so, you will most likely cause his buddies to leave their colony and come after you!