Facts about Yellow Jacket Wasps, Yellow Jacket Wasps belong to the genera vespula and dolichovespula. Hymenoptera means -membranous wings- insects have four transparent wings and the females typically have a sting. includes ants, bees, wasps, horntails and sawflies. The Yellow Jacket Wasps are predatory wasps which are simply known as wasps by most European countries. Members of these genera vary in color. The Yellow Jacket Wasps are found mostly in black and yellow though black and white are also common. There are others that have a red abdomen background instead of the usual black.
Yellow Jacket Wasps can easily be distinguished from others. They have distinctive markings, different patterns on the abdomen, they occur in colonies only and they make a side flight pattern before landing.
The queen Yellow Jacket Wasps is the largest of all. She is around 1/4 inches (9mm) long and the worker Yellow Jacket Wasps is around 3/8 inches (12mm) long. The worker has alternating bands on the abdomen and the queen has different pattern on her abdomen. Differentiating bee workers and the Yellow Jacket Wasp is a bit tasking. This is because they almost carry the same duties though the Yellow Jacket Waspss do not carry pollen. Their bodies are not covered with tan brown hair and they don’t have the flattened hind hairy legs used to carry pollen.
The Yellow Jacket Wasps mouth parts have very strong mandibles which they use to catch and chew insects. They sting especially the females. Their faces are either white or yellow and this is common in all species. When the Yellow Jacket Wasps sting, the stingers may pull out of the body or in some instances lodges to pull out later.
The Yellow Jacket Wasps nests are built using wood fiber that they chew until they look like a paper. Mostly these nests are built on trees, shrubs, sheltered and protected places especially structures that are man-made, in soil cavities, mouse burrows etc.
The life-cycle of these Yellow Jacket Wasps is similar to those of the bees. They live in colonies which have a queen, workers and drones (males). When the weather is warm the queen Yellow Jacket Wasp emerges to select a site for the nest. She builds her small paper nests where she lays eggs. Than after the eggs hatch and the queen takes the responsibility of feeding them. She feeds them for around 18 to 20 days.
After the Yellow Jacket Wasps emerge as small infertile females that are referred to as workers. They take the responsibility of feeding the larvae with meat and fruits that they chew, taking care of the colony, taking care of the queen, expansion of the colony and foraging.
The queen Yellow Jacket Wasp stays in the colony without any work except laying eggs. The eggs hatch as the colony continues to expand. By late summer the colony carries around 5,000 worker Yellow Jacket Wasps and 15,000 cells. The male dies just after mating. The productive adults leave their parent’s colony to form their own.
The queen Yellow Jacket Wasp is the only one who survives the winter where she moves to form nest in other protected places. The workers also leave the colony and later die. The nests are abandoned and dry up.
Yellow Jacket Wasp adults feed on food rich in sugars and carbohydrates. These include; flower nectar, tree sap ad fruits. The larvae mostly are fed with proteins like insects, fish and meat. The larvae also need sugar so the workers go in search of sugars in human garbage and picnics.
"Scientific name for Wasp is Hymenoptera".