Yellow jackets are wasps 1/2 to 1 inch long and have yellow and black stripes. They are aggressive. Their sting is usually painful and mildly injurious. Although, they are not very dangerous, but significant precaution should be taken when you see one. Here are some worth knowing interesting facts about yellow jackets.
Classification and native place
Yellow Jackets are arthropods that fall under the class of insects. They are found majorly in North America and also in some regions of South America. Their scientific name is Vespula germanica, while locally they are referred to as Yellow Jackets.
How to identify yellow jackets
Yellow Jackets can be easily mistaken for bees because of similar size and color. Yellow jackets differ from the bees in some ways – Yellow jackets have brighter color, they also have lesser hair than bees. Yellow jackets have black and yellow stripes on their abdomen and have a peculiarly narrow waist.
Yellow Jackets have six legs, four wings and two antenna. The parts of their body can be identified as head, thorax and abdomen. Theur face is yellow and has prominent black eyes.
Yellow jacket nest
Yellow jackets live in large colonies. Their colonies have one queen, and several male drones and workers.
The nests queen/ female yellow jacket chooses a safe place for the nest to bear the eggs.
The nests of the yellow jacket are underground; take advantage of rodent caves to build them.
As in the case of many other insects, the queen yellow jacket’s role is to lay hundreds of eggs, while the male drones fertilize the eggs.
The role of the workers is to collect food and provide for the nest.
Yellow jacket reproduction and life cycle
The founding female or the queen, starts to build about fifty cells, puts eggs in them and goes out to hunt to feed the emerging larvae.
The larvae are worms without legs, but with a small visible head.
When they have grown, they become metamorphosed, first into pupae and then into adult wasps, which are dedicated to helping their queen (mother), enlarging the nest and hunting.
The workers bring more sugar, eggs are fertilized again, and fecundated females look for a sheltered shelter to spend the winter. The workers die, but the following year, a fertile female recommences the cycle.
The lifespan of a yellow jacket is 12-22 days.
Yellow Jacket sting
Yellow Jackets are aggressive and its sting is usually painful. But some people can suffer severe allergic reactions. Prevent wasp stings by avoiding them or by removing sources of food.
Allergic reactions to yellow jacket bites include dizziness, nausea, stomach cramps, digestive problems, wheezing and shortness of breath. Some people fall unconscious and may die, but that is very rare.
How to avoid a yellow jacket
If a wasp lands on you, do not run or try to crush it. Let it recede or spawn gently.
Do not disturb the nests. If you see wasps flying from a hole in the ground or a building, it is a sign that there is probably a nest.
Keep all food covered or inside.