Yellow Jackets

yellow_jacketIntroduction: Yellow jackets are about ½ inch long and are yellow and black. These bees are native to Europe and are now very prevalent in North America. A typical yellow jacket nest is about the size of a basket ball and colonies are formed annually.

Biology: Fertile queens will go dormant over the winter and emerge in the spring and begin laying eggs. Once mating is done in the fall the males die off. The queen will usually lay between 30-50 eggs. The eggs will hatch in around 20 days and will be fed by the queen until able to survive on their own. The queen will continue to lay eggs, never leaving her nest until her death in the fall. The nest grows relatively quick with a maximum size of 4000 workers and over ten thousand cells. These bees are known as scavengers and feed on fruits, meats and carbonated beverages.

Habits: Yellow jackets will aggressively defend their nest and are known to be vicious stinging insect and are capable of stinging multiple times. Yellow jackets will make nests out of cellulose materials and can be found on tree branches or in wall voids of structures. Workers will leave the nest and die off by the end of November and the nests are rarely used the following year.