“Yellowjacket” is the common term for a predatory wasp in North America. Most yellowjackets are black and yellow; some are black and white, while others may have a red abdomen instead of black. Yellowjackets can be identified by their distinctive markings, small size (similar to a honey bee), and a side-to-side flight pattern prior to landing. Females are capable of stinging multiple times which makes yellowjacket removal in Fort Worth a big business.
Yellowjackets, in contrast to honey bees, are not covered with hair and lack the flattened hairy hind legs used to carry pollen. Yellowjackets have a lance-like stinger with small barbs and typically sting repeatedly, although occasionally the stinger becomes lodged and pulls free of the wasp’s body. Yellowjacket venom, like most stinging venoms, can be dangerous to those who are allergic. Those who are allergic should definitely leave the yellowjacket removal to the experts at Little Giant Beekeepers.
Yellowjackets are social hunters living in colonies containing workers, queens, and males. Yellowjacket nests usually last for only one season, primarily dying off in winter. A new nest is started by a single queen during the warm days of late spring or early summer. Queens select a nest site and build a small paper nest in which they lay eggs. The nest grows throughout the season to accommodate new members and can reach the size of a basketball. A large nest is a sure sign that you need help. In warmer climates, the winters are mild enough to allow nest overwintering. Nests that survive multiple seasons can become massive and should be avoided at all costs.
Yellowjackets are often considered the most dangerous stinging insects in the United States. They are totally unpredictable and will sting if disturbed. During late summer and fall, yellowjacket colonies are nearing maturity and huge numbers of workers are out foraging for food for developing queens. With insect prey (their usual diet) becoming scarce, yellowjackets scavenge for other sources of nutrition, especially sweets, e.g., fruits, ice cream, beer and soft drinks. The persistent foraging of yellowjackets at picnics and other outdoor activities produces many calls from homeowners and businesses wanting to know what can be done to alleviate the problem.