W*H*Y Wednesday: The Forest Yellowjacket
Today's featured species, as we close out 2008, is the Forest Yellowjacket, Vespula acadica.
This species is known to have three different marking patterns. Many will resemble the Northeastern Yellowjacket with a solid black band across the upper portion of the abdomen; though the majority will have two yellow or brown spots on this black band. Most rarely observed are the specimens without the black band and more yellow coloration on the abdomen. Their stout bodies measure roughly a half-inch in length like most other yellowjacket species.
The Forest Yellowjackets' habitat is, naturally, in heavily forested areas. The highlighted portion of the map below shows where they are found in the U.S.:
Forest Yellowjacket colonies last for one year. They are predators of live prey only, such as flies, caterpillars, hemipterans and aphids.
Forest Yellowjackets typically build aerial nests, but subterranean nests in logs are not uncommon. This species usually has smaller colonies, with fewer than 500 workers.
Nature toward humans: Because this species is primarily found in more heavily forested areas, the Forest Yellowjacket has limited contact with humans. If the nest is disturbed, Forest Yellowjackets will sting aggressively and persistently.
Good news if you have this species in your back yard: the new W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets from RESCUE! will catch Forest Yellowjackets! And even more good news: We shipped our first truckload of W*H*Y Traps yesterday, and more are on the way in coming weeks. Thanks for following us, and Happy New Year, readers!
Good news if you have this species in your back yard: the new W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets from RESCUE! will catch Forest Yellowjackets!
And even more good news: We shipped our first truckload of W*H*Y Traps yesterday, and more are on the way in coming weeks.
Thanks for following us, and Happy New Year, readers!
Video of the Week: Wasps wiggle to the beat
Here's some impressive close-up footage of paper wasps on a nest as they walk around, build, preen and tussle -- to reggae music. Even the larvae in the nest are moving... to the beat, perhaps?
Biker minutes from death after wasp sting
A wasp sting can happen when you least expect it... and the consequences can be dire. Here's a story out of Llandovery in the UK. A 61-year-old woman was out with her husband for a day in the country on their motorcycles. They stopped for lunch, she had a bite of an apple, and was stung on her upper lip by a wasp which had been resting on it. They rode to a nearby house to ask for help. She collapsed from anaphylactic shock shortly thereafter, with her airway tightening. Thankfully the paramedics arrived just in time to revive her.
You can read more here.
First W*H*Y Traps shipped today!
Perhaps you noticed that I goofed and posted the W*H*Y Wednesday post on Tuesday. But I was just too excited, because our first W*H*Y Trap shipment went out today!
These traps -- all 3200 of them -- are destined for Wal-Mart stores in Florida. Ironically, the Yellow Freight truck was running late after being stuck in the snow. But at 4 p.m., we loaded 6 pallets onto the truck and sent it on its way to warmer climes.
Here's a photo of (L-R) yours truly, Paul Crooks (Industrial Engineer) and Alyssa Ando (Marketing Coordinator) in front of the shipment:
And here are some scenes from earlier today as the assembly line rolled out the W*H*Y Traps:
If you're in Florida, these will be coming to a store near you... and many more will be shipped out to other states next week!
W*H*Y Wednesday: the Eastern Yellowjacket
Today's featured species is Vespula maculifrons, or the Eastern Yellowjacket. This species can be distinguished from other yellowjackets by the wide arrow shape at the top of its abdomen. Eastern Yellowjackets carry all the typical yellowjacket physical characteristics, such as a half-inch long stout body, yellow and black coloration, yellow legs and black antennae.
The Eastern Yellowjacket is found in a large section of the U.S. east of the Rockies, as shown in the highlighted portion of the map below:
Eastern Yellowjacket colonies are often found in yards, golf courses, recreational areas and manmade structures. They will scavenge for human food, and therefore are considered "picnic pests".
Eastern Yellowjackets typically build subterranean nests in yards, along roadsides, hardwood forests and creek banks, and in urban areas such as attics and manmade structures. Nests range from 4-12 inches in diameter and are tannish-brown in color, with larger colonies consisting of 3000-5000 workers. Entire colonies -- not just the queen -- can overwinter in warmer climates.
Again, Eastern Yellowjackets are "picnic pests" and can be dangerous if agitated while they are scavenging. They are also a stinging hazard if the nest is disturbed. Since this species is more likely to be found around human activity, Eastern Yellowjackets present more of a stinging hazard than other species.
Good news if you have this species in your backyard: The new W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets will catch Eastern Yellowjackets!
W*H*Y Wednesday: The Common Yellowjacket
Today's featured species is Vespula Vulgaris -- the Common Yellowjacket.
As its name suggests, the Common Yellowjacket possesses all the most common features of yellowjackets: stout body, roughly 1/2 inch in length, yellow and black coloration, yellow legs and black antennae.
As for their habits, Common Yellowjackets will scavenge for protein and are attracted to meats and sugary foods. They are often pests around trash cans and picnics. Colonies will last for one year.
The highlighted portion of the map below shows where Common Yellowjackets are found in the U.S.:
Common Yellowjacket nests are typically constructed in logs, rotting stumps, and in the soil. They are alos commonly found in between the walls of structures. Nests are very brittle and are red to tannish-brown in color.
Nature toward humans: Common Yellowjackets are "picnic pests" and quite annoying to humans. They are also a stinging hazard if agitated while they are scavenging, or if the nest is disturbed.
Good news if you have this species in your backyard: The new W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets from RESCUE! will catch the Common Yellowjacket!
Sterling donates gifts to Air Force families
Here's a press release about our annual donation to Fairchild Air Force Base:
Local Manufacturer Donates Gifts to Air Force Families
Spokane, WA, December 16, 2008 - Sterling International, Inc., local manufacturer of RESCUE!® Pest Control Products, donated toys and food vouchers to Fairchild Air Force Base families to honor the men and women serving overseas.
Armed with Santa hats and a sleigh-full of holiday spirit, Sterling employees marched 100 new toys and $1250 in gift vouchers to Fairchild Air Force Base. The donations helped more than 24 young airmen's families to celebrate this Christmas.
"When we called to have families come get the gifts and food coupons, most cried with joy," said Pam Martin, Family Services Coordinator at Fairchild AFB. This holiday season marks Sterling's fifth consecutive year of donations to the base.
Leading the group of holiday helpers was Sterling founder and President Rod Schneidmiller. "It's an honor and a privilege to give back to the community where we work and play," he said. "It's the right thing to do."
"Sterling has touched so many military families over the years," said Martin. "I can't express how I feel, and the feeling of the folks receiving the gifts."
Since 1982, Sterling International, Inc. has created insect traps and attractants as an alternative to sprays. Based in Spokane, Washington, the company sells its RESCUE!®Traps for flies, wasps, hornets, yellowjackets, Japanese beetles and Oriental beetles through home improvement centers, hardware stores and lawn & garden retailers throughout the U.S. and beyond.
L-R: Pam Martin, Family Services Coordinator at Fairchild AFB; Rod Schneidmiller, Sterling President; Jonathan Manfredonia, Sales & Marketing Assistant; Gerry Simpson, VP of Operations; and Jim Oxley, VP of Sales.
Sterling gets an early Christmas present
Hot off the presses -- or in this case, the injection molding machine -- we have our first complete, non-prototype, finished W*H*Y Trap!
President Rod Schneidmiller holds this early Christmas present by our company tree in the front lobby.
Here's a closer look:
I can't tell you how excited we are to have a finished product. These photos don't do it justice -- the parts have such a high-quality look and feel. Everyone in the office was positively giddy to see and hold the trap. Next week we hope to be running the parts, assembling the traps with their attractant and packaging, and shipping displays.
Follow RESCUE on Twitter. Why? Bee-cause!
RESCUE! Pest Control Products now has a presence on Twitter. You can find us there and follow our updates at WHYRESCUE. (RESCUE was already taken, and we have the WHY Trap coming, so that's why we chose that username!)
W*H*Y Wednesday: The California Yellowjacket
As yellowjackets go, the California Yellowjacket (Vespula sulphurea) is probably the most laid-back. It's not a serious stinging hazard, nor has it been reported as a picnic pest.
It's also fairly rare... so rare that we don't have a photo of it, only a description: it has a half-inch long, stout body with yellow and black coloration. Like the Western Yellowjacket, it has a yellow "eye loop" or ring surrounding the upper portion of the eye. However, it can be distinguished from other species found in California by two yellow, longitudinal stripes on the thorax.
The California Yellowjacket is found only in Maine... just kidding. Here's the habitat map for this species:
Although they don't typically hang around picnics, California Yellowjackets are attracted to sugary secretions and prey on live insects. Most of their nests are subterranean, but they can also be found in logs and manmade structures. Unless their nest is disturbed, California Yellowjackets are not a serious stinging hazard.
Parts is Parts
And parts are good, when we're talking about parts that make up our highly anticipated new product! We're getting close to having all the parts ready to assemble the W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets. Our Engineering Department is tweaking things like the clarity of the tube, the finish of the top and bottom caps, and the fit of the assembled parts. It's all looking very good, and I should be able to post some photos of the parts in the next few days.
In the meantime, enjoy this blast-from-the-past commercial which talks about some less appealing parts...
Video of the Week: A Surprise in the Wall
This video isn't long, but it shows how yellowjacket nests can get too close for comfort at times.
I'm just glad they weren't remodeling in the summer.
W*H*Y Wednesday: The Blackjacket
When is a yellowjacket not a yellow jacket? When it's a Blackjacket! Today's featured species, Vespula consobrina, falls under the "yellowjacket" category but is commonly known as a Blackjacket.
Unique to most species of yellowjackets, Blackjackets have a black and white coloration. The queens are often confused with Bald-faced Hornets due to their larger size and similar coloration. The difference is that Blackjackets have a white band across the upper abdomen. Workers of this species can also be distinguished from the Bald-faced Hornet by their smaller size. As with other yellowjacket species, its stout body measures roughly one-half inch in length.
Blackjackets are primarily located in more heavily forested areas. Adults are attracted to sugary secretions and collect protein for the larvae. Blackjackets are predators of live prey like spiders and phalangids ("Daddy Longlegs"). Colonies last for one year.
The highlighted portion of the map below shows where Blackjackets are found in the U.S.
Blackjacket nests are typically in subterranean rodent burrows, but they also may be found in logs or rock cavities and buildings. Their colony size is small -- usually less than 100 workers.
Aggressiveness is often dependent on colony size, with larger colonies being more easily agitated. Blackjackets are not usually in contact with humans, so there is less possibility of stinging incidents... although they have reportedly been a problem for loggers.