W*H*Y Wednesday: The German Yellowjacket
Today's featured species is Vespula germanica: The German Yellowjacket.
Like most yellowjackets, the German Yellowjacket is roughly a half-inch long with yellow and black coloration. It possesses an arrow shape at the top of the abdomen, much like the Eastern or Transition Yellowjacket, but this marking on the German Yellowjacket is usually narrower than that of other species.
Introduced to the U.S. from Europe, the German Yellowjacket is found primarily in the Northeast. This species is rapidly expanding and now found in limited areas in the Western states of Washington and California. The highlighted areas in the map below show the German Yellowjacket's footprint.
German Yellowjackets are “picnic pests”, frequently scavenging for meats and sugary foods and hovering around trash cans and barbecues. They are a hazard if agitated while scavenging.
Their nests are primarily found in wall voids and structures, but may be subterranean as well. The photos below show a subterranean nest which our scientists excavated several years ago.
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