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W*H*Y Wednesday: The Northeastern Yellowjacket

This week's featured species is the Northeastern Yellowjacket (Vespula vidua), found in the highlighted portion of the map below. It's a safe bet that most members of this species are quiet right now, with the frigid temps in that part of the U.S. But as with other yellowjackets, the queens will emerge in early spring to look for new nest sites.

Northeastern_yellowjacket 

Like some Forest Yellowjackets, the Northeastern Yellowjacket is most easily recognized by the thick black band across the upper portion of its abdomen. However, the Northeastern Yellowjacket will never have the two extra spots through the black band, which are present on many Forest Yellowjackets. This species is often called a ground hornet, most likely due to its larger than average size, roughly 5/8 inches long.

Northeastern Yellowjackets commonly make subterranean nests in high traffic areas such as yards and pastures, as well as some forested areas. However, their nests can also be found in logs and manmade structures. Colonies last one year and rarely grow beyond 500 adult workers. Adults feed on sugary foods and forage for live insects to feed larvae.

Northeastern Yellowjackets are not a serious stinging hazard unless the nest is disturbed. However, due to nesting habits in areas of human traffic, the chances of human interaction are increased.

WHYTR_200dpi Good news if you have this species in your back yard: The W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets will catch Northeastern Yellowjackets!

January 14, 2009 in Entomology, Science, WHY Trap, Yellowjackets | Permalink

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