Yellow jacket share a variety of characteristics depending on the environment they are found. However, what really is a yellow jacket? Yellow jacket is a name used to describe a species of predatory wasp of the genera of Vespula, which are commonly found in the North American region. They are types of insects which can sometimes exhibit aggressive behaviors and are mostly and commonly found at picnics and outdoor events in the American region. Below are some of the characteristics of yellow jacket in simple details.
With its yellow and black stripes zigzag down its entire body through abdomen, the yellow jacket distinct itself from other wasp varieties by this unique look. It is fascinating to see them around, they have a unique color that makes them beautiful. Also, yellow jackets do not have a fuzzy and squat appearance like that of bees; their bodies are smooth and are around half an inch in length. The insect also has two wings flank on either side of its body, the female species has smooth stinger below their abdomen which can cause a serious sting when they strike.
Studies have shown that Yellow jacket’s reproduction generally occurs in the late summer and fall. However, in so many cases the male yellow jacket die immediately after copulation and the fertilized female queens has to relocate to a safer place to hibernate especially in the winter season. More studies revealed that, the month of April or May is the period when the queens can lay up 20 to 40 eggs or more, the eggs will then produce the first generation of sterile – which is called “female workers.” The queen will continue to reproduce more eggs until the summer season ends, and are able to produce up to 250,000 colonies in a year.
While yellow Jackets are generally seen as aggressive insects, they are often very peaceful but they won’t hesitate to strike when teased or threatened. They have jaws that are used to capture prey and they also use their stingers as defensive weapons. The interesting thing about these insects is that they harmonized themselves to construct a shelter where they can find a safe place in case of danger.
Studies have shown that yellow jacket love to live in ground nest; they prefer to construct nests in burrows dig by rodents and other animals of similar characteristics. However, yellow jacket can also be seen in places where picnics and outdoor events take place. They are as well found in hollow logs, in stumps, under bark, and in leaf litter.
Yellow jackets eat anything that has to do with protein and carbohydrates. The adult yellow jacket eat most of sugary carbohydrates such as flower nectar, fruits, tree sap, ice cream, soda, etc. while the larvae mostly feed on proteinous foods sourced from meat, fish, and insects.
While there is no enough evidence to ascertain the exact life cycle of a yellow jacket, it is important to know that the male yellow jacket die quickly as soon as mating is done with a female queen. However, the fertilized female queens will hibernate and disintegrate during winter.