Talk:Yellow jacket

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More on behavior needed[edit]

Here in NW North America yellow jackets are ubiquitous. They seem to live for the most part unnoticed until late summer or fall. Life experience seems to show that they become agressive during the last warm days of the year. I would like to see an explanation of this behavior in the article. Also autoritative extermination techniques. 68.118.53.205 (talk) 22:03, 20 April 2008 (UTC)


Deaths in North America[edit]

hello!!<nowiki>Insert non-formatted text here<nowiki>Insert non-formatted text hereStrike-through text</nowiki></nowiki>"These wasps are responsible for at least three deaths in North America, when a man named Earl Wells fell from his ladder into their underground nest, when a man named Albert Wellner disturbed a swarm with his lawnmower, and when a small boy named Harrison Johnson found a swarm in the backyard." Anyone have a source for this? Thanx 68.39.174.150 12:59, 16 May 2005 (UTC)

I'm watching a National Geographic show called "Bug Attack" that tells this story, including an interview with relatives of Mr. Wellner. I'm wondering about the statement in the article about "at least 3 deaths..." This number seems very low to me. That number may be people who were literally stung to death, but I'm seeing quotes of about 40 deaths per year in the US due to allergic reactions to individual stings. Joyous (talk) 02:59, August 14, 2005 (UTC)

45+342=?

Can we get a disambiguation[edit]

Yellowjacket/Yellow jacket is also the common name of numerous Euclayptus species, yet the term directs straight to this page. Can someone knowledgable adress this problem? Ethel Aardvark

Scientific classification consistency[edit]

The scientific classification charts on wasp, hornet, and yellowjacket are not consistent, making it impossible to compare how closely related these insects are. I am not familiar enough with them to make the correction. --zandperl 04:15, 13 September 2005 (UTC)


Nomenclature[edit]

In the UK the term yellowjackets is never used for wasps. I have often wondered what "yellowjackets" were. And now, thanks to Wiki, I know. 82.135.71.116 21:44, 20 March 2007 (UTC) DRSHOK

Personally I don't think this article should be under "Yellowjacket", which is the North American name for insects that originated in Europe, and is not well-known outside North America. I think it would be better placed under "European wasps" or a scientific name. Grant | Talk 17:17, 23 April 2007 (UTC)
I agree with Grant65; I have never heard the term Yellowjacket before and would agree with putting it under "European wasp". Also, with reference to the first paragraph, I have never heard them referred to as Bees. They are certainly easy to distinguish from any species of bee I am familiar with.--160.9.41.52 12:41, 26 April 2007 (UTC)
I also agree this page should be "European wasp", until I was looking for a good picture of a wasp I had not heard of yellowjackets here in the UK. As for being referred as bees: The reason I was looking for a web site with a picture of a wasp is that I am webmaster for a small beekeepers association and we quite often get calls and emails from the public that cannot tell a wasp from a bee (bumble or honey) Iccaldwell 20:17, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Totally agree. I found what appears to be a hornet in the bath and this article confused me greatly. Other countries get their own versions of Wikipedia but the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand etc. have to share with the USA and English ought not to take second place to American.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 212.56.114.243 (talkcontribs) June 13, 2007
Totally disagree. The vast majority of people looking up the term "yellow jacket" are here in the American Northeast, where yellow jackets are called....yellow jackets, not "European wasps". Also, since the U.S. has more native english speakers than all other countries combined (67.2% of all native english speakers live in the U.S.), it only follows that American english should take precedence here.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Westypeter (talkcontribs) July 22, 2007
Also disagree, came looking for this exact page and found it, perhaps some sort of linking together a few cover pages to one main page would be better. As far as terms go, I hear people call them yellowjackets and wasps, occasionally hornets. So it's people in general that call them by many names, not just each side of the ocean. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 68.74.74.156 (talkcontribs) August 3, 2007
Incidentally, as an American, I have always used "yellowjacket" to refer to only one species of wasp—the one pictured at the top of the article. I've never heard the term extended to include bald-faced hornets or anything else. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 134.10.122.101 (talk) 05:14, 10 November 2011 (UTC)

For those interested, this has been been discussed at length below and resolved, see Talk:Yellowjacket#Page_name_change. Grant | Talk 02:02, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Getting rid of yellowjackets[edit]

I found an easy and efficient way to destroy a nest of yellowjackets (living in the ground) in an Audibon insect field guide. The nest normally has one tunnel/door, and blocking it will only cause them to dig a new tunnel. Instead, cover their doorway with a large clear bowl and seal the edges with mud. Since they can get out of their doorway, they will not dig a new one, and within about a week they will starve to death. Install the bowl at night for safety, and NEVER wear a "headlight" (forehead mounted flashlight). If awakened, the wasps will go right for any light source. (from one who knows!) -Andy

It's far easier to go out at night and spend 15 seconds spraying the entrance with bug spray. Voila, next morning they are all dead. If you don't know where the nest is you can bait them as described here: Successful Removal of German Yellowjackets by Toxic Baiting. Note: Fipronil is the active ingredient in Frontline flea and tick pet treatment. Cloudswrest (talk) 00:20, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

A gallon of soapy water: mix dishwashing soap in a gallon jug. Dump in hole. Dead... done! Soapy water kills insects extremely rapidly and is one less nasty chemical being spread around. If the nest is massive, you'll have to get creative, most likely. :) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 209.132.186.35 (talk) 14:42, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

Yellowjacket nests[edit]

Yellowjacket nests are usually underground or in logs or such places, not aerial! -Ben

Aerial nests are not uncommon. There are several species, and they each have their preferences. They are also opportunists, taking what cavities they can find, or occasionally, simply nesting in a dense bush.Pollinator 17:51, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

The "Yellow Jacket" article seems to say, near the end, that the Eastern Yellow Jacket and the German Yellowjacket build their nests in cavities or underground, entirely of wood fiber with a small opening at the bottom. This doesn't seem to make sense. Can someone clarify please? Dickvb4 (talk) 20:00, 31 August 2009 (UTC)

evading their stings[edit]

they must be smarter than you think! Further research is needed based on my recent experience. I stumbled upon a nest and a couple of dozen chased me for 100 yards and somehow they knew to stay to my backside when I stopped and tried to swat them away. They must be able to know an aggressors's front and back side. this is my conclusion; or else, they are really shy. I do not know how to confirm this theory , but it was most convincing after two run-ins that resulted in numerous bites. I do not want to destroy their nest until further research can be done.

Well, honey bees can identify faces, as can many animals. Honey bees will actually attack your face by preference. I don't know if yellow jackets have a preference. I would have though they would attack a face first as well as that would have the most immediate effect. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 209.132.186.35 (talk) 14:47, 20 May 2010 (UTC)

they know you[edit]

I was stung on Saturday, I stepped on a nest while weed whacking, I have had allergic reactions to them in the past but was lucky to have already taken an antihistamine for ragweed in the morning. I was stung twice and had to kill two that followed me into the house. For the next two days everytime I left the back door and went to any part of my back yard (not near the nest at all) I was "found" by one or two who would start diving at me at which point I would return to the house and watch out the window at many gathered near the spot I had been standing. (no, I'm not a paranoid nut- in fact I pride myself on remaining calm so as not to get stung as I love to garden and had managed not to get stung for 10 years.) I wondered if the sting left me emitting a scent, and that was confirmed by the Harvard Page mentioned in this article. I am wondering how long this lasts- two days later and two showers later it was still in effect. Does anyone know the answer to this? I have hopefully killed the nest- by spraying it at night. Killing the nest is the right thing to do, while I love the diversity of my organic yard and garden they are the one species that is totally without any sense of humor - and is so aggressive that there is no alternative. Court2000 12:33, 21 August 2007 (UTC)court2000Court2000 12:33, 21 August 2007 (UTC)

Showers will not remove chemicals left in your clothing; since you stepped in the nest, I would suspect your shoes. Dyanega 16:18, 21 August 2007 (UTC)
Studies have shown that bees (yes, I know these aren't bees) fly by landmarks. If Yellow jackets are similair, It's possible that they identified you as a menace by your general shape and color. Speculation anyway --Lendorien 16:35, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Kill them. Kill them All![edit]

I have been a forester and land surveyor in the southeastern United States for over thirty years. I have encountered more than my share of yellow-jackets. This "set a glass bowl over the entrance" crap just doesn't cut it. To get rid of them, stand aside and watch them closely and quietly. You will soon locate the entrance hole. Prepare your gasoline container by opening the spout and venting it so it will pour quickly and unhindered. Wait until a lull in the entrance "activity," then step up quickly, stick the spout in the hole and pour gasoline in. This is exceptionally effective. Do NOT set the gasoline on fire. The vapors will do what you want.

For those of you who don't want to use gasoline, you can mix up a strong insecticide (diazinon was effective) in a garden sprayer, pump it up tight and set the spray on coarse. Stick the nozzle at the end of wand into the entrance and let'em have it.

Now, those of you tree-hugging wussies who don't want to use gasoline or insecticide, just shut up! You dorks don't have a clue. You have never had an entire survey crew disrupted, stung and members sent to the hospital. Getting rid of the nest is necessary when you have to retrace your path multiple times.

Spare me the tree-huggers sympathies. Just kill them!

66.157.73.188 14:40, 14 July 2007 (UTC)C.J. Saunders66.157.73.188

"You dorks don't have a clue. You have never had an entire survey crew disrupted, stung and members sent to the hospital."
And you, my belligerent friend, never had your house (and yourself) stepped on by a rude, 200ft tall giant. I've been stung countless times. I have never killed a single yellowjacket in revenge. Just brush them off and run. Are you, a forester, saying you can't take an insect sting? Then maybe you should find a new line of work and stay out of their domain. Also, please save your name-calling for the playground, son.
Chazella (talk) 12:43, 20 October 2008 (UTC)
Just use soapy water. Works like a charm. Is cheap. And isn't toxic. Dude. You need to get a grip! :) tonica
I once had my friend step on a rock and destroy the wasps nest obviously a yellowjacket nest and all of them were after me why i had no idea they are not hard to avoid but i agree just brush them off they're not going to kill you. But i did kill 5 of course it was either that or have 5 more bites on my windpipe theyy are not intellegent and as stupid as it may seem punch hem they dont die and the cant defend against it theyrejust not fast enough — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.247.24.114 (talk) 23:30, 27 September 2011 (UTC)

For the home or business owner, if you don't know where the nests are, the most effective way to get rid of them for the whole season, sometimes multiple seasons, is to give them a little "gift" to take back to their nests. Mix a 3oz can of wet fishy catfood with one vial of yellow jacket attractant and one vial of Frontline flea and tick juice (Fipronil). Blend well. Put it in a bird cage or some other container to keep bigger critters away. After about 3-4 days they stop coming. Barbeques are pleasant again. Fipronil is ideal for this task as it's slow acting, and the yellow jackets do NOT find it offensive, unlike diazinon and many other pesticides.213.239.234.58 (talk) 02:14, 8 August 2010 (UTC)

Giant nests[edit]

If any one cares. http://www.montgomeryadvertiser.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060717/NEWS02/607170317/1009 Zerath13

I saw a nest of this size many years ago, so I don't think the finding represents an invasive species. Most likely it's a chance event, where colonies survive winter and have multiple queens. Pollinator 17:51, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

Stung September 9 2006[edit]

I have stumbled on 2 nest on our property. I as I was moving hay and you guessed it I was stung but only once. They had built their net in the bales of hay. It was amazing. Yesterday I was leveling a mound where a tree had fallen and uprooted. I was stung 6 times as I ran for the pool (up hill and 50 ft instead of the pond that was 10 ft away. My husband and I walked down last evening and found the nest. We sprayed wasp and hornet killer in the hole it did not seem to bother them. They just came flying out. Hindsite - instead of spraying we should have closed it off. I thought if there is a front door then there is a backdoor too. Unknown to me (and him) my husband had actually found the nest last week when mowing. They chased him, he jumped off the mower, they attacked the mower and several stole his beer (they just fell in they didn't actually carry it off. He nor I ever thought about them being underground.


One of the stings (on my bicep) is not giving me any problem although it is quite alarming to have a large red ring around each sting. One stung me on one of knuckles through my leather glove it is not as bad but itches like crazy. One stung me on my forearm, it it bruised, swollen, painful and itches. The last 3 stings were on my back. No swelling but is painfull and itches.

I am sure it was comical to see me run, scream, swat and dive fully clothed into the pool. I am thankful the pool was there. (My husband asked me why I didn't jump into the pond Yea right.) For several minutes, I could barely get my breath, I couldn't speak. I am not sure if that was reactions from the sting or scared to almost death. Cla10544 12:27, 10 September 2006 (UTC)Cathy A. Salem, AL

My experience with wasp and hornet killer is that it often doesn't. It just sets off the alarms, and make stings more likely. Ground nesters can easily and safely be eliminated with a bucket of soapy water. But in most cases they are only a problem for a short time, and 99.9% of the colonies die out with the first good freeze. Pollinator 17:51, 10 September 2006 (UTC)

I have encountered yellowjacket nests and in cases where they are underground have always been able to destroy the nest with running water. Just stuck a hose in the entrance hole and turned it on for an hour. Maybe less would do. Obviously this will not work when you're out in the woods or the nest is in an area that can't tolerate flooding. Pesticides are necessary sometimes, but I hate to sicken/kill/risk cancer to not only other insects, birds, etc, but people or children, pets that chance exposure at a later time. Spudtu 12:36, 22 August 2007 (UTC)


I used to wait till sundown, drop a thick rag over the opening of the hole so they couldn't fly out, and pour a little gasoline in. Don't light it - the gas itself and the vapors will kill them all. Right now I'm sitting here with a stiff tingling hand - it actually feels like they slammed it in a door as well as stung - because I didn't see the nest they'd built within the tractor's gearbox. OMG did that burn. And big holes punched in my skin too - it looks like a snakebite. I'm with the guy below, kill them all! 75.200.246.222 (talk) 22:05, 7 August 2010 (UTC)Morrigan

I was bitten once, years ago, and have been wary of them since. They are a greater menace than bees, by far. "I didn't see the nest" is a common refrain among victims. Pendragon39 (talk) 16:44, 5 December 2010 (UTC)

Gallery[edit]

Maybe I'm missing something, but why does the gallery on Yellowjacket page show the nest of a paper wasp? Carl 21:12, 3 December 2006 (UTC)

Making traps[edit]

I'm a truck driver in south-eastern Australia. I have seen yellowjackets (commonly referred to as European Wasps down under) along the entire east and south coast. They are not native to Australia from what I understand, however they are a major pest in the warmer months and they have not been affected by colder winters (although you don't really notice them during these times). If nests are found on public land (this rarely happens) it is the responsibility of the local council or shire (probably what you call county in the US) to destroy them however this rarely happens due to various reasons. These wasps are a part of everyday life for every long distance/interstate truck driver in Australia. They consistently swarm around the front of the rig when you have stopped feeding on mainly moths and larger insects which have been squashed on the front and baked on by the sun. In warm sunny conditions you usually find anywhere betweeen 5-10 wasps swarming on the front of the wehicle. Walking around the rig you are constantly followed by them particularly if you are wearing high visibilty work clothing. I know of several cases where drivers have been stung just by accidently touching or even brushing up against one, fortunately none were serious cases. Often they become trapped in the cab if you start driving again and get quite aggresive if they are unable to get out. I spent a short amount of time in the pest control industry before becoming a truck driver and am looking to make traps to place on the front of the truck when stopped for lengthy periods. Wasps, like bees, cannot fly straight up and a simple trap can be made from a a soft drink container (can also be bought from hardware stores) however something must be placed in the trap to attract the wasp. Am hoping anyone could help me with this. Have had limited success in the past however am unable to find anything the wasps are strongly attracted to. (previously have caught many flies and other insects however no wasps). Some have suggested putting the remains of other insects in the trap however this would be very difficult and there are many risks (disease) involved. Information on Wikipedia says the wasps feed on nectar am unsure where to find this readily availabe and in what forms so that I could put it into a trap

Any help would be greatly appreciatedTannerNT 11:05, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't know if your "yellowjackets" are the same or similar to ours in NW N. America. Yellowjackets here have an alternate name of "meat bees" and it sounds like that's what yours are eating. Here we bait traps with chicken meat but also you can buy commercaly prepared attractant. We make our traps out of disposable plastic bottles that we cut apart and tape back together. I've seen trap designs posted online, but I bet a local design is probably your best bet. Hope this helps. 68.118.53.205 (talk) 22:15, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Monophyletic?[edit]

Is the yellowjacket group monophyletic? Are all species within Vespula and Dolichovespula considered Yellowjackets? —Pengo 22:22, 21 April 2007 (UTC)

No. "Yellowjacket" isn't a taxanomic group, but a common name for a lot of species of wasps with a strong resemblance. It includes all of one genus and most of another. There is a good reason for that resemblance, they are Müllerian mimics. The scheme works on people as well as on birds or other preditors, and we quickly group them as one. Several of the Dolichovespula are black and white. In actual common usage nobody is going to call them yellowjackets. North Americans will usually use the name "hornet". Maybe that can be worked into the article now that we have separate genus articles. Meggar 21:43, 22 July 2007 (UTC)

Diet?[edit]

Do yellowjackets eat only nectar as adults like most other wasps? The reason I ask is because "common wisdom" around parts of NY state is that they are carnivores, especially since they seem to hang around places like supermarket dumpsters where rotting meat is.


Well, the babies are carnivores! I have seen adults attack Marbled Orb Weavers, and just rescued a Honeybee from one. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.166.158.85 (talk) 19:22, 16 September 2011 (UTC)

Page name change[edit]

A major name change such as has been made should have been discussed on the talk page first. It is an improper move. Not all yellow jackets are European, so the new name is certainly not appropriate either. Unless there is a convincing argument here in the next couple days, I am going to revert the page back to the former page name. Pollinator 20:59, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

I just found a mention of this on the talk page, but was not in the appropriate place. Talk additions should always be made at the bottom of the page, so that they are chronologically in order. Pollinator 21:02, 20 May 2007 (UTC)
I'm sorry but the discussion was under the heading "Nomenclature", which is an appropriate place. There were three posts in that section over the space of a month. Obviously, if you had the page on your watch list, the discussion would have shown up as
I took the lack of comment as an indication that no-one was really bothered about the name.Grant | Talk 03:04, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Not convincing. In fact your comment above is erroneous. Sorry, but the group did not originate in Europe. There are a number of native American species, as well as European. European is not an appropriate name for the entire group. Pollinator 04:05, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Well, the page says "European yellow jackets (the German wasp, Vespula germanica and the common wasp, Vespula vulgaris) were originally native to Europe, but are now established in North America, southern Africa, New Zealand, and eastern Australia." It doesn't specifically mention species native to areas other than Europe and such names are often imprecise (e.g. German wasps are native to the whole of Europe and Asia).
Anyway, my main point is theat the terms "Yellowjacket" is unknown outside North America. I propose a move to Vespinae, which redirects to here at present. Grant | Talk 04:35, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Yellowjacket is simply a description, which is the basis of many common names. But Vespinae would be more precise. Pollinator 17:00, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
Also, while you may think that something — I'm not sure what — in what I've said above is "Not convincing", I assure that it is true. I also take the opportunity to remind you to assume good faith. Grant | Talk 05:32, 21 May 2007 (UTC)
So you won't mind if I list it at Wikipedia:Requested moves? It can't be moved to Vespinae by an ordinary editor. Grant | Talk 02:13, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
Not at all, although it wouldn't be necessary; I can move it. But why not wait a few days to see if there's consensus. I'd like to see comment from a pro (or two), like User:Dyanega Pollinator 03:24, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
You can move it, but the history will be lost. Administrators can apparently move it to non-empty pages so that the edit history is not lost. Shyamal 16:46, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
Okay, everyone - take a deep breath. Vespinae includes many species and genera that are not yellowjackets. Therefore, this suggested move is inappropriate. The present state of having Vespinae redirected here should only be temporary (in fact, I'm tempted to fix that immediately). This page, referring as it does to TWO genera, is a hybrid page, and it CANNOT be made compatible with pages that are following the taxonomic hierarchy. In fact, it is likely that some day this page will be split, but that's not on my timetable right now. That being said, the name "European wasp", if you do a Google search, is primarily used in Australia, to refer to the single species Vespula germanica. Therefore, European wasp should redirect there, and not here. The fact that various other sources use the name to refer to other species, INCLUDING references to Polistes dominulus a member of a different subfamily (Polistinae, not Vespinae). Finally, as far as I can determine, there is no collective name used for these two genera outside of North America; all the common names I can find seem to refer to SINGLE species. So, regardless of whether the name "yellowjacket" is familiar to non-US readers, there are entries for all the common names such readers ARE familiar with. For example, if a European reader looks up "common wasp" they are taken to Vespula vulgaris, as is appropriate. Dyanega 18:05, 23 May 2007 (UTC)
But in the UK (and I suspect most of the world) yellowjacket is a unknown name for a common set of insects. In the UK the common name for these is just wasp. Most 'educated' people know that wasps are a much larger set of insects but the ones that might sting you are just wasps. If a European reader looks up "wasp" there is no simple navigation to 'wasp' they are looking for without out going through yellowjacket a word unknown to them. I don't have a simple solution but I done like this page being called yellowjacket Iccaldwell 10:01, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
That lack of a way to link from wasp to common wasp can be solved by editing the wasp disambiguation page; UK readers can thereby bypass the word "yellowjacket" entirely. Dyanega 21:52, 25 May 2007 (UTC)
Unfortunately the wasp disambiguation page sends the reader to "Wasp" where it says "A narrower but popular definition of the term wasp is any member of the Aculeate family Vespidae, which includes (among others) the well known yellowjackets (Vespula, Dolichovespula spp.) and hornets (Vespa spp.)." As has already been said often, "Yellowjackets" is not a well-known term except in North America. Clearly if one is relying on the disambiguation page or simply going straight to the Wasp page, then the latter needs editing to take account of normal international English usage.
I've made the necessary edit. The problem is that in the UK there is NO collective common name for the different species of Vespula. In other words, there is no alternative title you can offer for the Wikipedia page for yellowjacket. It's one of those messy asymmetries between languages, like the fact that in Brazilian Portuguese, there is only one word that collectively refers to fingers and toes, but there are two separate words for umbrellas, depending on whether they are black or some other color (any other color). A Brazilian would object, therefore, to separate WP entries for fingers and toes, and object to the lumping together of sombrinhas and guarda-chuvas. You can't make everyone happy, so it's done as objectively as possible. Dyanega 03:00, 13 June 2007 (UTC)
In the UK, there is a common name for for the different species of Vespula it's wasp! Iccaldwell 08:51, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
Even in the UK, the word "wasp" is used to collectively refer to ALL wasps, not limited to just Vespula - that would be like claiming that the common name for the bulldog is "dog", and accordingly claiming that the WP entry for dog should ONLY refer to the bulldog, or have a disambiguation link that specifically takes readers to the bulldog article in preference to any other type of dog. While it is effectively true, since a lot of people DO simply refer to bulldogs as dogs, it also completely obscures the fact that all other breeds of dog are also referred to as "dog". Dyanega 18:06, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
If, in the UK, you ask what do you mean by "wasp" almost all people would describe what in the USA is called a Yellowjacket. For "dog" they would not describe an individual breed. Iccaldwell 11:47, 17 June 2007 (UTC)

I accept that my move was careless. It was, in part an expression of frustration with the status quo. I think the redirect of "European wasp" to "German wasp" is correct. However, IMO, the above discussion shows why this article should be split ASAP along genus lines, with Yellowjacket becoming a dab page. It's unsatisfactory to have material about two genuses here, when neither of them(!) is known by that name outside North America. (By the way, there are more than two kinds of English, which is what phrases like "in the UK" imply to me.) Grant | Talk 06:22, 13 June 2007 (UTC)

Such a split is not suitable given the article content; it would result in two articles with effectively identical text, since there are no distinctive genus-level aspects to their biology or behavior. The two genera are, unfortunately, the same in all but one minor anatomical detail, and treating them both in a single article is far more efficient (especially given that no one but an expert can tell the two genera apart). The two genera were not even recognized separately until the middle of the 1900's, and the distinction is pretty much arbitrary (there is more space above the mandibular base in Dolichovespula, making the face appear longer). Together they are a single evolutionary lineage, and could just as easily be treated as subgenera in a single genus. Certainly, it would technically be fine to treat them in separate articles, but it would be needlessly confusing for non-scientist readers, as well as redundant. Dyanega 18:06, 15 June 2007 (UTC)
What about the confusion caused to non-North American readers, confronted by a name they have never heard of? Grant | Talk 01:48, 16 June 2007 (UTC)
I'm not sure I understand how having two pages with totally unfamiliar names (Vespula and Dolichovespula) is going to be any LESS confusing to these same non-North American readers. These non-North American readers do not POSSESS any unique common name for either of these genera (the name "wasp" is not used uniquely for either genus, by anyone). People in the U.S. call them "wasps", as well (heck, some people even call them "bees") - but there is also a name used to distinguish them from all the OTHER types of wasps, and that name happens to be "yellowjackets" - a name which has no parallel in the vernacular elsewhere, for some unknowable cultural reason. Consider one more point: all the entomologists in all the English-speaking countries in the world know what the name "yellowjacket" means and use it when talking about these insects - just because members of the public are not familiar with it does not mean it is not universally recognized. Dyanega 09:49, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
But this an international encylopedia — we are writing for a lay readers all over the world, not for entomologists, and not for North Americans alone. We need to use terms, including article names, which can be understood in all English speaking countries. A common name which is a common name in only two countries is useless as a title.
I'll take your word that the two genuses are practically identical. If that is the case, then I suggest that the information in this article belongs at, and should be merged into, Wasp, which is not a long article and would not be an exceptionally long article if it were incorporated. Grant | Talk 12:20, 17 June 2007 (UTC)
That would be completely unacceptable; there are several hundred thousand species of wasps, and even people in the UK call them all wasps. It would be inappropriate to rewrite the article and limit it to two genera (not "genuses"). That is almost exactly the converse of the way Wikipedia articles are titled and organized. Dyanega 01:17, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
That's not what I'm suggesting; what I propose is that this article becomes a separate section in Wasp, and Yellowjacket becomes a redirect to wasp. By the way, genuses is an acceptable plural.[1] Grant | Talk 01:52, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Giving each wasp genus its own section in the Wasp article would result in over 50,000 sections. That's precisely why the taxonomic hierarchy is used to organize WP articles, to prevent that sort of thing. As for what an international encyclopedia should contain, if you accept the Encyclopedia Britannica as a standard, then they use the term "wasp" exactly as is presently done in WP. While it is no longer published in the UK, it is considered the most universal and most scholarly English-language encyclopedia. Encarta has the same entry, as well. I also rather suspect that should you examine any encyclopedia which is published in the UK, you will find the same entry for wasp. Finally, while I'm not here to argue semantics, just because a word has two legal plurals does not mean they are both in use. I've been a taxonomist for nearly 30 years now, and have never once seen a person or publication (dating back to the 1700's) use the word "genuses". Dyanega 02:26, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Whatever. Britannica has long been famously US-centric, in spite of its name. So is Encarta. There is a lot of the same tendency within Wikipedia too, unfortunately. It often manifests as an insistence on using North American names/terms.

You dont want this material merged into Wasp and think we should use "taxonomic hierarchy", but also think we should combine two genera in one article? You cant have it both ways. And in fact, Wikipedia:WikiProject Tree of Life says: "If there is no common name, the article should generally go under the scientific name that is most often used when discussing the group, or under the scientific name of lowest rank if there is no clear preference." Which is also logically the case if there is no internationally-recognised common name. Since Wikipedia is not a paper encyclopedia, there is no reason why we can't have practically identical articles on each genus, with Yellowjacket as a dab page. Grant | Talk 05:31, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Actually, you can have it both ways, and in WP this has been done on numerous occasions. Look at the entries for army ant, sweat bee, and mud dauber for just a few out of many examples. These are articles which are titled using common names that refer to multiple different insects, which sometimes ALSO have separate articles. The yellowjacket article should not be deleted, or turned into a dab page, any more than the army ant page, because it is more useful to have a page which synthesizes the information on the various involved taxa, than to try to divide the content up when (1) this would confuse all of the readers who are familiar with the common names, and (2) so much of it would be redundant. You may go ahead and create separate independent pages for Vespula and Dolichovespula if you wish, but the yellowjacket page should remain in place, as is; I suspect that if so, that other editors will come along and ask that the new articles be merged back into the yellowjacket page, or THEMSELVES made into dab links that redirect to yellowjacket (which is close to the status quo). Dyanega 09:30, 18 June 2007 (UTC)
Done. Apart from the objections raised above, as we have articles on species which are members of Vespula and Dolichovespula, it seems absurd not to have articles on the genera. Yes, I know there are minimal differences and North Americans call both of them Yellowjackets, but lay people from other countries aren't going to understand that. Grant | Talk 14:14, 18 June 2007 (UTC)

Here in Alabama, I'm here living peacefully with a nest of yellow jackets. While I knew the nest was somewhere close by, I have been searching for it for months. It ended up being about where the peak of my activity is (under a lawn mower I've been working on). Strangely, it has been several years since I've been stung, though I have stirred up multiple nests. The things I have been doing around them, I figured that one would have surely stung me, but instead, I can tap my foot by a few of them where I want to step, and they will just fly off. One will sometimes land on me to drink my sweat as well. However, I do see their aggressiveness sometimes, as I often will see a wad of yellow jackets swarming and killing other insects to feed their young. They like both sugary items as well as "meat" items. I intend to use my technique for killing yellow-jacket nests--gasoline in the hole during the night. The fumes will kill an entire nest in one shot. I will destroy the nest with the knowledge that if I don't, yellow jackets tend to get very aggressive as temperatures rise, especially nearing autumn. My luck with these bees or wasps (they look and act like bees) may soon run out and that nest will empty on me if I don't do something ASAP, and that will prove to be very painful.

DON'T use gasoline, as a tiny amount will pollute a LOT of ground water. If the EPA discovers the pollution (and they would if you were my neighbor and I knew about it) you could be assessed for a very expensive cleanup. Hot water with a good shot of dish detergent will do just as well, and will not be any more polluting than a septic system. 24.211.125.15 03:30, 4 August 2007 (UTC)

Dead link[edit]

The clemson.edu link is dead. I'm going to remove it. 72.94.11.71 22:37, 28 July 2007 (UTC)

Citations[edit]

Some of the sections need citations. I have marked them as such. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Spryde (talkcontribs) 23:08, August 22, 2007 (UTC).

That's a little bit silly, frankly. The entire section on life history, for instance, is largely from a single reference, given in the references section. It would be pretty darn excessive to put a citation to that one reference at the end of every single sentence, or even every paragraph. The purpose of putting those tags is cases when you think that the information there is LIKELY TO BE CHALLENGED. There are literally thousands of articles in WP discussing various animals, and only a very tiny minority have every section containing actual citations. That's because most such facts are not likely to be challenged. All this tagging serves to accomplish is make it look like the article is not based on authoritative sources, when that is not at all the case. Dyanega 23:27, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
I understand. The purpose of citations is also to ensure that we know what it is supposed to be and to verify the information. Without a cite, I can't verify it. I personally know very little about the yellowjacket (other than being stung recently) and did not know the source of some of the information. Also, around here at least, the timeline is much later (emerge in June to July) due to the late thaw we have. I am not a SME on this particular subject so if the sources in the references below already have the info, tag the end of the paragraph and remove the unref tag. I did not mean any disrespect or anything. Just wanted to ensure the article was "bulletproof" Cheers! Spryde 11:33, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

What do wasps eat?[edit]

If bees make honey what do wasps make? Mustard? —Preceding unsigned comment added by 89.243.231.12 (talk) 18:26, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Honey bees store food inside the nest, but yellowjackets do not. They don't "make" anything. They're predators, and they feed their larvae chewed-up prey directly, instead of trying to store it. Dyanega (talk) 18:33, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

What eats wasps? —Preceding unsigned comment added by BillDMoose (talkcontribs) 03:14, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Birds, lizards, bears, badgers, raccoons, that sort of thing. Even people do - it's easy to get wasp larvae or pupae in Japan, for instance. Dyanega (talk) 23:50, 2 September 2008 (UTC)

Awful wording[edit]

"the venom, like most bee/wasp venoms, is primarily dangerous to those who are allergic, unless a victim receives a large numbers of stings"

Good to know that if an allergic person is stung a large number of times they aren't in danger anymore. I'm pretty sure there needs to be an "only" in there somewhere. ;) Also, no 's' on numbers. I'll go ahead and change that.Logan1337 (talk) 01:19, 8 September 2008 (UTC)

boy does it hurt[edit]

while at work I stepped on a nest and was attack by what it seemed a group but can't really determine. I was stung on several parts of my body one being my earlope.. I ran next to one of my co-workers to no availe they seemed to make me their primary target. My co workers said it must have been the orange shirt i was wearing. Boy I wish i didn't have that color on that day..... —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.192.162.7 (talk) 05:44, 11 October 2008 (UTC)

Amazing creatures. They have memory, which means they can "negotiate"[edit]

A colony decided to set up camp right outside my door in July. Rather than gas them to death like everyone suggested, I conducted an experiment. Each day I would come closer but stop short the moment I would see their wings bristle up. Repeat a few hours later. After just 2 days I was at the point where they recognized me as a non-threat, and I was able to stick my face 6" from their nest while they continued their daily work. I was able to take some breathtaking high-resolution photographs. Not one sting. They left my 3 dogs alone, too, as well as the UPS guy.

All of this is old news to any true biologists & entymologists out there, but since these discussion points have focused exclusively on killing and destroying yellowjackets (often with toxic & carcinogenic pollutants), I had to inject the scientific approach. Of all the insects I've studied, yellowjackets seem to have one of the most developed capacities for memory and analysis. Next summer if they come back I'm training them to fetch my slippers.

P.S. It is now October, and sadly I report that most of them have died; the rest are either dormant or comatose. When I tap on their nest, their antennae make only the faintest gesture of recognition. This article says nothing about how yellowjackets survive the winter (if at all). If anyone knows, please speak up. Chazella (talk) 13:05, 20 October 2008 (UTC)

Ummm...I hate to tell you this, but those are Polistes (paper wasps), NOT yellowjackets. Yellowjackets are aggressive and dangerous (they are responsible for many deaths), and live underground. Paper wasps are only mildly defensive, and generally pose little danger. Dyanega (talk) 06:07, 22 October 2008 (UTC)
Incorrect, Dyanega. What I have are definitely yellowjackets--Vespula pensylvanica, to be exact. They do have the capacity to sting, and they are aggressive if you violate their zone (these very same yellowjackets attacked my dog on day 1). My point is that I was able to train them not to attack me (or my dog). In fact, I just brought their nest inside for the winter, and I'm sharing the bathroom with them. You're saying this is nothing unusual (to be able to handle a live nest & carry it around without getting attacked)? Try it yourself sometime. Chazella (talk) 02:11, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
I'm sorry, but you're wrong. You have Polistes dominula, which is a paper wasp from Europe that lots of people commonly mistake for yellowjackets. The nest is the giveaway. Unless you DUG THE NEST OUT OF THE GROUND, they are NOT yellowjackets. Period. Dyanega (talk) 23:07, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
Actually, yellowjackets do, in fact, occasionally build their nests above the ground. They prefer subterranean locations, but will choose cavities elsewhere, such as the crevices of deep eaves, hollow tree-trunks, or mostly dry (and relatively undisturbed) compost piles. The latter is especially attractive, I imagine, because of the combination of vegetable and insect material available for consumption. I can vouch for the nest in the compost pile with 100% security, as I'm still raw, bruised, maddeningly itchy, and peppered with holes from a run-in last Friday. (Incidentally, I came to the article, here, looking for specific information about the way the insects sting -- because the markings they left are particularly odd, like sideways vampire bites, mostly, except for a few that have three holes [?]. How does that work? I want to know. But there's no detail here about body parts responsible for the sting, itself.) I should also add, for those who have yet to be attacked and/or stung: Yellowjackets hang on, sometimes even stinging over and over in the same skin-spot. Dancing maniacally doesn't work to get them to let go, either (and probably also makes them madder), especially since they seem peculiarly adept at wiggling between clothing gaps -- underneath shirt ends, up pants legs, etc. -- until they find sweet skin. I liked the above victim's solution of jumping into a nearby pool -- that's probably the best method, if handy.
In other news, I'm not sure how you, Dyanega, can be so positive about identification of Chazella's houseguests without having seen them -- and truly, I'd love to see the "breathtaking high-resolution photographs" mentioned, above, myself! I know it's been awhile, but are these images online somewhere, maybe? Flickr? Sugarbat (talk) 17:01, 11 July 2011 (UTC)


" Yellow Jackets are very beautiful creatures. If you are stung by a female rub toothpaste on it right away to stop the pain" 7:39 November 9. 2009 —Preceding unsigned comment added by 76.116.30.173 (talk) 00:39, 10 November 2009 (UTC)

To Chazella, I have a (southern) yellowjacket in house now, and feed her honey every three days (on my finger). Her lack of activity suggests of topor, although at noon time she would dance a little in the sunshine and buzz around with some excitement. No signs of aggression shown. I believe temperature and access to food are the determining factors to their survival over winter. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Svampfru (talkcontribs) 05:00, 23 December 2011 (UTC)

favorite food[edit]

honey,and flowers are the yellow jackets favorite food. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.172.221.85 (talk) 00:01, 1 December 2009 (UTC)

Possible Plagiarism - 'Life Cycle' Section[edit]

The Life Cycle section of the current article appears to have been copied and pasted from an Ohio State factsheet: [2]. Even citing the factsheet would be insufficient, since so much has been copied verbatim, from the looks. I don't want to blank the information, but it appears to need significant rewriting and citing. Some jerk on the Internet (talk) 13:22, 1 June 2010 (UTC)

"Yellowjacket" versus "Yellow Jacket"[edit]

To clarify the reason for moving the article back to the original orthography: the insect name is the former (a single word, no hyphen), not the latter (two words, hyphenated or not), easily demonstrated using any authoritative source (the most definitive being [3]). While it is true that many non-experts have written the name in the latter form, this does not make it appropriate; it is the same sort of thing as "dragonfly" versus "dragon fly" or "dragon-fly" - just because you can find citations to sources that use the latter does not make that variant correct or authoritative. Dyanega (talk) 20:09, 4 November 2010 (UTC)

File:Face of a Southern Yellowjacket Queen (Vespula squamosa).jpg to appear as POTD soon[edit]

Hello! This is a note to let the editors of this article know that File:Face of a Southern Yellowjacket Queen (Vespula squamosa).jpg will be appearing as picture of the day on December 28, 2010. You can view and edit the POTD blurb at Template:POTD/2010-12-28. If this article needs any attention or maintenance, it would be preferable if that could be done before its appearance on the Main Page so Wikipedia doesn't look bad. :) Thanks! howcheng {chat} 02:33, 27 December 2010 (UTC)

Picture of the day
Face of a yellowjacket queen

The face of a southern yellowjacket (Vespula squamosa) queen. Yellowjacket is the common name in North America for some species of predatory wasps. They can be identified by their distinctive markings, usually black and yellow, small size (similar to a honey bee), their occurrence only in colonies, and a characteristic, rapid, side to side flight pattern prior to landing.

Photo: Thomas Shahan
ArchiveMore featured pictures...


Allergic Reaction[edit]

There is nothing here about allergic reactions to the venom (or in wasp either). I have never had a problem with honeybees, but I have had a severe reaction to multiple yellowjacket stings on two occasions. Does anyone know something about that? Shocking Blue (talk) 22:28, 28 December 2010 (UTC)


size[edit]

I have never EVER seen any wasp the size that is cited here on this page. I live in the UK so I am guessing that the yellowjacket is not very common in the UK. I was reading comments regarding the name above and how people in the UK would not know this species as a yellowjacket.. well I don't know this species at all. I live in semi-rural north wales and have visited london in the summer and never seen a wasp so small, they've all been at least 1.5cm in length, my entire life. so I think any discussion about naming is moot. also I think that there needs to be some mention of the species and how common it is in the UK. I'm sure there is a bbc article or something about it. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 95.172.237.137 (talk) 12:57, 10 October 2011 (UTC)


Use mothblocks or mothballs on hard-to-get-to nests[edit]

I had some yellerjackets that built a nest in my outside window seal...right next to my window AC. I couldn't get a spray can in there at the correct angle to do any good spraying. Spraying their exit just don't work. I pondered on what I could do about them. I figured since folks could get rid of moths with mothballs, that might do the trick. However, I did not want the house smelling like mothballs. So I went to Walmart and got sented mothblocks...the kind you hang in the outhouse or toilet to make it smell good or better. Sure enough, it worked. Later that night I had dead and dying bees on my floor in the house. As a matter of fact, I had this to happen every day for pretty near a week. But it finally got rid of those boogers. Rowdy Ray — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rowdy Ray (talkcontribs) 02:30, 10 July 2012 (UTC)

Comments and suggestions[edit]

This is an article but I could be expanded. I have a few comments:

1. "At peak size, reproductive cells are built with new males and queens produced."

This sentence needs to be reworked. It just doesn't sound good.

2. "It is bold and aggressive, and if provoked, it can sting repeatedly and painfully"

"painfully" really sounds silly in the sentence. I would suggest using something else.

3. Is it necessary to list a hundred different schools that relate to the yellow jacket?

ICE77 (talk) 06:50, 14 July 2013 (UTC)