Several species of wasps belonging to the genera Vespula and Dolichovspula are called “yellow vests.” This group of ground-nesting species includes the western yellow jacket wasp, V. Pennsylvania, the most common species and often referred to as the “meat bee,” and seven other Vespula species. The German yellow jacket wasp, germanica, is increasingly common in California cities, where it often lays its eggs inside buildings.
Yellow jacket wasps lay their eggs in an underground rodent burrow in spring, summer, and early fall (top, middle). Yellow jacket wasps build new honeycomb layers in existing nests during the summer, each with growing larvae. When the workers begin to die off in late fall, the colony begins to collapse.
In spring, summer, and early fall, yellow jacket wasps nest in underground rat burrows. Yellow jacket wasps build new honeycomb layers in existing nests during the summer, each with growing larvae. When the workers begin to die off in late fall, the colony begins to collapse.
The thorax, which connects to the abdomen, is usually black with a bright yellow or white-toothed band, nesting in the air in the case of D. Maculata – on the abdomen. These wasps have a very short and narrow “waist” where the thorax joins the abdomen.
Yellow jacket wasps often nest in rodent burrows, although they sometimes use other safer holes to do so, including holes in the walls and roofs of houses. Depending on the species, colonies can reach populations of 1,500 to 15,000 individuals. Colonies are created each spring by a single breeding female.
Life Cycle of Yellow Jacket Wasp
Yellow jacket wasps and paper wasps are the two main types of social wasps found in the western states. In particular, yellow jacket wasps that nest on the ground and in cavities, such as the western yellow jacket wasp, which tend to defend their nests when disturbed fiercely, are by far the most problematic species.
As the season progresses and the colony’s population increases, while food becomes more limited, the defensive behaviour increases. Yellowjackets’ diet is primarily scavengers in the fall, beginning to appear at picnics and barbecues, around garbage cans, in outdoor pet food bowls, and anywhere ripe fruit or overripe are available.
There can be many scavenging wasps in specific areas and at specific times. Paper wasps rarely sting humans and are much less aggressive. Except when their nests are located near doors, windows, or other high-traffic areas, they generally avoid human contact.
Wasps make a paper nest with saliva and wood fibres. Similar to the paper wasp nest, it is made up of several layers of vertical cells but is protected by a paper wrapper around the outside, which often has a single entry hole. Yellow Vests will enlarge a rat’s hole by wetting the ground and digging it up if it’s not big enough. Similar behaviour inside a home can sometimes turn a damp spot into a hole in the wall or ceiling.