Paravespula vulgaris / Hymenoptera
Nov. 3, 2007
These little gals can quickly disrupt a fall hike or picnic, this one is sampling grape juice from the bottle lid. During a warm fall afternoon picnic one of my friends noticed a yellowjacket on her hamburger. Before she could shoo it away, the wasp bit off a piece of meat and flew away with it!
Yellowjackets are a type of underground-nesting wasp, they are quite active in the fall. As tempting as it may be to kill one if she becomes too pesky, it is important not to kill her. Yellowjackets are social wasps, they give off an alarm pheromone if they are injured or killed, soon more of her sisters will come to help her. The yellow and black coloration is her way of warning that she can sting. It is advisible to keep foods and softdrink cans covered when eating outside. A few years ago a man was stung in the lip by a yellowjacket that got into his softdrink can during a picnic, he went into anaphylactic shock and died before medical help could arrive.