What is a yellowjacket and why to be aware of?

Once in your life, you have been near a beehive and seen bees. These insects are common all around, and so are yellowjackets, which you may have confused with bees. These have similar characteristic to bees but are way more dangerous and their behaviour is entirely different as they are more united than bees.

Yellowjacket’s appearance

When talking about their appearance, the first thing that comes to mind is their yellow and black colour around their abdomen and sting. They look very similar to hornets, which have a minimal waist, however, their behaviour is unique.


Yellowjackets are found everywhere. Their queen is the one that lives enough to start a colony in wintertime. Nests are made of chewed cellulose; this kind of material is very similar to paper. Their nesting site can be underground (which makes it easier for a person to step on it and breaking it, causing havoc) or aerial, but this will be chosen by the queen depending on the species. Their nests can be placed near bushes, trees, on the ground (near the base of trees), among other places. Some of these places can also be abandoned buildings, old furniture, or other strange places. You must be careful when going to unexplored places.

Yellowjacket’s diet

Like as any other flying insect, yellowjackets eat sugary substances (nectar and others they might find near grass or flowers). However, this is when they have become adults, in their larvae process they do not do this, they need protein to go to their adult stage. Workers often bring insects from the outside for them to feed, contributing to their growth.

Yellowjacket’s behaviour

Their behaviour is unique, and you must know about it if you live with them, since it is a little difficult to handle. These insects are very social, and they have a united front which they use to work together, building nests and protecting them. They are very territorial and will be alert at any time given since their main goal is to keep the nest safe. Even if they feel a little vibration, they’ll come to the attack.

Talking about attack, they can sting a person or animal multiple times. Unlike bees or wasps, this insect doesn’t have a barb on its sting, so it doesn’t die and can sting again and again. You must be cautious with this, as their venom can represent a considerable hazard, as allergic people can have a severe reaction. Not only this, but people who aren’t allergic to them can become hypersensitive to them, which can greatly affect that person in the future.

They are considered very aggressive because of them, being a swarm insect that works hard to protect their nest. It doesn’t matter where you are, they will come to attack you, even chase you down. It seems as if their focus is to destroy the threat. Furthermore, it doesn’t even matter if the person goes into water, since they have been proven to have lots of patience and wait for their prey, swarming above the water waiting to attack.

Differences between bees and yellowjackets

These flying insects are similar, some people might even confuse them, but you must know the differences because one of them likes to stay away from humans, and the other one is very aggressive and will sting many times.

Bees have rounded bodies, and normally, they seem to have hair all around them. They have a brownish colour with a bit of yellow and black near their sting. Yellowjackets are plain and have a very distinctive yellow and black colour all over their bodies. Overall, they are very thin.

Whilst honeybees and bumblebees need to feel that they have to sting to defend themselves, yellowjackets will not do this but attack as they are very territorial and aggressive. They will chase a person over long distances if they feel threatened.

In their eating habits, they are similar since they both like sugary substances, however, yellowjackets are also meat scavengers for their larvae, which sometimes brings them closer to humans.

If you see that there is a yellowjacket’s nest near your house, make sure you call a pest service professional, as these insects can really be a hazard for humans and can be deadly. Do not try to remove the nest by yourself, call us, and we will help you.

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