Yellow Jacket Wasps
scavengers and pollinators
The North Shore is the home of many indigenous species of the Yellow-Jacket Wasp, both the ground or cavity nesting (Vespula) and the aerial nesting(Dolichovespula) varieties, and also at least one known invasive species, the cavity nesting German Yellow Jacket (Vespa Germanica). The casual identification of the different social wasp species of the North Shore can be quite difficult, due to their similarity of appearance and numerous varieties, but in general wasps tend to have shiny and hair-less bodies unlike their hair covered cousins, the Bees. The nest sites of these social type waspshave average populations of 1,000 to 15,000 members, tend to be aggressively defended and so should avoided whenever possible!
Ground or cavity nesting Yellow Jacket Wasps (shown above) are often found inside building wall spaces which usually makes these type of nest sitesinaccessible and very difficult to remove intact for relocation. We recommend that a pest control specialist, using an environmentally friendly system,be called to eliminate these type of wasp nests.
Aerial Nesting Yellow Jacket Wasps (shown above) usually have somewhat more accessible nesting sites and are a important type of native pollinator. These species of Yellow Jacket Wasps (Dolichovespula Arenaria, Dolichovespula Norvegicoides) are strictly predatory, hunting only live insects and nectar to feed to their young, quite unlike their meat scavenging, picnic disturbing relatives, the Western Yellow Jacket (Vespula Pensylvanica) and the German Yellow Jacket (Vespula Germanica).
We would like to ask for your assistance in the conservation of these important environmental partners through the removal and relocation of their nests to less urban, more viable areas of the North Shore. The continued survival of these beneficial pollinating wasps will help to maintain the natural balance within our local ecosystems and reduce the need for the use of chemicals and pesticides to control the populations of other unwanted insects.
There are some effective methods which you can implement to reduce the likely-hood of having Yellow Jacket Wasps build nests in unwanted places on your property. The placement of artificial Hornet’s nests, (shown below) on and around your patio, deck, or near doorways and windows, in the late Spring and early Summer months (May-July) will help to discourage the fertile queens from selecting places near these locations to establish a new nesting site.
Yellow Jacket Wasps have very sensitive, direction finding antennae which makes it possible for them to search out the odors of sweet food sources from large distances away. The wasps will most often be attracted to your property in search of the sweet smells of abandoned, rotting fruit like apples, plums, cherries etc… and the sweet odors of things like the sauce or grease from an untended BBQ or recycle bins with unwashed juice or sugar based drink containers in them. Reducing these types of attractors from around your home and property will help to prevent unwanted interactions with some of our more aggressive environmental partners.