Yellow Jacket behaviors

Yellow jackets share much behavior and ecology with their relatives the European hornet. Females usually spend the winter in protected locations outdoors and start new colonies in the spring. These colonies can be underground, within voids in walls or man-made structures such as sheds or old cars, or in dense shrubs or vegetation. Nests are made of paper and an outer shell encloses comb that houses the developing yellow jacket brood. Unlike the nests of bees, these nests contain no honey or pollen. Yellow jacket larvae in the nest eat meat and carbohydrate rich foods provided by the workers. In this regard, yellow jackets are beneficial because they kill many insects such as caterpillars and beetles that are pests in our gardens. By late summer and early autumn colonies can contain thousand of workers and are often about the size of a football. Under extraordinary circumstances, some nests may persist for more than one year and become enormous.

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