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Aliases Yellow Jacket

Paravespula, Polistes

Physical Features

Yellow jackets generally have the typical warning colors of a stinging insect, yellow and black (sometimes white and black) striped along their body. Paper wasps can be red and yellow or yellow with a little black. Both have 2 pairs of wings and a ‘stinger’ at the end of the abdomen.

Beneficial Features

Not all yellow jackets (or their cousins, paper wasps) go out on patrol, but the ones that do cover the area with a vengeance. These little Rambos are ready to take down most any insect any day of the week. Yellow jackets will put away anything they can fly off with. As captain, you may be leery of the short tempers these agents have. Don’t be. They’re more interested in snagging thieves from your garden than stinging you.

Recruitment

  • Don’t automatically reach for a can of bug killer when you find a nest. First determine whether the nest is in a place that you can tolerate and won’t pose a problem with you or your family members. If you let yellow jackets and wasps keep their nests nearby, you’ll get a whole fleet of security guards for free.
  • To keep them focused on their job, get rid of the “doughnut shops.” Secure your garbage and pick your garden veggies and fruits before they rot.

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For more information, contact Scarlet Tang or Todd Murray
WSU Cooperative Extension (360) 676-6736
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