YELLOW JACKETS

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http://www.ducksters.com/animals/yellow_jacket_wasp.php

 The yellow jacket is a black and yellow ringed insect in the form of a wasp.  They carry a wallop when they sting, but do not leave it embedded in the skin.  Some accounts say they are aggressive, others say they are only aggressive when they feel threatened, or you come to close to their nests.  Either way, it’s good to stay out of their way.

The yellow jacket nest is built close to the ground, and many times inside the burrow of a rodent.  So if you see these little critters coming out of the ground, steer clear.  They also build their paper nests in logs, on the side of buildings, and occasionally, in trees.  They can sting over and over, unlike the honey bee. 

As mean and evil as we might consider them, they actually serve a good purpose.  They eat other insects like flies and bees.  They also like meats, carrion, flower nectar, sweet drinks, and fruits. They will hover around the garbage can during the summer.  They will forage as far as a mile from their nests.

Their nests are paper-like, and, depending on the size of the colony, they can be quite large.  They are considered a social insect.  Their life span is only one season.  They start as eggs that hatch into larvae, and eventually into a young adult.  They do not have hair on their bodies, unlike bees.  They are about a half-inch in length.

Sources:

http://www.bugfacts.net/yellow-jacket.php

http://naturemappingfoundation.org/natmap/facts/yellow_jacket_712.html

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_jacket

http://www.ducksters.com/animals/yellow_jacket_wasp.php