Thursday, September 4, 2014

German Yellowjacket

Today's bug is actually very common here in Southern Ontario. The photo has been taken on a hike last week but I am sure you can find them pretty much everywhere these days. 

I am sure you all know that the German Yellowjacket (Vespula germanica) in the photo is a wasp. It lives in colonies together with up to 3,000 other wasps. They build grey paper nests that are made from chewed plant fiber, mixed with saliva.

The wasps catch insects, including caterpillars, to feed to their larvae. The adults feed on nectar and sweet fruit, but they are also attracted to human food and food waste, particularly sugary drinks and meats. That explains why you will find them often swarming around garbage bins.

As the name suggests this is a wasp that is native to Europe, but it was introduced and is now well-established in many other places such as North America (since 1975). In fact most Yellow jackets you encounter throughout the summer will be Vespula germanica and not the native Eastern Yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons).

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