I do not have fear or run from a snake, but yellow jackets are a different story. I guess it was getting stung so many times as a youngster. When I was 6, I ran outside one Sunday morning in my bare feet. I leaped off the back porch and my foot landed in a downed yellow jacket comb. I think that helped seal the deal. So last week, with my wife actually laughing at my fear, I decided to face my demons and get close (4-6 inches) and photograph the feared beast. I do appreciate their beauty, but that tail end still gives me the willies.
Yellow jacket is the common name in North America for predatory wasps of the genera Vespula and Dolichovespula. Members of these genera are known simply as “wasps” in other English-speaking countries. Most of these are black and yellow; some are black and white like the bald-faced hornet, Dolichovespula maculata. Others may have the abdomen background color red instead of black. They can be identified by their distinctive markings, their occurrence only in colonies, and a characteristic, rapid, side to side flight pattern prior to landing. All females are capable of stinging. Despite having drawn the loathing of humans, yellow jackets are in fact important predators of pest insects.
These species have lance-like stingers with small barbs, and typically sting repeatedly, though occasionally a stinger becomes lodged and pulls free of the wasp’s body; the venom, like most bee and wasp venoms, is primarily only dangerous to humans if allergic, unless a victim is stung many times. All species have yellow or white on their faces. The mouthparts are well-developed with strong mandibles for capturing and chewing insects, with probosces for sucking nectar, fruit, and other juices. Yellow jackets build nests in trees, shrubs, or in protected places such as inside man-made structures, or in soil cavities, mouse burrows, etc. They build them from wood fiber they chew into a paper-like pulp. Many other insects exhibit protective mimicry of aggressive, stinging yellow jackets; in addition to numerous bees and wasps (Müllerian mimicry), the list includes some flies, moths, and beetles (Batesian mimicry).
PEACEOUT ††† en theos ††† jlawrence