Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Eastern Yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons) Nest

The nest cavity, from a distance 

The nest cavity, a little closer 

Dispatching the remaining wasps 

The nest cavity was about the size of a basketball 

A closer view with remnants of the nest wall 

Even closer...

Still a few wasps about 

Close-up of an Eastern Yellowjacket drinking from the pool.

August 4th, 2014.  
Eastern Yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons) Nest 
Walton County, GA

Several years ago, W dug a pool near the creek to provide a breeding pool for frogs, particularly Upland Chorus frogs (Pseudacris feriarum). He’s been expanding it recently while the weather is dry. 
While digging, he sliced horizontally through a subterranean wasp nest, releasing a swarm of rather angry wasps that proceeded to sting him. He beat a hasty retreat – as fast as you can on a tractor - but not before receiving at least 30+ stings, mostly on his arms although he received a couple on his neck and eyelid. This prompted a visit to the local hardware store to procure several spray cans of wasp killer and subsequent cautious visits to the nest to kill off most of the remaining wasps.

Then we were able to take a closer look at the nest. It was about the size of a basket ball. Remnants of the nest itself remained in the cavity. Bodies of wasps littered the bottom of the cavity and a few confused wasps wandered about. We identified the nest as belonging to Easter Yellowjackets (Vespula maculifrons) although we found the body of on Bald-faced Hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) in the cavity as well.
I love the follwing desciption of the yellowjacket nests in a post entitled ‘Bees, Wasps and Hornets (Oh, My!)’ on the Clover Creek Nursery website:
… ‘The Hornets build nests that hang down from the branch of a tree or shrub, or under the eaves of your house. Yellow jackets make a similar type of nest, but usually it is in the ground or other enclosed space. In either case, the color of the nest is gray or brown with the appearance of an ugly formless papier-mâché.’

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