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North American Animals - mamals, birds, reptiles, insects

 Eastern yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons)




Eastern yellowjacket | Vespula maculifrons photo
Vespula maculifrons on Solidago canadensis, photographed in Algonquin Provincial Park

Photograph by Rrburke. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

EASTERN YELLOWJACKET FACTS

Description
The Eastern yellowjacket is one of the most common yellowjacket species in eastern North America. It is a black and yellow wasp with mostly yellow face with fairly fine black lines, black thorax with yellow markings, and black and yellow banded abdomen with an anchor shaped black marking at front of abdomen. The similar Vespula germanica does not have this anchor shaped marking. Queen wasps have black spots in the yellow abdominal segments. The nest is usually underground, or sometimes in tree stumps, under tree roots or in hollow logs on the ground. In inhabited areas it sometimes nests in wall cavities in building structures.

Size
queen about 18mm, workers about 15mm

Environment
found in forest, woodland, meadows and suburban gardens.

Food
adult wasps feed on nectar. Larvae are fed on chewed up insects and other arthropods brought to the nest by adults.

Breeding
Colonies are established by a queen that has survived the winter. Nest building commences around May. The queen wasp lays here eggs in the nest where they hatch into grub-like larvae. The larvae grow within the nest until they pupate, and after some time, emerge as adult wasps. The wasps die before the end of the year, with only the queens hibernating to survive over winter.

Range
Vespula maculifrons is found in the eastern half of North America (east of the Great Plains).

Classification
Class:Insecta
Order:Hymenoptera
Family:Vespidae
Genus:Vespula
Species:maculifrons
Common Name:Eastern yellowjacket


Relatives in same Genus
  Forest yellowjacket (V. acadica)
  Prairie yellowjacket (V. atropilosa)
  German yellowjacket (V. germanica)
  Western yellowjacket (V. pensylvanica)
  Southern yellowjacket (V. squamosa)