Wildlife North America . com
North American Animals - mamals, birds, reptiles, insects

 Prairie yellowjacket (Vespula atropilosa)




Prairie yellowjacket | Vespula atropilosa photo
capturing calliphorid fly attracted to chicken liver bait. Image location: Fort Collins, Colorado, United States

Photograph by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Prairie yellowjacket | Vespula atropilosa photo
overwintering queen

Photograph by Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University, Bugwood.org. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

PRAIRIE YELLOWJACKET FACTS

Description
The Prairie yellowjacket is a black and yellow North American wasp. The head is yellow with finer black markings; the abdomen is yellow with black bands which are broader in the centre; there are also pairs of black spots on the back below the black bands. The wasp is a social insect and forms colonies which live in a nest which is usually built underground, often in an old rodent burrow. They sometimes nest in home properties in wall cavities or in gardens, but are not a serious hazard unless the colony is disturbed. This species is similar to the Forest yellowjacket (A. acadica).

Size
about 15mm

Environment
Prairie yellowjacket is found in prairie and open tundra habitat, but less common in forest where the Forest yellowjacket (A. acadica) is the most abundant species of yellowjacket.

Food
adults feed on nectar and insects and spiders, larvae feed on insects and other arthropods brought into the nest by adults

Breeding
The queen wasp lays her 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.

Range
Prairie yellowjacket is found in western United States from Washington to California and east as far as Wyoming and Colorado. It also found in Canada in southern British Columbia and Alberta.

Classification
Class:Insecta
Order:Hymenoptera
Family:Vespidae
Genus:Vespula
Species:atropilosa
Common Name:Prairie yellowjacket


Relatives in same Genus
  Forest yellowjacket (V. acadica)