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Wildlife and Other Sightings: Yellowjackets

September 01, 2012 Posted by: BW - Mather District Volunteer Interpretive Ranger

Family Vespidae
Yellowjacket  Yellowjacket Nest Entrance

August 2012

Yellowjackets have become very common throughout the Hodgdon Meadow and Crane Flat Campgrounds. These social wasps commonly make their nests underground in rodent burrows. The colony begins as a single queen and grows throughout the spring and summer until the population numbers in the thousands. During this time the developing larvae require a large amount of protein, which is brought in by the workers, usually in the form of other insects. Late in the summer the colonies will slow their growth and begin to forage for sugar, the preferred food for adult wasps. Yellowjackets tend to be very persistent around food sources and aggressively defend their nests if disturbed. The best way to prevent these wasps from becoming a nuisance at your campsite is to keep all of your food and garbage in tightly sealed containers. Try to keep food covered while you are eating or eat within an enclosure. Colonies typically only live for one season and these will begin to die off as soon as the temperature begins to drop.  


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