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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT FOR ALASKA AGRICULTURE Title: Alaskan Yellowjackets: the Good, the Bad, and the Not So Bad

Authors
item Landolt, Peter
item Pantoja, Alberto
item Hagerty, Aaron
item Green, Daryl
item Emmert, Susan

Submitted to: Agroborealis
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2007
Publication Date: September 20, 2007
Citation: Landolt, P.J., Pantoja, A., Hagerty, A.M., Green, D.L. 2007. Alaskan yellowjackets: the good, the bad, and the not so bad. Agroborealis. 39(1):7-13.

Interpretive Summary: Yellowjackets (Vespidae: Vespinae) are of economic significance as both beneficial predators of pest insects and pestiferous scavengers. Little information is available on the abundance, distribution, or seasonality of social wasps in Alaska. A survey was conducted during 2003 and 2004 to assess the relative abundance and species diversity of vespine wasps in Alaskan agricultural habitats. Organic and low-chemical-input farms producing potatoes, rhubarb, and other vegetable crops near Fairbanks, Delta Junction, and Palmer, Alaska were chosen as study sites. From May to September wasps were sampled weekly with traps baited with chemical attractants. Ten species of yellowjackets were collected: Vespula vulgaris L., V. acadica (Sladen), V. consobrina (Saussure), V. rufa (L.) (=intermedia [Buysson]), V. austriaca (Panzer), Dolichovespula maculata (L.), D. arenaria (F.), D. norwegica (= albida [Sladen]), D. adulterina (Buysson), and D. norvegicoides (Sladen). The potentially pestiferous species V. vulgaris was collected in the greatest abundance.

Technical Abstract: Wasps of the subfamily Vespinae are commonly referred to as yellowjackets and hornets. In proper usage, the term yellowjacket refers to all members of the genus Vespula Thomson and Dolichovespula Rohwer whereas the term hornet refers to members of the Old World genera Vespa L. This group of social insects is of importance to man as both beneficial predators of pest insects and as pestiferous scavengers. Despite their likely widespread and recurring pest status little information is available on the abundance, distribution, or seasonality of social wasps in Alaska. In this paper we present data on species composition, distribution, and pest status of eight species of wasp collected in Fairbanks, Delta Junction, and Palmer, Alaska using attractant baited traps. Ten species of yellowjackets were collected: Vespula vulgaris L., V. acadica (Sladen), V. consobrina (Saussure), V. rufa (L.) (=intermedia [Buysson]), V. austriaca (Panzer), Dolichovespula maculata (L.), D. arenaria (F.), D. norwegica (= albida [Sladen]), D. adulterina (Buysson), and D. norvegicoides (Sladen). The potentially pestiferous species V. vulgaris was collected in the greatest abundance.

Last Modified: 4/20/2014