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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Landolt, Peter
item Antonelli, Arthur

Submitted to: Washington State University College of Agriculture and Home Economics
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/1/2003
Publication Date: 5/15/2003
Citation: Landolt, P.J., Antonelli, A.L. 2003. Yellowjackets and paper wasps. Washington State University College of Agriculture and Home Economics. Extension Bulletin #EB0643.

Interpretive Summary: Yellowjackets and paper wasps are benficial insects. They feed their young numerous insects that ordinarily damage shade trees and crops. They also kill countless houseflies and blow flies. A few species of yellowjackets, however, such as Vespula pensylvanica (western yellowjacket), V. germanica (German wasp), and V. vulgaris (common yellowjacket), scavenge for meat and sweets and can become pests, especially at picnics and campgrounds. Even though they may at times become pests, yellowjackets and paper wasps are highly beneficial. Do not control them unless their stings present a hazard.

Technical Abstract: Yellowjackets and paper wasps are both beneficial and pestiferous. They are predators of insects, and yet their stings are a hazard. In the Pacific Northwest, these wasps have annual colonies. Queens start nests in the spring, and workers occur through the summer as the colonies increase in size. Common pest species and nest architecture is described, which varies between yellowjackets and paper wasps. Recommended ways to handle wasp nests and safety recommendations are provided.

Last Modified: 10/18/2017
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