A Giant yellow jacket nest has been found in Alabama. The nest, which is several feet across, contains hundreds of thousands of workers. Two such yellow jacket nests have been found so far this year in Alabama and researchers believe that there could be more out there.
Researchers from Auburn University are confirming the discovery of two yellow jacket nests in Alabama and warned residents to avoid approaching the nests even they seem inoffensive. “We confirmed two nests in May and have indications of a third,” he said. “This puts us several weeks earlier than in 2006, when we identified the first giant nest on June 13.
“If we are seeing them a month sooner than we did in 2006, I am very concerned that there will be a large number of them in the state. The nests I have seen this year already have more than 10,000 workers and are expanding rapidly.”
The researchers believe that mild winters and readily available food supplies may factor into these unusually large, perennial nests, but they’re not sure what other issues might be involved.
The yellow jacket wasp is a frequent visitor to picnics, campsites and garbage bins. If you have an open soda can outside, it is likely that they will find it. About 2.4 million people in the United States are allergic to yellow jackets.
The yellow jacket ranges in size from 1/2″ to 5/8″ in length. His colors are yellow and black with a little bit of white on some. This wasp has six legs and a fur head. It looks a lot like a hornet but has a bigger head and obviously long antenna.
Yellow jackets live along the edge of forests or tree lines and make their hives of muck-up wood fibers and saliva on the ground and up to 10 feet high. A pregnant female starts building her hive in the spring. A male yellow wasp only aims to mate and help protect the nest. As winter approaches, the males die and all pregnant females hibernate during the winter. Female yellow jackets hibernate under loose bark and in rotten logs; they do not reuse old nests.
The diet of this insect consists of nectar. Adult females chew insects to feed their larvae. The females stop laying eggs in late summer and fall; it is at this point that they become more aggressive in their search for food. With fewer flowers, the nectar becomes harder to find and wasps become weak. To build up their strength for the winter, females forage around trash cans for carbohydrates.
Yellow jacket are extremely aggressive and easily provoked, especially the females. Males and females will sting repeatedly; Swatting at them causes the assault. In some parts of the United States, large colonies of yellow wasps swarm and attack humans, leaving the victim with thousands of bites.