Quantcast The Giant Hornet

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insect is slapped off, the stinger may remain. [When
stingers are retained, it cannot always be assumed to
Vespula pensylvanica
be a honey bee.]
Vespula squamosa
Distributed from Texas, north to Iowa, and east
to the Atlantic coast, this yellowjacket is particularly
common in the southeastern quarter of the United
States. In Florida, colonies are known to be active for
more than one year; these southern colonies remain
active later in the summer. and build up large numbers
of workers and reproductives.  The Southern
yellowjacket sometimes nests in building wall voids.
Vespula germanica
In Europe, German yellowjacket nests are
This is the primary pest yellowjacket in the west
subterranean, but in North America the vast majority
and is found from Washington to California. It often
of reported nests are in structures. This yellowjacket
builds its nests in rodent burrows, clearing the ground
is distributed throughout the northeastern quarter of
around the entrance and producing a colony of around
the United States. Nests in attics and wall voids are
5,000 workers. This yellowjacket preys on a wide
large, and workers can chew through ceilings and
variety of arthropods but also scavenges. It has been
walls into adjacent rooms. The nest and nest envelope
known to drive out loggers, fruit pickers, and
of this yellowjacket is made of strong light gray paper
campers, as well as food facility customers.
much like that of the Western yellowjacket. Colonies
of this yellowjacket may be active in protected voids
into November and December when outside
Vespula vulgaris
temperatures are not severe.
Second in importance in the western states, V.
vulgaris also ranges  across Canada and the
northeastern United States. Common in higher
Vespa crabro
elevations, it nests in shady evergreen forests around
The last Vespid to be discussed is the Giant
parks and camps in the western mountains and the
hornet (sometimes called the European hornet or the
eastern Appalachians. This species also is one of the
German hornet). Technically, this wasp is the only
most important stinging insects in Europe.
hornet in North America, but it did not originate here;
it was introduced from Europe. It is found in the
northeastern quarter of the United States; it ranges as
Vespula maculifrons
far south as North Carolina and Tennessee with
This common ground nesting yellowjacket is
scattered sightings extending west of the Mississippi
distributed over the eastern half of the United States.
Its western border is from eastern Texas north to
The Giant hornet is reddish-brown and yellow and
eastern North Dakota. Workers are slightly smaller
almost an inch long. It builds its nest mainly in hollow
than most yellowjackets, but colony size can number
trees, and in wall voids of barns, sheds and sometimes
around 5,000 or more individuals. The nest of V.
houses. An open window or door is an invitation to
maculifrons is dark tan, made of partially decomposed
hornet workers, and they frequent buildings under
wood and is quite brittle. The Eastern yellowjacket
construction. Their large combs and envelope are
sometimes nests in building wall voids.
constructed of partially decomposed wood and, like the
Most yellowjackets have very slightly barbed
Eastern yellowjacket, are very brittle. Workers of the
stingers but the sting will not set in the victim's tissue
Giant hornet capture a variety of insects including bees
and yellowjackets to feed their young. Workers also
like the barbed stinger of the honey bee. The stinger
of V. maculifrons, however, often sticks and when the
have a habit of stripping bark back from some shrubs
Module Two, Chapter 2, Pg 4


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