Yellow jackets are often feared because of their sting, but are yellow jackets pollinators? Yes, they are actually beneficial pollinators. They are especially effective at pollinating early-blooming flowers like daffodils and crocuses.
Unlike honeybees, yellow jackets are not afraid of the cold, so they can pollinate flowers early in the spring when other pollinators are not active.
Well, Scroll down to discover what role do these insects actually play?
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Yellow jackets Basics
What are Yellow jackets?
A prevalent member of the wasp family, yellow jackets are insects that you may find outdoors on your lawn or in your backyard at the end of summer and fall.
Yellow jackets get their name from their bright yellow color. These buzzing insects are known for their aggressive behavior and can sting multiple times.
Yellow jackets play an important role in the pollination process, though they are not the only type of insect that does so.
There are three common types of yellow jacket wasps: the eastern yellow jacket, the bald-faced hornet, and the German yellow jacket. They all have different appearances and habits.
When it comes to the yellow jacket diet, they are mostly scavengers and predators. They eat other insects, arthropods, and small vertebrates.
Yellow jackets are also attracted to sweet items and drink sugary liquids.
Furthermore, in late summer and early fall, you may notice an increase in yellow jacket activity around outdoor trash cans, cookouts, carnivals, etc.
This is because the yellow jackets are looking for alternative food sources now that their regular food sources (like caterpillars) are scarcer.
Yellow jackets are common in many environments, including under porches, steps, sidewalks, cracks in walls, railroad ties, and trees. They build their nests in protected areas that offer shelter and easy access to food.
In the fall, yellow jackets will search for a place to hibernate. They will find an opening in a building, often behind insulation, and build their nests there.
Are Yellow jackets pollinators?
Well, the simple answer is Yes. Yellow jackets are social wasps that can be found all over the world. These wasps play an important role in our ecosystem by pollinating plants and flowers.
This is especially helpful for plants and trees that do not have a lot of bees or other insects to help with pollination.
Are Yellow Jackets Beneficial?
Yellow Jackets are beneficial to gardeners because they eat other insects that could potentially damage plants.
Additionally, as you know, yellow jackets are important pollinators and help spread pollen from one plant to another. This helps plants to reproduce and grow.
Role Played by the Yellow Jacket In an Ecosystem
The yellow jacket wasp is a social insect and an important pollinator in the ecosystem. They help to transfer pollen between flowers, which helps to fertilize them and create new plants.
Though they are not the only pollinators, they do play an important role in the ecosystem.
Besides that, yellow jackets are pest eaters and help control the ecosystem’s pests. This helps to maintain balance in the environment and keep it healthy.
Distinguishing Yellow Jackets From Other Summer Flyers
Yellow jackets have a few distinguishing characteristics that make them easy to recognize.
For instance, their wings are long and extended. These insects have segmented bodies and a narrow waist. They lack hair altogether. These large wings close lateral to their body while they are at rest. Their heads are a mix of black and yellow.
Yellow jackets have striking black stripes all over their yellow body.
Furthermore, a wasp community is made up of three types of individuals- workers, queens, and drones. Workers are the smallest and most numerous caste. They are sterile females that build the nest, care for the young, and collect food.
Queens is the largest member of the yellow jacket colony and lays eggs. The queen can be distinguished by her size. She is about 9 mm (0.75 in) long, while other adult yellow jackets are only 2 to 3 mm (0.08 to 0.12 in) long.
Drones are males whose sole purpose is to mate with new queens. Unlike honey bees, yellow jackets do not have a worker caste that dies after a few weeks to support the colony.
Interestingly, yellow jackets are one of the few pollinators that travel long distances. Unlike other summer flyers, yellow jackets are beneficial to the environment; they play an important role in keeping ecosystems in balance by eating pest insects and drinking from flowers.
And like honey bee stings, yellow jacket stings hurt!
Are yellow jackets dangerous?
Well, Yes, yellow jackets do possess the potential of becoming dangerous insects! in fact, many studies place these wasps as one of the most aggressive wasps in North America.
Whats’ more, besides being aggressive, yellow jackets can be a complete nuisance. They build their nests in less than opportune areas, such as in the eaves of a house or under a deck, and are generally more dangerous when living near their nests because they will sting multiple times if provoked.
The stings can be painful and cause an allergic reaction in some people.
When is Yellow Jacket Control Essential?
In order to preserve their ability to function in the ecosystem, yellow jacket nests should ideally be left alone wherever possible.
However, there are certain times when yellow jacket control is essential, especially if the nest is located in accessible areas of your home and can threaten your family members.
That said, often, people try to take care of the problem on their own, but this can be dangerous and lead to more problems down the road (particularly because the likelihood of getting stung is high when attempting to remove a yellow jacket nest on your own).
The ideal option is to hire a professional who will take care of the problem quickly and safely. In fact, Yellow jackets are important pollinators, so if nests are removed without care, it could have a negative impact on the environment.
As you now know, Yellow jackets are social bees that play an important role in pollination, in addition to other contributions to the ecosystem; Thereby should not be killed indiscriminately.
However, they are quite aggressive and can cause painful stings when threatened. Therefore, when removing their invasion of your property is necessary, it is best to hire professional help!