I am not sure what a yellow jacket looks like. I have these little bright yellow striped wasps that are very skinny and about the same size as my bees.
Right now they are picking up the dead bees outside the hives. If they get close to the entrance the girls scare them off. I haven't seen any get inside.
I didn't see these until my neighbor had her old garage torn somewhat down.
Does someone have a link to a picture? If these aren't yellow jackets, what might they be?
Martha in KC
These look a little longer than the ones I exterminate for people on a regular basis, but the first picture here is very good.
Easiest way to kill them is with a shovel and a can of gas. Drench the nest area before dark, chop up the ground, soak it some more, turn the dirt and nest over, keeping it wet with gas. Guaranteed dead nest. Do NOT light them up. Returning foragers can be killed with a commercial spray.
ok, thanks for the picture. No I don't have yellow jackets. Mine have more bright yellow, less black and are smaller.
Since "yellow jacket" seems to be a generic term, it kind of depends on what people in your locality call them. People around here call everything from the small black and yellow paper wasps to the larger ground dwelling hornets yellow jackets. Both eat meat. Both will bite you. Both are fairly aggressive but the ground dwelling hornets seem to be the worst. Both are nusances and will try to steal honey and kill bees, but not at the same rate.
Where I grew up (in Southern Illinois) they called the big ones living in the ground Yellow Jakcets and the other ones we called "sweat bees". They were "sweat bees" because they would try to bite you when you were sweaty. It think in other parts of the country the name "sweat bee" also has different meanings.
OK, here is the Terminix pest library:
Look at the European hornet, is that it?
The bald face hornet on this site does not look like what I commonly see here.
Bullseye - thanks for the link. I now know what type hornet I have been seeing bothering my hives - the European Hornet. It is colored more like the yellow jacket but about half again larger than a bald face hornet. A few weeks ago while doing some open feeding, I saw two of the European hornets fight and one stung the other to death. They were catching the honey bees and carrying them away.
A couple of days ago, my son found their nest in a knot hole of a large oak tree. I attempted to spray hornet/wasp spray but it was slightly out of range - may try again with a step ladder.
10 Years ago I went on a hunting trip to Montana. Any place there was grass or brush (and most of it was wild country) one could hear a low hum. The place was alive with what I (from Ct) call yellowjackets. By the time I got my bear half gutted, the cavity was full of these critters. The bravest thing I've ever done was to reach my hand in there to finish the job, but they actually didn't bother me. It was like a robbing frenzy.
My guide said they called them "Meat bees".
I stomped one and looked at it up close. It looks like that, but is not even 1/2 inch. about the same size as a bee.
I think the guy tearing down my neighbor's rotten garage must have stirred them up. I've not seen them all summer until he got all but one wall down.
So far they are just trying to pick up dead bees on the ground. I stomp them dead.
Martha in KC
I've got yellow jackets harassing my hives, but except for the weak one, they seem to be holding their own splendidly. I actually saw a yellow jacket grab one of my girls and challenge her in mortal combat. Proving my insanity, I broke up the fight and stomped the yellow jacket. My girl stumbled around a bit, looking a little dazed and stunned at first, but finally flew off unharmed. Now if I could just get fast enough to catch those lizards. . .
Anyone want to guess what this is?
Click on the thumbnails to enlarge.
Is that a Cicada Killer wasp?
yup that's a cicada killer. big and ugly lookin' huh?
my oldest son used to take a big fat wiffle ball bat and smack them in the front yard. When you have a bunch of them zooming around it can get pretty scary. I understand that they don't sting people - but I don't think I want to try that test.
A few years ago I saw a cicada killer take down a cicada. It chased it, grabbed it in mid air and pulled it to the ground. They landed not 2 feet from me, and man was it ever nature in the raw. Like a lion killing a gazelle, only writ small. The wasp wrestled the cicada to it's back, stung it, stradled it it and flew away with it. It was something out of Marlin Perkins' Wild Kingdom (for those of you old enough to remember).
I'll take my nice, placid honey bees any day.
They are intimidating. I have a lot living in my pasture in holes in the ground under the cedar trees. I've never been stung by one and I've bee around them all my life, but it's hard not to be afraid when they buzz you.
>>I've never been stung by one and I've bee around them all my life
They not only can sting multiple times (unlike the EHB) but they also bite. Especially when their nest is distrubed.
Like the EHB they appear fairly tame around food sources unless you accidently mash one.
I once picked up the top half of a nest in my hands while baling hay. I ran close to a half mile - knocking and brushing bees the whole way ended up with over 50 stings. I also appear to be able to find them (they find me) while mowing the lawn.