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Yellow Jacket or Something Else?

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Yellow Jacket or Something Else? Empty Yellow Jacket or Something Else?

Post  Fiz on 6/19/2017, 8:54 am

This little guy visits one of my containers which has two corn stalks in it every morning, it seems. It just lands and hangs out for a bit before flying off. Doesn't visit any other plants. I find it fascinating but can't figure out what the reason for its visits are. Anyone know what it is and what it might be doing?

Yellow Jacket or Something Else? Img_6125

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Fiz
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Post  Judy McConnell on 6/19/2017, 9:22 am

Yes, this is a yellow jacket!  If there is one, there are many more around.  Found this on Wikipedia   

"The diet of the adult yellowjacket consists primarily of items rich in sugars and carbohydrates, such as fruits, flower nectar, and tree sap. Larvae feed on proteins derived from insects, meats, and fish, which are collected by the adults, which chew and condition them before feeding them to the larvae. Many of the insects collected by the adults are considered pest species, making the yellowjacket beneficial to agriculture".
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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 6/19/2017, 10:27 am

They are quite similar in appearance, but I believe that is a paper wasp, rather than a yellow jacket, due to the orange-tipped antennae and slightly different patterning on the abdomen:
http://theydiffer.com/difference-between-a-yellow-jacket-and-a-paper-wasp/

Although they are still wasps, I find the yellow/black paper wasps to be the least defensive, and yellow jackets the most. They are both beneficial in the garden, but the location of a yellow jacket may require it to be removed/destroyed because they are much less tolerant of people near the nest.

The wasp may be sunning itself, or may smell a tasty pest in your corn and checks to see if it's accessible everyday. Sometimes/rarely paper wasps harvest fiber from live plants for their nests, but you didn't mention any damage to the stalk. More often they are scraping at the wood of my deck, garden stakes, raised beds, and bamboo trellises. It's fun to watch them ball up the wood pulp and tuck it under their chins as they work.
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Post  Fiz on 6/19/2017, 2:32 pm

Thanks for the feedback guys! On closer inspection comparing to yellow jackets and paper wasps online, it certainly does look like a paper wasp, and that's fine by me! Haha...yeah, I don't see any damage to the plant that isn't wind related. I'll keep tabs on them and see what they might be up to, sunning, hunting or otherwise. Thanks again! This forum is awesome. :-)
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Post  newbeone on 6/19/2017, 2:59 pm

I have something like that but they look like a small yellow Jacket but there yellow and brown and I see them all over my garden I have not noticed them ever landing on anything and there not aggressive .
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Post  BeetlesPerSqFt on 6/19/2017, 4:00 pm

There are brown and yellow paper wasps in Texas:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/1178236/bgpage

But when you say smaller I think it's more likely another kind of wasp, or one of many wasp mimics, several of which are actually flies. Between not landing near you, and being small, they are probably hard to photograph. Without a photo, I'd be guessing, and more so than usual because Texas has got different insects than PA.
Here's just a few of the waspy-looking flies:
http://bugguide.net/node/view/997234/bgpage
http://bugguide.net/node/view/1346027/bgpage
http://bugguide.net/node/view/311427/bgpage
http://bugguide.net/node/view/1263014/bgpage
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Post  Scorpio Rising on 6/20/2017, 8:17 pm

Wasps are beneficial in that they eat other bugs.  But location, location, location.  If you are in their space, beware.  Like Beetles said, some species are more defensive (read, aggressive) if interrupted or disturbed.
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Post  Kelejan on 6/21/2017, 12:20 am

I am afraid of yellow jackets.  When I was painting my house about four years ago I had to give up as they were flying at me with great intent.  I was getting along fine until I did the side that was flanked by a dense growing cedar hedge.

That side has not yet been finished. Now the opposite side that gets all the sun, needs to be re-painted.  Luckily my paint supplier has the details of the colour and the paint that I used.
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Post  Fiz on 7/6/2017, 8:36 am

Well, I found the paper wasp nest - it is right outside my son's bedroom window, two stories above the terrace and garden. I can see the wasps flying down to the garden, landing on my corn and flying back up again. We mostly are outside when the shade hits, which is late afternoon or evening, so we don't usually get bothered by them at that time. They seem quite active early morning, and although I am out myself doing some watering before work, I can usually avoid them. So i think we should be able to co-exist. I'll try to get a zoomed in picture of the nest but it's quite high up so we'll see how well my phone camera does.

I'm not going to mention this to my wife or son, lol. What you don't know doesn't hurt.  Wink
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