Mention the name Yellow Jackets and people immediately take guard against the yellow bee-like flying things. They can sting you worse than the honey-making insects. Not many know how beneficial they can be to the ecosystem in general and to us humans in particular; yellow jackets are a type of social wasps classified as Genera Dolichovespula and Vespula.
Few facts about yellow jackets
- Though the yellow jackets are a bother and irritation at summer parties, they are welcome visitors in most of the gardens. These slender and slick wasps are likely to hunt for insects in foliage than visit flowers in the first half of the summer season.
- The Yellow jacket colonies are abundant and they are estimated to feed on over two pounds of insects from a garden of 2,000 square feet.
- The Yellow Jacket nymphs (young ones) are known to prey on the insects that cause damage to the crops and ornamental plants.
- The liquefied forms of the young insects such as flies, spiders, and caterpillars are also common inclusions in their diet till early summer. However, in late summer, these insects prey on flower nectar and sugary food.
Yellow Jackets Beneficial to the Ecology:
Yellow Jackets are known party crashers during summers, they are capable of attacking humans with their painful stings. They also possess a distinct place in the ecosystem. In fact, when you take a look at the ecology in which they thrive, it would show you that they are extremely beneficial and not only aggressive. The yellow jacket helps to control a number of insects that damage crops along with other garden and field pests.
A Farmer’s Companion:
The yellow jackets are beneficial bugs as they are pollinators that feed on the soft-bodied insects. The term pollinator refers to an insect that helps the plant make fruits or seeds by moving the pollen from one plant to the other. The plants are fertilized thanks to the pollen transfers that the farmers can capitalize on. Usually, these insects are imported as biocontrol agents for destroying naturally occurring pests which has the ability to threaten the whole harvest. By eradicating the crop-damaging pests, the yellow jackets helps the farmers to safeguard their plants thereby ensuring them a lot of profit.
Extra Benefits of Yellow Jacket:
- To the community:Apart from gardens and farmers, Yellow Jackets are also beneficial to people as they help in keeping the pests under control. They acts as a natural exterminator to a lot of damaging bugs
- Maintains the ecological balance: There are many large and small mammals who in turn feed on Yellow Jackets. These insects are a large part of the diet of the black bear and the colony of yellow jackets provides a nutritious as well as a convenient meal for the bears. The thick fur of the huge mammal protects them from the stings and enables them to slurp on the nymphs and larvae from the nest. Apart from the bears, the small mammals such as foxes, skunks and raccoons are also experts in tracking the nests of these insects. The skunks get a huge percentage of their protein requirements from the yellow jackets. Depending on the region, shrews, badgers, and moles also prey on these insects. In the southern regions, the armadillos with their sharp digging claws, natural armor and long burrowing noses attack these insects.
- As food for pets:The pet owners with reptile pets (like lizards) at home usually feed them with the young yellow jackets and the larvae. The lower metabolism of these reptiles makes them feed less frequently. These prefer foods that are red and yellow in color and some reptiles do not accept alternatives. Yellow jackets serve as a vital source of nutrition to these pets.
Additional Information on Yellow Jackets:
- Be careful about the painful stings!! Even though extremely beneficial, the yellow jackets may turn aggressive if their nest or colony is threatened.
- For the benefits that the yellow jackets provide, people can co-exist with these insects and their nests until and unless there is any harm caused to them and their nests.
- You should keep in mind not to crush or harm a yellow jacket. If you find one on you, just brush it off your body gently.
- It would be best not to remove the nests of the yellow jackets if the insects are not disturbing you as these are beneficial to the environment.
Yellow Jackets are good as long as they are out there beyond human conflict. But if you find yellow jackets on the wall of your house or yellow jackets in the attic, it's best to find a solution to get rid of them at the earliest. So if possible, the ideal method to fully leverage the benefits of the Yellow Jackets is to try to create an environment that encourages Yellow Jackets habitation and at the time, also ensure that the colonies are away from human activity.