The term yellow jacket is popular in North America that is given to a section of predatory wasps that have a prominent yellow and black coloring. They can be easily mistaken for bees and some people actually think that these specimens are bees against the actual honey bees. Yellow jackets belong to the family of Vespidae and are further sub classified as Vespinae. These belong to two types of genus namely vespula and dolichovespula.
The common yellow jacket belongs to the vespula genus and builds underground nests where the queen lays eggs, feeds and hatches the young ones from the safety of the nest. The dolichovespula genus builds exposed aerial nests that confuse them with hornets when they are truly yellow jackets.
Types of Yellow Jackets and Their Scientific Names
Scientific Name of German Yellow Jacket
This belongs to the European yellow jacket family and is one of the popular scavenging pests in the United States. They are also known as the German wasp and are termed as Vespula germanica that have established itself in the North American and Australian continents.
Scientific Name of Eastern Yellow Jacket
This ground nesting yellow jacket is a colonial insect similar to its vespula counterparts. Known as Vespula maculifrons, it is commonly found in the eastern parts of the Great Plains of the United States.
Scientific Name of Western Yellow Jacket
This species is a native of the western half of the North American continent. Its scavenging habit has made the western yellow jacket – the Vespula pensylvanica to be one of the major pests in the region. Though this carries the familiar yellow and black patterns of the vespula species, this is the only kind that has a complete full yellow ring around each compound eye.
Scientific Name of Bald Faced Hornets
Bald faced hornets are named so for their ivory and black coloration that is similar to those of the hornets though they are truly yellow jackets. This species belongs to the Dolichovespula genus and is scientifically known as Dolichovespula maculata.