Yellowjackets are social wasps, with a Queen that initiated the colony and female workers that build the nest, care for the young, forage for food, and defend the colony. Yellowjackets are very similar to the other social paper wasps called Umbrella Wasps, but differ by having no narrow waist between their thorax and abdomen. Colors are yellow and black. Yellowjackets will be found most commonly inside wall voids or in ground nests. The nest itself will not be visible but a steady stream of yellowjackets going to and from the nest will be visible in the right light. They love to nest in the lower wall voids of homes or in soffit areas where there is a void ready to occupy. WARNING.. Do not seal up an outside yellowjacket nest opening without first exterminating the colony unless you want a lot of angry yellowjackets inside your house.
The umbrella wasps derive their name from the upside-down umbrella shape of their nests. These nests will commonly be found on eaves or overhangs and the adult wasps will cluster on the surface of the nest at night and in cooler or rainy weather. The nest is created from chewed bark, dried plant parts, or other cellulose materials, and the cells in which the larvae will grow are formed as the traditional hexagon shape. Once the first adults emerge they become the workers and the original female, or “queen,” settles into laying eggs. All members of the colony are females and all of them can sting.
Another social wasp, the Bald-faced hornet lives throughout North America, including southern Canada, the Rocky Mountains, the western coast of the United States, and most of the eastern US. They are most common in the southeastern United States. They are best known for their large gray football-shaped paper nest, which they build in the spring for raising their young. This insect is extremely territorial and defends it’s nest aggressively if challenged. Called bald faced because of the predominance of white on the face of the insect, it is the largest of the native hornets.