Yellow Jacket Wasp

Brief Overview

Yellow jacket wasps are bee-sized social wasps that form paper nests and have multiple layers of comb with downward-facing cells and enclosed inside an envelope which is made up of wood-pulp paper. They are of a very aggressive nature and also sting. They defend their nests by being in groups as they live in colonies. Their settings may cause localised pain in the people but may also cause serious consequences due to severe allergies and also experience life-threatening reactions like breathing difficulties. They are entirely found in urban areas.

Morphological Characteristics

Some of the species of Yellow Jacket Wasps are white and black while others are marked with red. At the time of rest, their wings folded longitudinally which differentiates them from other wasps. They have slender and smooth bodies with legs that consist of a few hairs. A narrow petiole is present or you can also call it the waist, which attaches the abdomen to the thorax. They possess antennae with 12-13 segments. Their faces are yellow with dark eyes. They have yellow markings on the front of the head and yellow bands are present on the abdomen.

Life Cycle Of Yellow Jacket Wasps

Their life cycle includes stages that are Egg to Larva to Pupa to Adult wasp. 

Egg- Male wasps mate with females and soon die and then the queen goes off to hibernate. Queen yellow jacket wasps build suitable nests inside sheds or timber piles or inside old rodent nests and form a colony after hibernation. The nest is made up of chewed wood or vegetable pulp which is mixed with saliva which acts as room for eggs and the workers protect and nourish the eggs.

Larva and Pupa- After the eggs hatch, they develop into a pupa which gains nourishment at this stage to grow into limbs and wings. For up to three weeks the larva feeds on meat, scavenging fish and insects and becoming a pupa.

Adult- The adults who emerge from the pupal cases are the sterilised female yellow jackets. This adult female continues to lay eggs over the summer and this process repeats through which a colony is formed. 


  • Colonies of wasps have more than 5000 wasps.
  • They feed on food rich in carbohydrates and sugars.
  • They live in colonies and are of a very aggressive nature.
  • These are the species of social wasps which help in pollination and are known for being predators.