Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wild Fact: Yellow jackets

Did you know a yellow jacket actually is a wasp rather than a bee? These insects look similar, but wasps are smooth while bees are hairy. Bees eat pollen and nectar while wasps eat insects, animals, and sugary foods (including picnic snacks and soda). A wasp hive doesn’t produce honey and is made out of paper rather than wax. Both yellow jackets and bees may sting to protect their colonies, but a wasp can sting many times (bees die after stinging only once). Never squash a yellow jacket – that makes the wasp release an alarm scent, alerting other yellowjackets to flock towards you.

WILD Fact is a regular feature written by Linda May, a wildlife interpretive specialist with the Georgia DNR Wildlife Resources Division based at the Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center in Mansfield, Georgia.

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