Yellow Jackets (Buzzes like a bee)
German Yellow Jackets are often mistaken for bees, due to the fact that they buzz like a bee. They belong to a group of social wasps that cooperate to build and defend their queen and colony. They are also the uninvited guests at picnics who get into soda cans.
Aerial Yellow Jackets nest in trees, shrubs, under decks, or high in the eaves, their nest is very visible and easy to identify; a "football" or upside down teardrop-shaped nest constructed from gray paper with a single hole on the bottom.
Yellow Jackets actually make this paper themselves by chewing on tiny slivers of wood. The young are hatched and food is stored in the nest's center or "core" of hexagonal (or six-sided) cells. See picture at the left.
When Yellow Jackets nest inside a structure (such as your home) the nest is not at all visible. You'll see them flying in and out at some small gap, crack, or crevice on the exterior of your house. Note: Please do not seal this entrance hole shut.
You may even be able to hear yellow jackets inside. Listen to your wall or ceiling for a crackling, tickling, "rustling-leaves" sound. Those are yellow jackets going about the business of building their hive and slowly chewing through your plaster or drywall to expand their nests.
Have you ever been mowing the grass and been chased off your mower? Those were Ground Bees (actually a type of yellow jacket) that chased you in the house. They build hives two inches to two feet underground often using abandoned rodent burrows. They are much smaller than other yellow jackets but will aggressively defend their home.
Unlike a honeybee, which stings only once, a yellow jacket can sting repeatedly.
The colonies are annual.