A "Stinging Commentary" on wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets

Yellowjackets and paper wasps are important beneficial insects owing to their need to provide protein to their legless, helpless larvae in their nests.  I once watched yellowjackets totally decimate a colony of redheaded pine sawflies (Neodiprion lecontei) with the sawfly larvae being carried off one at a time to become meat items for yellowjacket larvae.  From late-spring through the summer, the ever-expanding numbers of yellowjacket and paper wasp workers keep busy enlarging their nests and foraging for caterpillars, sawfly larvae, and other soft-bodied insects.  They use their powerful mandibles to grind-up these protein-rich meat items to feed to their larvae so they will development into new adults.

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