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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