Southern Yellowjacket Queen

Subject: Was told Japanese hornet??
Location: southeast USA
March 11, 2014 6:07 am
I’m not sure if this is a hornet, or a wasp. It resembles what I’ve always heard of as a “news carrier bee” in the south.. but I don’t now a name for it, or if this bug is the same as that..
I tried sending this with my LG G2, but I’m not sure the photos attached properly using that here it is again.
open my trash can and almost threw a bag on this guy, which would’ve likely killed him. instead I grabbed the cup he was on the lid of and set him on some nearby grass
Signature: Jon in Alabama

Southern Yellowjacket
Southern Yellowjacket Queen

Dear Jon,
To the best of our knowledge, the Japanese Hornet has NOT been introduced to North America.  This is a Southern Yellowjacket,
Vespula squamosa, and you can compare your image to this image on BugGuide.  We suspect this is a queen and that she will soon be starting a new colony.  According to BugGuide:  “Queens are facultative temporary social parasites, and frequently usurp established young nests of other yellowjacket species, usually V. maculifrons. There are also records of this species utilizing V. vidua and V. flavopilosa(5) as hosts. The queens are extremely large and robust for a yellowjacket, a trait which surely helps them to overpower and kill the host queens of the colonies they usurp. A study in Georgia found that about 80% of V. squamosa colonies began by usurpation of a V. maculifrons colony.(2) Facultative temporary social parasitism means that the species may parasitize other species, but is still capable of founding its own colonies, and it retains a worker caste. After killing the host queen, the squamosa adopts the nest and host workers, who raise her offspring. The colony eventually becomes pure squamosa as the original host workers die off.”
P.S.  The Good News Bee or Yellowjacket Hoverfly is an effective mimic of the Yellowjacket.

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