Southern yellowjacket Vespula squamosa Fig 914b f

Workers are 14-17 mm long. The body has yellow and black markings; the scutum has two yellow stripes; the abdomen has narrow yellow bands. V. squamosa is a facultative social parasite of Paravespula maculifrons or Vespa species, depending on the region. The parasite queen takes over the nest from the host queen and assumes complete control of the colony. Most V. squamosa colonies are located in disturbed habitats, particularly in turfgrass surrounding houses and buildings, recreation areas, and roadsides. This species has an effective alarm pheromone that causes extremely vigorous attack and stinging behavior by workers. V. squamosa occurs as both polygyne and single-queen nests; single-queen nests usually have a 1-year life cycle, while polygyne nests may have a 2-year cycle. Colonies usually remain active into fall, with most producing reproductives from late August into November. At their peak, colonies contain 500-4000 workers; polygyne nests have more workers. Sometimes perennial colonies occur in subtropical areas ofits distribution. This species occurs east of the Rocky Mountains in North America, and into southern Mexico and Guatemala. A related species, W.sulphurea, has the longitudinal stripes, but the yellow bands on the abdomen are broad, and it occurs west of the Rocky Mountains.

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