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Wasps, Pacific Northwest

Sphecidae Wasps
Sphecidae Wasp, Photo By Bud Logan

The wasp is medium sized flying insect that can be found all around the world. The wasp is known for its black and yellow markings, not unlike some bees. They are found in all parts of the world, on every continent with only the polar regions being exempt.  There are about 75,000  species worldwide.

They have a powerful sting and one wasp can sting you several times. Some people react badly to these stings and some with allergies can find a wasp string to be fatal.

Like many other insect species, they are a social creature and  as many as 10,000 can inhabit just one nest. The queen is the only breeding female and she builds the nest from a papery substance that is made up of chewed wood and plants.

Wasps are omnivorous animals and therefore eat a mixture of plants and other animals. As with bees, they prefers the sweeter plants and primarily eats nectar, fruits and honey. They also eat insects and even large caterpillars.

Western Yellow Jacket Wasps Nest
Western Yellow Jacket Wasp Nest, Photo By Bud Logan

Despite their bright colors to deter predators, they are eaten by a number of different animals around the world including birds, amphibians, reptiles and various species of mammal.

The queen lays her eggs inside the nest which hatch in a number of days. When the larvae hatch they are cared for by the other wasps in the nest and begin to hunt for food to bring back to the nest. They are known to travel nearly half a kilometer away from the nest in search of food.

In the spring, wasps generally feed on plant nectar but in the fall, there is a change and they begin to hunt meat. Try to have a fall picnic with cold fried chicken and you will see what l mean.

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