Yellow jacket super nests appearing in Alabama
Alabama researchers are finding huge — like really, really big — yellow jacket nests across the state.
Perennial yellow jacket nests are colonies that survive more than one year, have 15,000 insects (which is 3 to 4 times more than normal), and often have multiple queens.
The warmer winters and an abundant food supply are contributing to the longevity of the nests, according to researchers with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
Imagine a colony of yellow jackets the size of a car, filled with 15,000 stinging insects. Now, imagine more than 90 in the state. It happened in 2006 & an Alabama Extension entomologist says 2019 may mirror 2006. https://t.co/SVW5YhIMnt @spann @AlfaFarmers @wsfa12news pic.twitter.com/EfyCicyXHF
— Alabama Extension (@ACESedu) June 21, 2019
The nests have been found in some odd places, including inside cars, walls and on the side of houses. Yellow jackets will build nests in wall voids, crawl spaces, attics and cracks, as well as in the ground.
“These perennial nests may be several feet wide and have many thousands of workers, far more than an average nest,” Charles Ray, an entomologist working with ACES, said. “We have found them attached to home exteriors and other places you might not expect to find yellow jackets.”
The occurrence of a large number of perennial nests happened in 2006 and Ray believes that this year could be the same.
Ray has confirmed four super nest in Alabama so far this year. According to him, there are usually one or two each year in June and July. In 2006, he recorded 90.
“I expect to approach that number this year,” Ray told The New York Times.
Researchers warn people to be careful around yellow jackets, as they are highly aggressive.
“First and foremost, do not disturb the nest,” Xing Ping Hu, an Alabama Extension entomologist, said. “While these giant nests often appear less aggressive than smaller colonies, it is important that people do not disturb the nests.”
WATCH OUT FOR WASPS! With every occasional wasp sting, a person’s chances of becoming sensitive to the venom increases. Knowing the basic information about these insects may reduce your chances of getting stung. #Wasps #Summer #WaspStings #YellowJackets #Hornets pic.twitter.com/buuXg65DJj
— Alabama Extension (@ACESedu) June 27, 2019