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Saturday, May 9, 2009

Are yellow jackets bees?

: yellow jacket

Why: I remember yellow jackets being long and slender without fuzz. Zack says they are bees.

Answer: Nope. Yellow jackets are just wasps, unique in color pattern and in that they occur only in colonies and have a characteristic rapid, side-to-side flight pattern prior to landing.

This is what a yellow jacket looks like:

This is a honey bee, not a yellow jacket:

Source: Wikipedia

The More You Know: Yellow jackets, unlike honey bees, are not covered with dense hair on their bodies and lack hairy hind legs used to carry pollen. Yellow jackets have lance-like stingers with small barbs and typically sting repeatedly. However, their venom, like most bee/wasp venoms, is usually only dangerous to those who are allergic, unless a victim receives a large number of stings.

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