Tag Archives: eastern yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons)

The queen is dead

About a month ago I had been out running errands and returned home to unmitigated excitement amongst The Kids.  All five of them huddled together near the patio doors and windows in the living room.  As I watched from the kitchen, I realized they were hunting something.  Each time it moved, five feline heads turned in unison.  And once in a while, one of them would reach out and swat at it.

Then I heard something like buzzing.  It was fleeting, a weak rattle against the glass and blinds from wings too fatigued to carry their owner to safety.

Whatever it was, it had endured constant badgering by superior hunters protecting their territory from interlopers.

So I went to investigate.  Keep in mind it only took me a few seconds to put my keys and wallet down before heading in their direction.  Nevertheless, the buzzing ended abruptly as I approached.  Because most of the action was taking place behind the end of my desk, I couldn’t see who delivered the final blow—but I saw the aftermath.

A queen eastern yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons) had somehow gotten into the house.  That was a major mistake.  And only the first.

After gaining entry, it caught the attention of my home security system—hunters the lot of them, of course.  That was the second mistake… and another big one.

After realizing—I assume—that it couldn’t get out the way it got in, the poor female critter made her way to the windows and tried her best to break through.  That was the final mistake and likely the biggest one.  It put her within easy reach of killer kitties who don’t appreciate any invaders.  They especially deal tremendous harm to little flying things that make funny sounds and flit about in random and quick movements.  As predators go, they’re designed to hunt just such prey.

When I finally reached their position, all five of them stood in silence as they stared at the unmoving, limp, probably lifeless body.  At that point, it looked a little battered and wasn’t moving—and it was being sniffed and investigated with great interest by everyone.

I fetched a paper towel from the kitchen so I could retrieve and dispose of the beast without having to touch it (even an accidental sting after its death could send me to the hospital, so I take no chances).

You can bet The Kids followed me with great interest as I picked up the wasp.  It never moved.  Despite nearly tripping over the cats as they scurried and scampered about my feet, I grabbed my camera and headed to the patio to snap a few photos.

Rest assured I’d never take photos this close of any ant, wasp, or bee.  They’re simply too dangerous to me for such foolishness.  Take that as a guarantee that this little lady was quite deceased, having been dispatched with cunning agility by one or more of the family members best suited to such tasks.

And amazingly, none of them had been stung!  I was somewhat surprised by that, although it didn’t shock me.

Anyway, here are a few photos of the unfortunate visitor who didn’t survive the social call.

A dead queen eastern yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons) (178_7842)
A dead queen eastern yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons) (178_7850)
A dead queen eastern yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons) (178_7848)
A dead queen eastern yellowjacket (Vespula maculifrons) (178_7845)