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Dolichovespula arenaria (Fabricius, 1775)
AERIAL YELLOWJACKET
Common aerial yellowjacket; Vespa borealis; Kirby; Vespa diabolica; De saussure; Vespa fernaldi; Lewis

Life   Insecta   Hymenoptera   Vespoidea   Vespidae   Dolichovespula

Dolichovespula arenaria, face
© altered from Miller 1961by Grace Chen · 1
Dolichovespula arenaria, face

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Dolichovespula arenaria, queen abdomen2
© altered from Miller 1961by Grace Chen · 1
Dolichovespula arenaria, queen abdomen2
Dolichovespula arenaria, male abdomen1
© altered from Miller 1961by Grace Chen · 1
Dolichovespula arenaria, male abdomen1

Dolichovespula arenaria, worker abdomen
© altered from Miller 1961by Grace Chen · 1
Dolichovespula arenaria, worker abdomen
Dolichovespula arenaria, distribution
© from Akre 1981 · 1
Dolichovespula arenaria, distribution

Dolichovespula arenaria, face
© altered from Miller 1961by Grace Chen · 1
Dolichovespula arenaria, face
Overview
Akre, R.D., A. Greene, J.F. MacDonald, P.J. Landholt, and H.G. Davis. (1981). Yellowjackets of North America, North of Mexico. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C. Handbook #552.


Dolichovespula arenaria (the aerial yellowjacket) is transcontinentally distributed in the Boreal Region of North America, occurring from north-central Alaska to as far south as Arizona and New Mexico (fig. 37). It is “one of the commonest wasps in North America’ (Miller, 1961) and one of the most widely distributed. Although there are numerous papers on various aspects of its behavior and nest architecture, the only comprehensive study of its social biology is that of Greene et al. (1976). D. arenaria nest construction begins as early as March in California, with many colonies declining in mid-June and totally dying out by July (Duncan, 1939). In the mid-Atlantic States, colonies may be mature and producing reproductives by late June. In Washington, queens become active in April and nests are initiated from May to early June, with colonies entering decline in August. A few may endure throughout September. Nests are usually aerial and are constructed from a few centimeters above ground in grass, shrubs, and bushes to the very tops of trees (fig. 38). They are also commonly found on houses and in sheds, garages, and many similar manmade structures. Colonies may sometimes be situated beneath rocks or even below ground, with workers excavating soil to allow for nest expansion as in Vespula spp. (Greene et al., 1976). During the summer of 1977, 14 subterranean nests with excavating workers were located in the mountains near La Grande, Oreg., and near Harrison, Idaho, suggesting that such nests may not be uncommon in similar habitats throughout western North America. Colony size of D. arenaria may vary greatly from year to year. For example, most nests constructed by colonies in southeastern Washington in 1974 were small, with diameters rarely exceeding 10 cm and the largest nest containing only 2,662 cells (Greene et al., 1976). Conversely, one nest in 1973 (25 cm in diameter and 30 cm long) contained 4,277 cells, one in 1975 had 4,290 cells, and one in 1976 had 4,359 cells. Although the largest nests collected by Greene et al (1976) had a maximum of six combs, Spencer (1960) mentioned two seven-combed nests from British Columbia. Adult worker populations during peak colony development vary from about 200 to 700, whereas total adult production of some colonies over the season may reach 6,500 or more. Table 4 shows colony composition in Pullman, Wash., for 1975. Colonies in Eastern States may average considerably smaller. Commonly encountered nest associates of D. arenaria in southeastern Washington are the ichneumonid, Sphecophaga vesparum burra, the social parasite, D. arctica, and the pyralid moth, Vitula edmandsae serratilineella Ragonot (Greene et al., 1976). The rate of parasitism by the ichneumonid was low, and did not seem to be an adverse factor in colony development. A diverse assortment of other arthropods, such as Parcoblatta sp. in nests in North Carolina and earwigs in nests in Washington, are probably incidental. D. arenaria workers usually forage only for live prey, but may utilize carrion on occasion (Greene et al., 1976). Searching patterns and the wide range of prey attacked indicate their foraging habits are quite similar to those of V. pensylvanica. Prey includes grasshoppers, spittlebug adults, leafhoppers, Lygus Hahn bugs, tree crickets, lacewings, caterpillars, flies, and spiders. The behavior of D. arenaria within the nest was discussed by Greene et al. (1976). In many aspects, it is similar to that exhibited by other yellowjackets (Akre et al., 1976); however, D. arenaria displays some important differences, including prey malaxation by the foundress queen for most of her life, prey malaxation by new queens and males, cap trimming by new queens, mauling of new queens by workers, and gastral vibration by the foundress queens and workers (table 3). Some of these activities have been observed in D. maculata colonies but not in other yellowjacket species. D. arenaria workers do not ordinarily scavenge for protein and so are not usually serious picnic pests; however, like most yellowjackets, they may be attracted to sources of sugar in late summer. Isolated D. arenaria workers, apparently more so than other yellowjacket species, have an annoying and disconcerting tendency to buzz around the heads of people, sometimes following a person through the woods for a considerable distance. They may be foraging for flies, which often are found with any large animal. Since D. arenaria often constructs nests on manmade structures, the chances for encounters resulting in stings to humans are greatest in this situation. While small colonies may be quite mild and not easily aroused, larger colonies are formidable when disturbed. Attacking workers can even spray venom out of the sting (Greene et al., 1976). Control of some D. arenaria colonies located in close proximity to human activity is therefore warranted.



Reprinted with permission from: Miller, C.D.F. 1961 Taxonomy and Distribution of Nearctic Vespula. The Canadian Entomologist Supplement 22.


Diagnostic Characters
Color.—Black with yellow markings. Structure.—Malar space more than half as long as the penultimate antennal Segment (Fig. 2); occipital carina well defined; last six flagellar segments of male each with two tyloides, one near the base and one near the apex; digitus of male genitalia long and tapered distally, extending well beyond apex of aedeagus and reaching the pointed apex of the parameral spine (Fig. 20). Abdominal Color Patterns.—as in Figs. 58, 61, 64. Facial Color Pattern.- as in Fig. 82

This is one of the commonest wasps in North America. It is transcontinentally distributed in the Boreal Region.

Discussion
An xanthic variant produced by this species is not as Bequaert said “rare” in eastern North America. Its incidence of occurrence does become greater in western North America but it is still anything but dominant there. It reputedly has been taken from nests containing the typical form, and the author certainly has seen every conceivable intergradation between it and the typical form. Ecological Notes.—The nest of this species is aerial. It often builds under the eaves of homes where it becomes a domestic pest.

Names
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Polygonaceae  Eriogonum fasciculatum @ UCRC_ENT (1)

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Following served from Dolichovespula arenaria, Tom Murray, http://www.pbase.com/tmurray74
   
Top | See original context

Following served from Dolichovespula arenaria, Tom Murray, http://www.pbase.com/tmurray74
   
Top | See original context

Following modified from CalPhotos
   
Top | See original

http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=dl&where-taxon=Dolichovespula+arenaria&where-lifeform=specimen_tag&rel-lifeform=ne&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-lifeform=Animal ---> https://calphotos.berkeley.edu/cgi/img_query?query_src=dl&where-taxon=Dolichovespula+arenaria&where-lifeform=specimen_tag&rel-lifeform=ne&rel-taxon=begins+with&where-lifeform=Animal

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Number of matches : 2
Query: SELECT * FROM img WHERE ready=1 and taxon like "Dolichovespula arenaria%" and (lifeform != "specimen_tag" OR lifeform != "Animal") ORDER BY taxon

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Dolichovespula arenaria
Dolichovespula arenaria
Common Aerial Yellowjacket
(shown with Rhamnus californica )
ID: 0000 0000 0708 0497 [detail]
© 2008 Gary McDonald

Dolichovespula arenaria
Dolichovespula arenaria
Aerial Yellowjacket
ID: 0000 0000 0509 0495 [detail]
© 2009 John W. Wall

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