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Vespula germanica (Fabricius, 1793)
GERMAN YELLOWJACKET
Vespa germanica Fabricius, 1793; Vespa maculata; Scopoli; Vespa macularis; Olivier

Life   Insecta   Hymenoptera   Vespoidea   Vespidae   Vespula

Vespula germanica, distribution
© from Akre 1981 · 1
Vespula germanica, distribution

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Vespula germanica
© altered from Miller 1961by Grace Chen · 1
Vespula germanica
Vespula germanica 2
© altered from Miller 1961by Grace Chen · 1
Vespula germanica 2

Vespula germanica, AMNH HYM00000977
© American Museum of Natural History · 0
Vespula germanica, AMNH HYM00000977
Vespula germanica, AMNH HYM00000977
© American Museum of Natural History · 0
Vespula germanica, AMNH HYM00000977
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.


Native to Europe, Vespula germanica (German yellowjacket) has been introduced into New Zealand (Thomas, 1960), Tasmania (Spradbery, 1973b), South Africa (Whitehead and Prins, 1975), Chile (Pena et al., 1975), Sydney, Australia (R. Edwards, Rentokil Ltd., Sussex, England, personal commun.) and the United States (Menke and Snelling, 1975). The known distribution of this species in North America, as of 1977, is given in figure 57. In Europe, V. germanica nests are usually subterranean, but they may be aerial or in roofs, attics, and between the walls of houses (Spradbery, 1973a). In North America, nearly all reported nests have been in structures. Eighteen of 22 colonies studied in Tompkins County, New York, during 1977, built nests between the walls of buildings (R. Keyel, Cornell Univ., personal commun.). Colonies are usually annual, but perennial colonies are not infrequent in New Zealand (Thomas, 1960) and Tasmania (Spradbery, 1973b). Spradbery (1973a) discussed the huge nests constructed by perennial colonies of V. germanica in New Zealand (Thomas, 1960) and Tasmania. In New Zealand, one aerial nest was 14 ft 11 inches by 5 ft by 2 ft, and a subterranean nest (47 by 40 by 38 inches) with 27 combs weighed about 100 lb. A subterranean nest in Tasmania measured 6 by 2.5 by 4 ft, had 30 combs, and was comprised of 1.5 million cells. From these data, it was estimated that the largest New Zealand nest had 3 to 4 million cells and weighed 1,000 lb. Typical nests are considerably smaller and are similar in size to nests of V. pensylvanica. Spradbery (1973a) described a colony collected in early September in Great Britain, which was comprised of 1,820 workers, 447 males, 147 new queens, and the foundress. The nest had 8 combs with a total of 6,341 cells, including 1,214 queen cells, Nests built by mature colonies in Israel have I to 15 combs (Ishay and Brown, 1975). Very little data are available on V. germanica colonies in North America, although pest control operators report large nests are not uncommon in the Washington, D.C., area. One located within the framework of a house porch and examined in late August contained 11,540 cells in seven combs (fig. 58). Another, situated in an attic, measured nearly 80 cm in diameter by 80 cm long (J. Nixon, Silver Spring, Md., personal commun.) (fig. 59). The nest was comprised of only six combs. The large size was mostly due to multiple envelope layers, probably a response to high temperatures in the attic. As reported from New York and Ohio (Morse et a!., 1977), colonies in the mid-Atlantic States may be active well into December. The most significant work on the behavior of V. germanica is that of Montagner (1966) who reported a dominance hierarchy among workers. More dominant workers solicit and receive food from foragers, but dominance is not correlated to ovarian development. Other works on V. germanica behavior include studies on foraging (Free, 1970), worker behavior (Archer, 1972b), sounds produced by larvae (Ishay and Brown, 1975), and nest usurpation (Nixon, 1935). V. germanica workers accept a wide variety of arthropods as prey and are opportunistic in the exploitation of food sources. Most workers forage within several hundred meters of the nest, but some will travel up to 1,200 m (Ferro, 1976). They are also notorious scavengers for protein and are attracted in great numbers to sweets. V. germanica is a problem to beekeepers (Walton and Reid, 1976), a general nuisance in bakeries, markets, parks, and butcher shops (Kemper and Döhring, 1967), and, in New Zealand, has been responsible for the closing of several schools because of the great number of nesting colonies in surrounding playgrounds. However, they are also beneficial as a great number of adult flies of wool maggots (blow flies, Calliphoridae; Thomas, 1960) and muscid flies (Schmidtmann, 1977) are taken as prey. This species has become more abundant and seems to be replacing V. maculifrons as the most abundant pest yellowjacket in some areas of the East (Morse et al., 1977). As it becomes more firmly established, it has spread slowly westwards and reached Indiana as of 1976. Indeed, five colonies were located in houses Lafayette, Ind., during the late summer and fall of 1977. None could be removed for sampling as they were deep in hollow walls or flooring. During the summer of 1978, several colonies of V. germanica were located on the campus of Michigan State University. Subsequently, this species was found distributed throughout much of the State and was responsible for many of the reported yellowjacket problems. Obviously, the known distribution of this species is rapidly expanding.

Links to other sites
German Yellowjacket Information, Harvard University

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Following served from Vespula germanica, Tom Bentley, www.thomasbentley.com
   
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Following modified from Taiwan Biodiversity National Information Network
   
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Kingdom Animalia  
 Phylum Arthropoda  
 Class Insecta  
 Order Hymenoptera  
 Family Vespidae  
 Genus Vespula  
  Vespula germanica    (Fabricius, 1793) 
Provider: Liang-Yi Chiu & Shu-Pei Chen 
hierarchy tree    download xml    download txt    Chinese Page    
Synonyms: Vespa macularis   details
Citation: Fabricius, 1793: 256; Carpenter & Kojima, 1997: 77
Name Code: 343714
  
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