Other Common Names
Yellow-haired yellowjacket; Hybrid yellowjacket
Explanation of Names
Vespula flavopilosa Jacobson 1978
Similar to V. maculifrons. Distinguishing features include: Thick yellow hairs on the thorax and abdomen and detailed pattern of the first tergum.
Workers usually have a large amount of yellow throughout the thorax and abdomen, but melanic (dark) and xanthic (yellow) forms may occur:
Of thirteen colonies found in western Pennsylvania, eleven were subterranean, one was in an exterior wall of a building, and one was beneath a rotten tree stump (B. Coulter, pers. observation).
Vespula flavopilosa is a somewhat recently discovered species, but so far all known data point to the fact that the species is probably not capable of founding their own colonies. Lone queens during spring will search out young colonies of V. maculifrons or V. alascensis to usurp (Social Parasitism).
MacDonald et al.
(1980) considered V. flavopilosa
to be a facultative temporary social parasite of V. maculifrons
and V. alascensis
(as V. vulgaris
) based on five mixed colonies from across the range of the species.(2)
I am unaware of firm evidence that the species is incapable of founding colonies entirely. -B. Coulter
This very yellow (xanthic) male has proved difficuilt to ID to species; it is either a Yellow-Haired or an Eastern V. maculifrons