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Species Vespula flavopilosa - Downy Yellowjacket

Vespula flavopilosa - female V. flavopilosa queen - Vespula flavopilosa - female Vespula flavopilosa - female Downy Yellowjacket - Vespula flavopilosa - female yellowjacket - Vespula flavopilosa - male Downy Yellowjacket - Vespula flavopilosa - male Wasp or yellowjacket? - Vespula flavopilosa   - Vespula flavopilosa
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Hymenoptera (Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies)
No Taxon (Aculeata - Ants, Bees and Stinging Wasps)
Superfamily Vespoidea (Yellowjackets and Hornets, Paper Wasps; Potter, Mason and Pollen Wasps and allies)
Family Vespidae (Yellowjackets and Hornets, Paper Wasps; Potter, Mason and Pollen Wasps)
Subfamily Vespinae (Hornets and Yellowjackets)
Genus Vespula
Species flavopilosa (Downy Yellowjacket)
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:
e. US south to GA(1)
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).
Life Cycle
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
Internet References
Works Cited
1.The Vespinae of North America (Vespidae, Hymenoptera)
L.S. Kimsey and J.M. Carpenter. 2012. Journal of Hymenoptera Research Vol. 28: 37–65.
2.Nesting Biology of the Yellowjacket, Vespula flavopilosa (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)
MacDonald, J. F., R. W. Matthews, and R. S. Jacobson. 1980. Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society 53:448-458.
3.Identification Atlas of the Vespidae (Hymenoptera, Aculeata) of the Northeastern Nearctic Region
Matthias Buck, Stephen A. Marshall, and David K. B. Cheung. 2008. Biological Survey of Canada [Canadian Journal of Arthropod Identification].