Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada
Clickable Guide
Moths Butterflies Flies Caterpillars Flies Dragonflies Flies Mantids Cockroaches Bees and Wasps Walkingsticks Earwigs Ants Termites Hoppers and Kin Hoppers and Kin Beetles True Bugs Fleas Grasshoppers and Kin Ticks Spiders Scorpions Centipedes Millipedes



Species Vespula germanica - German Yellowjacket

German yellowjacket queen feeding on nectar - Vespula germanica - female A Thief - Vespula germanica - female Yellow Jacket - Vespula germanica big wasp on windowsill - Vespula germanica - female Unknown Hornet - Vespula germanica Ground Yellowjacket - Vespula germanica - female Vespula germanica Query Aerial Yellowjacket - Vespula germanica
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
Family Vespidae (Hornets, Yellowjackets; Paper, Potter, Mason, and Pollen Wasps; and Allies)
Subfamily Vespinae (Hornets and Yellowjackets)
Genus Vespula (Ground Yellowjackets)
Species germanica (German Yellowjacket)
Other Common Names
European wasp, German wasp, or German yellowjacket
Synonyms and other taxonomic changes
Vespa germanica Fabricius, 1793. (1)
Explanation of Names
Vespula germanica (Fabricius, 1793)

germanica = from the New Latin germānica (discovered or common in Germany)
Body: 13 mm. Workers 12-15 mm
Forewing length: workers 7.5–12.0 mm, queen 13.0–15.0 mm, drone (male) 12.0–13.0 mm(2)
Key to eastern Nearctic Vespula species in the Identification Atlas of the Vespidae of the Northeastern Nearctic Region.(2)
Key to Nearctic Vespinae genera in the Identification Atlas of the Vespidae of the Northeastern Nearctic Region.(2)

Queen (♀♀) Worker (♀) Male (♂)
introduced to North America (Canada: MB, ON, QC; United States: TN to VT to OR to CA)(2), (BugGuide data). Native to Eurasia, also introduced to Argentina, Australia, Chile, Iceland, New Zealand, and South Africa.(2)
Predators and scavengers of small and large insects or other animals, which are used as larval provisions.(2)(3)
Life Cycle
A single queen starts a nest in the spring. Colonies can reach thousands of individuals.
Females are polyandrous.
Native to Europe, Northern Africa, and temperate Asia. It was first recorded in New York in the 1890s(2), Montreal in the 1960s,(3), and Ontario and Manitoba in the 1970s.(2) Where it has been introduced, it often spreads more successfully than it has over its native range.
Print References
Kimsey, L.S. & Carpenter, J.M. (2012): The Vespinae of North America (Vespidae, Hymenoptera). Journal of Hymenoptera Research 28: 37–65; doi: 10.3897/JHR.28.3514.
Works Cited
1.Checklist of the species of the subfamily Vespinae (Insecta: Hymenoptera: Vespidae)
Carpenter, James M., and Jun-ichi Kojima. 1997. Nat. Hist. Bulletin of Ibaraki Univ. 1:51-92.
2.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].
3.The Vespinae of North America (Vespidae, Hymenoptera)
L.S. Kimsey and J.M. Carpenter. 2012. Journal of Hymenoptera Research Vol. 28: 37–65.