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Photo#18416
unknown yellow jacket... - Vespula pensylvanica - female

unknown yellow jacket... - Vespula pensylvanica - Female
Ventura, Ventura County, California, USA
October 26, 2004
Size: about 1 1/4 inches
3 images... same yellow jacket on wild mustard plant, mid day... read forum about species guide and proposal regarding hornets as starting point... since i only take what comes my way figured i wouldn't be much help huting anything, but happened to have these on hand if they can be made use of... ted

Images of this individual: tag all
unknown yellow jacket... - Vespula pensylvanica - female unknown yellow jacket... - Vespula pensylvanica unknown yellow jacket... - Vespula pensylvanica unknown yellow jacket... - Vespula pensylvanica - female

Western Yellowjacket (Vespula pensylvanica) worker
Very good "captures" of such a nervous insect - even if it was busy by licking nectar from the yellow umbellae. I agree the plant is either a species of dill (Anethum) or fennel (Foeniculum). Both genera are a valuable source of nectar for Hornets, Yellowjackets and Paper-wasps in mediterranean Europe too, especially in late summer or early autumn.

Nice wasp
but plant looks more like an umbellifer (carrot, parsley, etc) with compound umbells than a mustard. Interesting

 
plant id
john and jane, o.k. you've got me there, the plant was id'd for me by someone else, i'm nearly as ignorant of plant id's as i am of insect id's, but i love to photograph both of them... plant is about 7 feet high, growing in clumps roughly 6 feet in diameter, about thirty meters from a river... growth pattern similar to asparagus that's gone to seed... it's VERY popular with these yellow jackets, but in two years of searching, i've yet to find their nest site... ted

 
California
California is certainly out of our expertise for plants. We're midwestern flatlanders. There are many genera in the Carrot family. Your description could fit Dill (Anethum). Crushing the leaves might tell you quickly! But we wish we could help with the animal. Eric will probably know it.

 
Astute observation by the John & Jane team!
This plant is indeed in the Carrot family (Apiaceae), and it is Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare). Though not native to California, it grows in many disturbed places, such as roadsides.