I spotted a yellowjacket in my backyard the other day. It is unusual to see them so late in the year, but this mild fall has kept them going. However, with the recent frost and cool temperature we have probably seen the last of them till next summer.
This is also the time of year when I am editing like a mad man in my office, going through image after image and preparing them for the catalog and my agents. I just opened a folder of images I had nearly forgotten about - yellowjackets.
I find yellowjackets just as annoying as anyone, but one of the cool things about this work is that I have a chance to discover new things about an endless list of fascinating creatures. I think yellowjackets are actually pretty cool looking insects, although it is hard to appreciate this when they are ruining a backyard BBQ. However, it might interest you to know that the common yellowjackets harrasing your picnic are probably german invaders. We have several species of yellowjackets that are native to the Northwest, and they can be aggressive also (none more so that the white-headed wasp).
The photos below were taken near Ochoco Pass. The yellowjackets I encountered there were strangely uninterested in my lunch, and in fact, were nectaring on flowers. They had large, stout bodies, and seemed considerably bigger than the yellowjackets I see in the valley. It gave me a chance to appreciate their bold coloring and sharp design.
By the way, this image was made with a custom high-speed camera and taken at 1/45,000 of a second. No photoshop manipulation was applied.
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