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Does a Yellow Jacket Bite or Sting?

Does a Yellow Jacket Bite or Sting?


A yellow jacket does not bite it stings.

Though the yellow jacket has a powerful jaw that it uses to kill its prey, when it comes to humans, they sting.  The yellow jacket has a smooth stinger that is located on the posterior end of its gaster (abdomen). It delivers venom through its stinger and like most wasps, can sting multiple times.

The Yellow Jacket Mouth

The yellow jacket has an extremely strong lower jaw that it uses to kill its prey such as insects and caterpillars. They also are equipped with a highly developed tongue for sucking liquids such as nectar. The female yellow jacket collects the food to feed the larvae. She will cut her prey into pieces at the kill site, and will then carry each piece back to the nest. She will then chew the pieces of the prey until she creates a paste. She then feeds them through a process called malaxation.

What Is Malaxation?

The method in which the female worker bee delivers the food to the larvae that are now in paste form is called malaxation. The female worker bee will tickle the larvae causing it to begin salivating. The female worker bee sucks in the saliva while passing the food paste to the larvae through this motion.


Merriam Webster Dictionary
“Defintion Malaxation”

Yoder, Heather
“ADW: Vespula maculifrons: Information”


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