Yellow-Jacket Nest as Big as a Car

If yellow jackets frighten you, this will scare the daylights out of you. In the summer of 2006, entomologists with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System saw something they could never have imagined: 16 super-sized yellow jacket nests. How big is super-sized? Try the size of a car!

It is generally accepted that the largest yellow jacket nest would be about the size of a basketball and even those are rare. "Everyone I've talked to about this has never seen anything like it," admitted Dr. Charles Ray, an Extension entomologist and research fellow with Auburn University's Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology.

The largest nest he's seen is one that filled the interior of a weathered 1955 Chevrolet (pictured in the photo above) that was parked under a shed in Elmore County, Ala. "And that's when they drove large vehicles," Ray said. Another nest Ray found in an abandoned barn in Barbour County, Ala., was approximately the size of a Volkswagen Beetle.

The size isn't the only scary part. The number of yellow jackets living in these giant nests is just as astounding. "A typical nest consists of two or three thousand workers and one queen," Ray explained to Extension Daily, a Weblog of news and opinion published by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. "With these large nests, we may have as many as 100,000 workers."

These nests aren't limited to just Alabama. One yellow jacket nest in South Carolina had about a quarter million workers and as many as 100 queens.

Ray warned that the super-sized nests mean a danger to humans, especially at the end of the summer season when the nests begin to decline and yellow jackets get more aggressive.

Click here to read the complete article from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and find out the only way you can deal with a super-sized nest should you find one on your property.

--From the Editors at Netscape

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