Friday, 5 July 2019

Yellow Jacket 'Super Nests' the Size of Cars Are Popping Up in Alabama

By Laura Geggel, Associate Editor | July 2, 2019 05:03pm ET

Yellow jackets in Alabama may be in the midst of a colossal craze; they're making humongous "super nests" that can house 15,000 worker wasps, according to an entomologist there.

That's three to four times the size of typical wasp nests, which are the size of a volleyball and house about 4,000 to 5,000 workers, said Charles Ray, an entomologist with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System (ACES).

Why is this happening? It's likely because Alabama had a mild winter and there's plenty of food for these hungry insects, which usually don't survive the cold winter months, Ray said. 

The last time super nests plagued Alabama, following the mild 2005-2006 winter, Ray saw 90 of them. This past winter was also mild in Alabama (although Ray still has to analyze temperature records to be sure), and ACES has already found two such nests in May and is investigating 19 more.

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