Buzz off! BOOM! Exploding yellow jacket nests?
October 15, 2012 2:36 PM Subscribe
Why are yellow jacket nests in my area (Great Smoky Mountains, East Tennessee) apparently exploding? I have found four nests within ten miles of each other that are completely, well, exploded. What's doing this? Pictures inside.
posted by workerant to science & nature (10 answers total)
Last weekend and again today I found what appear to be the remains of yellow jacket nests. All four of these nests are adjacent to a well-maintained hiking trail. The nests are dead with no survivors to be seen. All that remains is a hole in the ground with earth mounded around it and fragments of papery comb spread in a 5- or 6-foot radius.
No tool (like a shovel) or paw/claw marks have been evident, though fall rains might have wiped them away. If this is an animal, it's a colossal badass and spoiling for a fight. I'd like to know what might have done this and why, since yellow jackets don't make honey. If it's a pest control product I'd like to know what it is because it beats the pants off the ol' gasoline-and-match method.
Shot of the nest
Pieces of comb scattered around the crater
Closeup of the papery comb
With no survivors I'm not 100% sure these were yellow jacket nests but if they're not I don't know what else they could be. The only other ground-nesting bee-type-thing I know around here are digger bees, and these exploded nests don't look like digger bee colonies