When an employee from Wayne’s Bees went to scout a bid on a honey bee removal job in Hobe Sound Florida, he found something terrifying but not unusual: a mega-nest of yellow jackets. Where the wasps had chosen to make their home was particularly unsettling. It was an Iron Throne of buzzing needles:
“Yellow jacket” is the North American term for two genera of wasps, Vespula and Dolichovespula, each of which contain a number of distinct species. Species in the genus Dolichovespula–such as the aerial yellow jacket–are the ones who can make gigantic nests in the open, while species in Vespula always build underground. Yellow jacket species are known for their aggressive demeanor and ability to repeatedly sting, but they are also prodigious builders.
Typical yellow jacket nests last only one season and don’t get much larger than a basketball. Occasionally, when the winter climate in an area is mild enough to prevent the yearly die-off (like Florida), massive wasp fortresses can form complete with multiple queens laying eggs inside. A rudimentary search on YouTube is all you need to do to experience thousands of wasps coming at you from a nest taller than yourself.
The Wasp Throne isn’t the first time wasps have appropriated our structures with creepy results. Earlier this year we saw what it looks like when wasps take over a carving of a face. But before you say “KILL IT WITH FIRE,” keep in mind that you can totally burn your house down that way.