Yellow Jacket Gathering Wood Fiber

Earlier this year I posted about yellow jacket scrape marks on my deck. The activity has continued throughout the summer and I finally got around to trying to capture (digitally) one of the workers. I posted a photo on bugguide and got the Common Aerial Yellow Jacket (Dolichovespula arenaria) back as the id. I still don’t know if there are multiple species, as this is the only one that I’ve documented so far.


  • How many species are utilizing the deck for fiber?
  • Where is the nest?
  • What types of wood/fiber do yellow jackets use/need? (clearly they like yellow cedar, but it naturally seems to generate fibrous stuff on the outside, which might make it easier for them to collect/use)
  • Does availability of suitable natural fiber limit populations? (I would guess not, with all the dead wood around here.)
  • If nothing else degraded the wood on the deck, how long would it take for the yellow jackets to remove it all? How many nests would it make? (I think I’ll submit these to What if?)

About matt goff

I am an aspiring naturalist who seeks to learn all that I can about the more-than-human aspects of this place that is my home.
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2 Responses to Yellow Jacket Gathering Wood Fiber

  1. Anonymous says:

    And would it gather the wood if it was treated with oil or painted?

  2. matt goff says:

    Good question! I think maybe not painted (unless the paint had peeled), but I’m not sure about oiled wood. Perhaps someone with an oil treated cedar deck can check and see.

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