Hawaii Biological Survey’s


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41. Western Yellowjacket

Scientific name: Vespula pensylvanica

Hawaiian Name: —

Classification: Phylum: Arthropoda. Class: Insecta. Order: Hymenoptera. Family: Vespidae

Origin: Introduced.

Status: Locally common.

Distribution: All main islands.


This predatory wasp came to us from western North America around 1978 (probably with Christmas tree shipments) and is a horrible pest in our native forests. It makes an underground nest and workers forage for small insects and other prey items to feed the growing colony. In doing so, they threaten the survival of many of our natve forest insects.


   Photo courtesy David Foote, USGS-BRD