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Ask The Entomologist question about bees

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Question:
I got jumped by bees(wasps) while mowing and am trying to find out what they are so i can get rid of them. I found where they came from, about a 2-3 inch hole in the ground. They came out again with the slightest vibration, very aggressive. They appeared bright yellow in color, with yellow legs. Here is what i dont understand. When I got hit i had venom sacs and stingers left in my ears and head. Two different critters in this small hole? I live in Northwest Oklahoma. Thanks for any help

Answer:
By your description, it sounds like you have stumbled upon a yellow jacket nest.   A typical yellowjacket worker is about 12 mm (0.5 in) long, with alternating bands on the abdomen while the queen is larger, about 19 mm (0.75 in) long (the different patterns on the abdomen help separate various species). Workers are sometimes confused with honey bees, especially when flying in and out of their nests. Yellowjackets, in contrast to honey bees, are not covered with tan-brown dense hair on their bodies and lack the flattened hairy hind legs used to carry pollen. Worker honey bees have a heavily barbed stinger that stays in the victim when they sting.  When the bee pulls away, the sting is left along with a venom sac that continues to pump venom.  This, of course means that the bee dies after it stings.  Yellowjackets have a lance-like stinger with small barbs and typically sting repeatedly, although occasionally the stinger becomes lodged and pulls free of the wasp’s body. The venom, like most bee/wasp venoms, is primarily only dangerous to those who are allergic, unless a victim receives a large number of stings. Nests are built in trees, shrubs, or in protected places such as inside human-made structures, or in soil cavities, mouse burrows, etc.

The best way to get rid of them is to treat the colony at night when all the individuals are in the nest.  Use wasp/hornet spray or insecticidal dust to spray directly into the entrance hole.