Unlike bees, yellow jackets do not consume nectar; instead, they feed on caterpillars and beetle larvae. Yellow jackets also feed on fruits and other sweet foods.

Yellow jackets are more aggressive than bees and do not pollinate plants as other insects do. Yellow jackets contain less fuzz than honeybees do, and have a thin waist that sets them apart from bees in appearance.

Yellow jacket populations increase greatly during the spring and summer months as they die off when the weather begins turning cold. Some yellow jacket queens survive by hibernating in a warm location. They then build nests as the weather begins to warm up.