Yellow jacket wasp stinger, SEM

Yellow jacket wasp stinger, SEM

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Credit: DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Western yellowjacket wasp stinger (Vespula pensylvanica). Yellow jacket wasps are members of the order Hymenoptera (meaning membranous wings) and belong to the family Vespidae. Like other wasps, yellow jackets chew bits of wood and leaves to make a paste, which they form into a paper-like nest. If a nest of yellow jackets is disturbed, workers will aggressively defend it by stinging. A hollow stinger is located at the rear of the yellow jacket's body. When it penetrates the skin, venom is injected through the stinger. It takes about 1,500 stings to kill an adult man. For people who are allergic, a single sting may result in a serious allergic reaction, or in some cases, death. Approximately 1 percent of the population may be allergic to yellow jacket venom. Yellow jackets can sting more than once. Magnification: x20 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.

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