Sunday, 12 October 2008 09:29
Once again, Russell Lamp in on the trail of the Paravespula germanica and the Paravespula maculifrons.
Mr. Lamp, an area entomologist, is again on the hunt for active yellowjacket colonies to find a source of venom for pharmaceutical firms which manufacture vaccines.
The Eastern yellowjacket (maculifrons) is one of the smaller yellowjackets - and one of the nastier types, he said last week.
Lamp’s been supplying pharmaceutical firms with yellowjackets for more than 25 years and says an active colony will have 75-100 flying in and out of the nest within a minute or so.
His firm last year was one of the largest suppliers of the venom.
Yellowjackets, which are part of the wasp family, form large populations from August through October and often scavenge for human food such as carbonated beverages, ripe fruit and vegetables, and other fare, according to a fact sheet from Ohio State University.
The Eastern yellowjacket often builds a tan, fragile papery soccer ball or football shaped nest underground though it’s not uncommon for them to construct nests in buildings.
The German yellowjacket first appeared in Ohio around 1975 and has become the dominant species in the state. It builds a grey, brittle paper-like nest that is also shaped like a football or soccer ball.
Both species have peak worker populations of 1,000 to 3,000 between May and November.
Both are also aggressive and can sting repeatedly. The venom Lamp seeks is used to manufacture a de-sensitizing agent for people who are highly allergic.
He asks anyone with a possible nest to not disturb it and not spray. Government regulations prevent the use of venom from sprayed nests.
Lamp supplies the insects to laboratories in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Washington.
He can be reached at (419) 836-3710.