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Animal Themes
Insects
Invertebrates
Yellowjackets



Yellowjackets
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 4 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   9.41

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    hexagonal, overwinter, paper-like, unannounced, offspring, worldwide, hence, therefore, newcomer, reproduction, occasionally, hideout, sterile, cases, mating, social


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Yellowjackets   

1     In the summertime, an outdoor barbecue is always a popular pastime. Yet, sometimes, just when we get the grill going and the delicious aroma starts to make our stomachs growl, an unpleasant and unexpected guest arrives uninvited. The newcomer, wearing yellow and black and measuring only about an inch long, disrupts our joyful mood. It makes us scream and run for cover! Why are we scared of such a tiny creature? Well, that is because it can sting again and again. Its venomous sting inflicts pain and may cause a severe allergic reaction. Do you know what this animal is? That's right. It's a yellowjacket.
 
2     Though often mistaken for bees, yellowjackets are wasps. While the two insects look alike, they bear enough differences for them to be categorized into separate families. For example, when threatened, yellowjackets can strike with their stingers many times, whereas bees can do so only once. Additionally, yellowjackets feed their young with insects and spiders, but bees prefer to nourish their offspring with pollen and honey.
 
3     Yellowjackets are social animals that live in colonies. In the spring, a mated female yellowjacket emerges from her hideout to start up her own colony. She chews up wood or other plant fibers to make a paper-like nest. Inside are many six-sided (hexagonal) cells. She then deposits an egg in each cell. After about a week, these eggs hatch into legless larvae called grubs. The queen is still the only adult yellowjacket in the colony. She is swamped with lots of responsibilities. Fortunately, help is on the way.

Paragraphs 4 to 6:
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Animal Themes
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Insects
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Invertebrates
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Animals
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