Rev. Nancy's Blog

Yellowjacket as an Ally

Yellowjacket said, “We are not bad. We do have purpose. Just leave us alone. We like the offering dishes. Our society is intricate. We work very hard.” Yellowjacket’s message was fragmented, as she buzzed around my fingers. She landed on my notebook, cleaned her antennae, inspected my pen. I sent her feelings of goodwill. Suddenly all the yellowjackets that had been buzzing around our snack, disappeared. Yellowjacket buzzed back to say goodbye.

Another flew by, and said “you people are so big! And you cannot fly.” I sensed the unspoken “poor land-bound two-leggeds . . . .”

We’re entering the season that invites picnics and outdoor eating. Early in summer we don’t see many Yellowjackets, or Vespula spp.—social wasps that nest underground. They’re busy searching for insects to provide protein to the developing larvae in their colony. In that way, they help control the insects and caterpillars that forage in gardens. Later in summer, as their colony grows, Yellowjackets turn to scavenging. Garbage cans and picnic tables provide an inviting spread of their two basic food groups: sweet and meat.

A couple of questions came to mind when the Yellowjacket quoted above was willing to explore my pen and notebook, and talk to me, even thanking me for putting out a special dish of food for them. Why did this flying insect take time to communicate with me? What is its medicine? Consider that every animal has significance in this world as well as something to teach us. Research provided startling answers, and showed me that this flying being had made itself known to me at a time when I particularly needed to be aware of it.

When Yellowjacket Buzzes By

When Yellowjacket—a wasp—buzzes by, she’s reminding us to follow her example. Make dreams a reality by actually working on them: plan, persevere, take action, and don’t let anything get in your way. Apply your efforts to what you really want to achieve.

She’s also reminding us that resistance to change is self-sabotage. Remember the hive mind of the Borg in Star Trek: “resistance is futile”! It’s time to allow yourself to believe that all things are possible, and that you deserve to have your dreams come true.

Symbolic Meanings

Although it isn’t the most popular animal or guide, Wasp is highly regarded in many cultures as a symbol of communication, order, and productivity.

Wasp is very social. She can bring a message for us to consider how we communicate. Do we need to express ourselves more clearly?

Wasp also is symbolic of order and productivity. It may be time to ask, is my effort aligned with my goals? Am I procrastinating or keeping myself from reaching my highest potential? Am I allowing others to hold me back? Wasp is a good ally for those of us who need help with focus, organization, and assertive communication.

As a Shamanic totem, Wasp is a powerful female warrior and healer energy who urges us to another level. She takes care of her own, and fights back when disturbed. She helps others learn the hard lessons of humility and the appropriate use of power—that stinger is not to be used indiscriminately.

Wasp’s dynamic black and yellow stripes remind us of the extremes of duality and how they can be bridged. She can show up to help us learn to bridge the big issues—life and death, a personal crisis or transformation. She can teach us to laugh at ourselves (witness the dance we often do when Wasp is present).

Yellowjacket/Wasp as an Ally

In his book Animal Spirit Guides, Stephen Farmer gives a good summary: “Call on Wasp when you’re going through a period of tangled emotions and mood swings and you want to stay as centered as possible; if you’re in a rut and want to break out of it; if you’ve been dreaming about something and now want to work toward its manifestation; when you feel the need for emotional and physical nourishment.”

Bottom line is to appreciate Yellowjacket wasps for their benefits and messages, and respect their warrior nature. All members of our natural community have a purpose and can teach us a lot. Yellowjacket can be a good ally. And, like any good ally, she can provide a painful reminder to help us focus!

Tips for Getting Along with Yellowjackets

Yellowjackets are not bees. Bees are thick in the middle, are fuzzy/hairy. Yellowjackets, in addition to their characteristic yellow and black stripes, are smooth, have a well-defined waist and thin legs. They nest in the ground, and will aggressively defend their nest from intruders.

Here are some general tips on avoiding insect stings (from

  • Don't swat at flying insects. If they land on you, gently brush them off, then walk away.
  • Observe their flight pattern to determine their nest site, and then avoid it.
  • Avoid floral perfumes, lotions and hair products, which may attract insects.
  • Yellow jackets are attracted to sugary sodas and may fly into the cans, so pour the drink into a glass so you can see if anything is in it.
  • Keep garbage cans and pet food covered.
  • [from Nancy] When you’re eating outdoors, put samples of each kind of food on a plate for the yellowjackets, place the plate a distance away from where you’re eating, and politely ask them to visit that plate instead of yours.

If You Get Stung

Leave the area quickly. Commercial sting remedies help ease the pain of a yellowjacket sting. Home remedies do, as well. Try placing any of these on the sting site:

  • a paste of baking soda and water
  • the cut side of an onion
  • a damp tea bag
  • toothpaste
  • Preparation H
  • Ice will help reduce swelling and ease pain, as will aspirin and ibuprofen. Antihistamines and cortisone cream may reduce swelling and itching.



Stephen Farmer, Animal Spirit Guides, Hay House, 2006.