Yellow jackets are fierce insects that will not hesitate to attack those humans that they perceive as potential threats. In some cases, merely walking past a yellow jacket nest is enough to prompt the insects into attacking a human or animal. Simply spotting one single yellow jacket is enough to cause some people to sprint away from the insects as quickly as possible in order to avoid the pain caused by their stings. Although yellow jackets closely resemble bees due to their black and yellow coloring, yellow jackets are actually wasps, which explains their aggression as well as their ability to inflict repeated stings without losing their stinger in the process. It is well known that yellow jackets are carnivorous, but what is not as well known is their occasional preference for non-insect meat sources, like steak and hamburgers.
Not long ago a Reddit user posted a story detailing her experience witnessing a “bee” taking a bite out of a steak that she had been preparing to grill. Understandably, this experience baffled the woman, as she had never seen a bee eating a steak before in her life. Shortly after posting the story, another Reddit user claimed that the “bee” was more likely a yellow jacket. As it turns out, this response was probably correct, as yellow jackets have been known to consume animal meat in some circumstances. Yellow jackets of the vulgaris variety locate meat in order to feed it to their offspring, but in most cases, these insects obtain their protein from dead insects. Adult yellow jackets rarely consume animal meat, unless they do so accidentally. For the most part, adult yellow jackets consume the sugar within plants, and meat is fed exclusively to larvae in order to help them grow. That being said, some bee species do, in fact, consume meat from animals. For example, meliponines bees that are native to Mexico obtain meat before liquifying it in order to feed it to their offspring. These bees have been known to aggressively defend large pieces of meat, but luckily, they are harmless to humans, as they do not possess stingers.
Have you ever witnessed a wasp or bee feeding on meat?