What to do about yellowjackets.

July 29, 2019

You’re at the county fair and just about to sit down and enjoy some great fair food when you are surrounded by a small group of bees. You jump up and start swatting the bees and it isn’t long before you feel that bee sting.

Ouch. But that was not a bee. That was a yellowjacket.

What are yellowjackets?

Yellowjackets are usually less than 1/4 of an inch long and have bright yellow and dark black stripes. Often confused with mud daubers, honeybees, and paper wasps, yellowjackets are in a class of their own.

Unlike bees with a hive, yellowjackets build paper-like nests often in underground holes or within inside walls. Thousands of yellowjackets can make up a colony. Aerial yellowjackets build hanging nests and usually do not bother people unless you approach the nest, attempt to remove the nest or spray them.

This image features a close-up view of an unoccupied hive or nest of aerial yellowjacket wasps hanging from a tree branch in a wooded ravine.

Yellowjackets are much more aggressive than other stinging insects such as wasps, hornets, or bees. Yellowjackets can both sting and bite and they do not lose their stinger. This gives them the advantage to sting numerous times. Yellowjackets will sting even when unprovoked.

They are carnivorous and are not serious pollinators. They have been known to poach honeybees’ hives for that sugary goodness when their food supply dwindles.

Why are yellowjackets so dangerous?

Yellowjackets are extremely aggressive when their nest is perceived to be threatened.

They will sting and bite unprovoked. They do not lose their stingers allowing them to sting numerous times. Swatting yellowjackets increases the chance for a sting so remain calm and limit any sudden movements.

The bites are painful and venomous. Symptoms of a reaction include:

  • coughing or wheezing
  • problems breathing or swallowing, or having tightness in your throat
  • changes to your skin, such as breaking out into hives
  • feeling lightheaded or dizzy, or passing out
  • vomiting or diarrhea

In the event you are stung by a yellowjacket and have an allergic reaction or are unsure if you are having a reaction, please seek immediate medical attention.

DO NOT ATTEMPT to remove a nest or spray the yellowjackets. The aggression will increase, and you may be seriously hurt.

Do yellowjackets provide any benefits?

Yes, they are beneficial insects. According to Mother Earth News,

Yellow jackets wasps feed their young liquefied insects, with caterpillars, flies and spiders comprising the largest food groups in the yellow jacket diet during most of the summer. In late summer, yellow jackets start looking for flower nectar and other sources of sugar, which are necessary nutrients for the next season’s queens. Meanwhile, fewer young are being raised in the nests, which leaves many individuals with little to do. At this point yellow jackets become an obnoxious presence outdoors, whether they are trying to steal your sandwich or swarming over apple cores in your compost.

How do I get rid of yellowjackets?

Once the temperature starts to change, the dip in temperature will cause the colony to die off. That being said, if the nest was built in a wall or protected area, it may survive, and professional pest control services should be contacted for assistance.

Avoid attracting yellowjackets by keeping food covered, close all garbage cans and waste areas. They are looking for food sources and can include pet food bowls left outside. They absolutely love sugary drinks and will go into soda cans so be careful when leaving cans outside unmonitored.

Professional pest services are the safest way to remove yellowjackets.

Simple: self-treatment is not recommended. Accurate Pest Control provides:

  • Inspection- Our trained technicians will inspect the property for nests and determine the best cause of action for treatment.
  • Treatment and removal- whether underground, aerial or inside walls or hidden spaces, we will carefully treat and remove the nests and colony.
  • Ongoing Monitoring- Let’s discuss our treatment plans and find the one best suited for your needs. Yellowjacket treatment can be combined with other pest control services such as carpenter ants, ticks, termites, etc.

Be safe and keep your family safe.

Contact us today for a home or business inspection.

Resources: https://www.gardeners.com/how-to/yellow-jackets/7700.html



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