Yellow jackets are social pests that are aggressive by nature and capable of inflicting a painful sting. They are persistent and relentless, harassing picnickers, and patrons at social gatherings. They can also cause serious allergic reactions in people who are susceptible. Sometimes referred to as hornets, yellow jackets can be identified by the black and yellow striped bands on their narrow abdomens and range in size from 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch in length. Yellow jackets are extremely social and live in nests that house up to 4,000 worker wasps. They are very active in the summer months and enjoy a feast of protein and sweets and will often drop in uninvited on outdoor events.
Where Do Yellow Jackets Nest?
Yellow jackets can be found pretty much anywhere that humans reside, building large paper like nests that are made from chewed up wood pulp. Some species of yellow jacket live underground often using burrows that have been made by other animals. Other species build their nests in trees, or from the eaves of buildings. Yellow jackets will defend the queen to the death, and if you are unfortunate enough to stumble across a nest you will very likely be stung. Yellow jackets that live in the ground are agitated by noise and will attack with vigor when disturbed; even the vibrations caused by footsteps can cause them to attack.
What Do Yellow Jackets Eat?
Yellow jackets like sweet foods and enjoy feeding off of carbohydrates including insects, fruit, nectar, and tree sap. Many of the food sources that yellow jackets enjoy are nuisance pests, and for this reason entomologists believe them to be beneficial to the environment. In the late summer months, the workers will forage through meat, garbage, fruit, and open soda bottles and cans, and harass picnic goers as they search for food to sustain the next generation of queens.
How to Keep Yellow Jackets from Building Nests on Your Property
Cover Food & Drinks Outdoors – The best way to keep yellow jackets from invading your property is to eliminate the food source. If you decide to enjoy a meal outside be sure to keep all food and drink covered as much as you can, and feed pets inside.
Close Trash Cans & Remove Standing Water – It is also beneficial to keep a tight lid on all trash cans, and eliminate any sources of standing water.
Avoid Wearing Perfume & Bright Colored Clothing – Avoid wearing perfume, or other scented hygiene products including shampoo and body lotion. Wear neutral colors instead of brightly colored clothing and avoid florals and other patterns.
How to Avoid Yellow Jacket Wasp Stings
Avoid doing anything that will agitate yellow jackets. Keep away from nests and never swat at yellow jackets, doing so will not only provoke them to sting, they will also express a pheromone that can anger the other wasps causing them to swarm. Yellow jackets are aggressive in nature and their stings can pose a serious health threat to you and your family members. Unlike bees that can only sting once, yellow jackets can sting repeatedly and according to healthcare professionals, stinging insects including yellow jackets send 500,000 individuals to emergency rooms annually. Never attempt to remove yellow jackets from your property, instead contact your Pre-Empt Pest Control expert for professional removal services.