Getting rid of yellow jackets without using toxic sprays.
Description: One of the most dangerous insects known to man! Yellow jackets (Vespula spp.) are considered beneficial around home gardens at certain times of the year because they prey on insect pests such as caterpillars, spiders, flies and even mollusks. Unfortunately, by late summer when their populations peak, they often become pests around picnic tables, trash cans and hummingbird feeders.
Yellow jackets are more aggressive than other stinging insects such as wasps, hornets or bees and will vigorously defend their nests. Swarm attacks can occur when someone accidentally steps in or hits a nest opening. Attacks from underground nests can also be triggered by ground vibrations – thus, mowing lawns can be hazardous during the late summer.
Note: Yellow jackets do not lose their stinger, and can sting numerous times.
Life Cycle: The queen is the only member of a yellow jacket colony that will survive the winter. In the spring she digs a cavity in the soil or enlarges an existing hole, constructs a nest, and lays a dozen or so eggs. After a few days young larvae hatch from the eggs. The queen feeds them until they mature to workers and can forage for themselves. After this, she restricts her activity to egg production while the workers feed her and care for the larvae and pupae. Over the summer the nest is enlarged until there are several layers of comb enclosed in a paper envelope. In late summer, newly developed males and queens leave the nest and mate. After mating the males die and the females seek out suitable sites in which to overwinter.
Yellow Jacket Control: The best way to get rid of yellow jackets is to apply Wasp & Hornet Killer directly into the nest opening. This should be done near dusk, when wasps are more likely to be inside. If you can’t find the nest, use traps around backyards and barbecue areas well in advance of outdoor activities. Traps may also be placed near trash cans to significantly reduce the number of pestiferous yellow jackets.
Tip: Cover trash containers and keep them away from eating areas to reduce the number of foraging pests.
Note: Most yellowjacket workers forage for food within 1,000 feet of their nest – a distance of 3 football fields.
Most people will experience immediate pain at the site of a yellowjacket sting. There will be localized reddening, swelling and itching. Unlike bees, yellow jackets will not leave a barbed stinger in the skin.
If you are stung by a yellow jacket:
Signs that you may be allergic:
Provided by Sterling International, Inc.