Yellow Jacket

Yellow Jacket

Yellow Jacket ControlYes, it is possible to get rid of yellow jackets naturally — without using toxic sprays!


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 reusable traps or disposable 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 insects.
  • 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.

Yellowjacket Stings

Most people will experience immediate pain when stung. 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:

  • Wash the wound carefully with soap and water. This will help remove the venom.
  • Apply cold water or ice in a wet cloth, or a paste of meat tenderizer with water.
  • Take a pain reliever or an oral antihistamine to reduce swelling.
  • Apply a calamine product to reduce itching.
  • Lie down.
  • Lower the stung arm or leg below the heart.
  • Do not drink alcohol or take sedatives.If the sting is to the throat or mouth, seek medical attention immediately. Swelling in these areas can cause suffocation.

Signs that you may be allergic:

  • Severe swelling in parts of the body distant from the sting site
  • Widespread skin irritation
  • Constriction in throat and chest/difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or faintingIf you experience any of the above symptoms after a sting, contact a physician immediately!

Provided by Sterling International, Inc.

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