Pest Guide for Yellow Jackets
Though sometimes called bees, yellow jackets are actually wasps and are usually characterized by their black and yellow stripes and thinner bodies. While not very big (usually about 12 mm in length), these insects can pack a punch when they sting and can be aggressive when threatened.
Yellow jackets live in colonies, making infestations an easy opportunity. Their nesting area of choice is often an underground rodent burrow, but they can also be found under porches, in sidewalk cracks, beneath railings, and more. Colonies can contain up to several thousand yellow jackets, which can pose quite a threat – especially to those who are allergic to their stings.
Keeping Yellow Jackets Away
Yellow jackets feed on other insects, however, they also like the taste of meats and sweets, which is why you may find them around your garbage cans or at a picnic. To deter an infestation, make sure you keep your trash cans clean and your lids closed.
Also, don’t leave any fallen fruit around your yard, as it’ll provide a good food source for them. As an extra precaution, you can also use a wasp spray around areas that could be used for nesting. Spray the areas thoroughly and on a regular basis to deter the insects.
Yellow jacket stings are different from the stings of bees because their stingers are slightly different. Instead of having a long, smooth stinger that detaches from the abdomen, a yellow jacket has a shorter stinger that stays put. This means the yellow jacket can sting you multiple times, causing even more pain. If you get stung by a yellow jacket, apply ice and take an antihistamine to reduce the redness and swelling.
Because yellow jackets can be beneficial, you should only worry about an infestation if it’s near an area frequented by people or by pets. At Ledford’s, we don’t recommend trying to eliminate the infestation yourself – especially because of the number of yellow jackets that can be in one nest. Instead, give our professionals a call. We’ll assess the infestation and then take the proper steps to make sure it’s completely eliminated.