Yellow Jacket Wasp
Yellow Jacket Wasp Facts
Yellow jacket wasps are predatory wasps that are found throughout the United States. There are about 16 species of yellow jacket wasps in the U.S. The eastern, western, southern and common yellow jacket wasps are native to North America and the German yellow jacket wasp was introduced from Europe. There is also the black jacket that is found across Canada and south into the Appalachia, Rockies and Pacific states.
Yellow Jacket Wasp Stings
If you are stung by a yellow jacket wasp, immediately ice the area for 10 minute intervals to reduce swelling. You can also take an antihistamine to address the swelling. Seek medical attention if you have been stung several times or in sensitive areas like near your eyes. If you have an allergic reaction to the sting, and feel lightheaded, confused, and are having a hard time breathing, get emergency medical help as soon as possible.
They are one of the scarier pests because yellow jacket wasp stings can be painful. Guard wasps will sting if anyone gets close the entrance to their nest or if the nest is disturbed in any way. Unlike honey bees, yellow jacket wasps can sting multiple times without dying. Try not to swat or squish a yellow jacket wasp as the wasp can release a chemical alarm that will signal other yellow jacket wasps to the location.
Yellow Jacket Wasp Infestation
You may first notice yellow jacket wasps flying around your picnic food, trash cans or even you! These wasps love sugary drinks like soda and juice. They will crawl right into your soda and beer cans, so be careful before you take a sip. These wasps are also attracted to clothing with bright floral patterns, flowery perfume and hairspray. It’s when you see large numbers of these wasps coming in and out of a particular area of your house, that you know you have a more serious problem. You might also see the round paper nest.
Types of Yellow Jacket Wasps
Yellow Jacket Wasp Identification
Yellow jacket wasp workers are about ½-inch long and the queens larger, about ¾-inch long. They have hard, shiny bodies with black and yellow patterns on their abdomens. These patterns help distinguish the difference between the various yellow jacket wasp species. Yellow jacket wasps have strong mouthparts made for catching and eating insects and a tongue for drinking nectar and juice.
Yellow Jacket Wasps In The Garden & The House
These wasps prefer to nest in abandoned rodent burrows or other protected cavities including wall voids and rotting tree trunks. A fertilized queen builds a round nest using wood fiber mixed with her own saliva. The nest is completely enclosed with layers of comb concealed inside. Nests can range in size, but are usually about the size of a softball. Adult yellow jacket wasps prefer sugar and carbohydrate-rich foods like fruit and nectar. The larvae require food high in protein like insects and meat. The adults will chew the food before feeding it to the larvae. The larvae then secrete a sugary material that the adults eat.
These wasps are social insects and live in colonies that last only a year. Their social hierarchy includes workers, queens and males which are known as drones. A fertilized queen overwinters in a protected crack or crevice and emerges in the spring. She then builds a small paper nest and has her first brood of offspring. When this group of offspring become adults, these worker wasps will continue to make the nest bigger, hunt for food, care for the queen and nurture future generations. By late summer and early fall, yellow jacket wasp nests reach 4,000 to 5,000 individuals. The final generation consists of new queens and drones who leave the nest and mate. The new fertilized queens will find safe places to overwinter while the old queen, drones and workers die with the colder weather.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between yellow jacket wasps and bees?
Yellow jackets and bees have several differences. They have more slender bodies and legs then bees. Yellow jackets also appear more smooth and shiny. Bees look almost fuzzy with broader bodies and thicker legs.
What is the difference between yellow jacket wasps and hornets?
Hornets are actually a subspecies of wasp that are known for having larger bodies and building nests above ground. Most yellow jackets are not hornets and have slightly smaller and slimmer bodies than their hornet relatives.
Are yellow jacket wasps aggressive?
Yellow jacket wasps can become very aggressive if their nest is disturbed or if they think their colony is being threatened. These wasps will sting over and over again. If you squish a yellow jacket, it may release a chemical pheromone that will alert other wasps from the nests to attack.
How do you get rid of yellow jacket wasps?
The key to successfully getting rid of yellow jacket wasps is to first find the nests. This includes a comprehensive inspection of your home and property to identify favorable conditions for wasps as well as entry points to the nesting sites. Catseye will first vacuum up the yellow jacket wasps as they enter and leave the nest. Then treat and remove the hive to limit renesting. Catseye will also do an exterior treatment of the home to help prevent future nesting.
What are the benefits of Professional Yellow Jacket Wasp Pest Control?
A pest management professional has the education, equipment and skills necessary to effectively address a yellow jacket wasp problem. Finding and treating the yellow jacket wasp nest can be challenging, especially if the main nest is hidden somewhere outside. A bee remove and control professional provides their expertise to identify the pest problem and determine the best possible solution to resolve the yellow jacket wasp infestation.