Yellow Jacket

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Vespula squamosa
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3/8" - 5/8"

These wasps are the last thing you want to mess with while on a hike. Incredibly territorial and drawn to the sweet scents of our BBQs, yellow jackets are a very common pest.

Threat Level
8
Nuisance Score
9

Characteristics

Yellow jackets are boldly colored wasps in our neighborhoods and forest trails; they are no strangers to most of us. They are rather large social insects, found in various parts of the world. 

With a body length ranging between 1/2-inch to 1-inch, their striking yellow and black stripes aren't easy to miss. But don't let their appealing appearance deceive you, as they're known for their aggressive nature and potential to sting repeatedly in order to defend their territory.

Biology

Yellow jackets have a knack for predation, feasting on a variety of insects such as caterpillars, spiders, and flies. But their dietary preferences don't end there - they're also scavengers, taking advantage of fruits, vegetables, and sweets, and our BBQ celebrations.

Living in colonies, yellow jackets maintain a societal structure that includes a queen, workers, and drones. While the queen lays the eggs, the workers play the role of caregivers, and the drones' sole responsibility is to mate with the queen. These colonies can be as small as a few dozen to a couple thousand wasps!

Yellow jackets make their nests in the ground, in trees, and alongside buildings. These wasps are territorial and are quick to defend themselves against perceived threats.

Habitat

Whether it's a sprawling forest, a lush meadow, or even our quaint backyard shed, yellow jackets can be found in diverse habitats. They're fond of areas rich with flowers, trees, and shrubs - places that offer ample food sources and solid nesting grounds.

Human Interaction

With their knack for repeated stinging, yellow jackets can swiftly switch from being mere nuisances to potential health hazards. Their stings are not only painful but can also trigger allergic reactions in certain individuals. 

To prevent unwelcome encounters, consider wearing long sleeves and pants in areas they frequent, use insect repellents, and steer clear of their nests.

FAQ

How can I get rid of yellow jackets?
How do yellow jackets get into my home?
How do I identify a yellow jacket?

Pest Control

Addressing a yellow jacket issue often requires professional intervention. Pest control companies are equipped with a range of tools and techniques for this purpose.

Insecticide sprays work efficiently by killing yellow jackets upon contact. Yellow jacket traps, on the other hand, lure these insects in and deal with them effectively. In extreme cases, fumigation may be needed - a process that uses gas to exterminate yellow jackets in an enclosed space.

Remember, every infestation is unique, and the best treatment method will depend on the severity of the infestation and the type of yellow jackets present. A professional pest control company can conduct an assessment and suggest the most suitable solution.

Other DIY methodologies include drowning the wasps out with soapy water and placing a vacuum outside the main entry point to the nest.

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