You may have found that you have a yellow jacket problem around your home. This is a scary thing for a number of reasons. Now you just need to know how to get rid of yellow jackets the easiest way possible. First and foremost you need to assess the problem. Once you are aware of what you’re dealing with, taking the steps for removal can begin.
Identifying yellow jacket wasps
The yellow jacket wasps are one of the most troublesome insects for people.They are approximately a half-inch long, with bodies that are striped yellow and black. Yellow jackets are not hairy like honey bees, and their wings tend to be a darker color. The two are often mistaken for one another, but the yellow jackets are much more of a bother than the honey bees. Their aggression is one of the biggest things that set the two apart. Female yellow jackets can sting more than once, and are often persistent when aggravated.
Yellow jacket species
There are several variations of yellow jackets found throughout the United States.
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- Western yellow jacket. This the most prominent species and it is found throughout the United States.
- German Wasp. Originally this species was found in Europe only, but they have since moved to North America.
- Common Wasp. This species also originated in Europe and has migrated over to the United States.
- Southern yellow jacket. Typically these are found in the southern states, but they have been located in other parts of the country on rare occasion.
- Bald-faced hornets. While the name might throw you off, they belong in the yellow jacket family. They aren’t black and yellow, which is why they aren’t named “yellow jackets.”
- Tree Wasp. This species tends to build nests in trees and old tree stumps that may be found on your property.
Where you may find yellow jackets
There are varying places where yellow jackets build nests. Many of the nests consist of things like rotted wood fibers, silk from caterpillar cocoons, and dead stem fibers. Sometimes you may find paper or string mixed in with the other items. Typically the nest will be found underground, but they are also found in places like sheds, holes in siding on homes, and other easily accessible places for the wasps to move in and out of without much hassle. Trees are also used to hold their nests. Old stumps will attract the yellow jackets because they provide unlimited access to the rotted wood fibers needed to build their homes. Abandoned rodent holes are also prime real estate for the yellow jackets. The area provides a secure place to begin building that is unlikely to be disturbed.
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A single queen yellow jacket will find a place to nest and begin reproducing with the male yellow jackets. Once she lays her first round of eggs, she can begin to relax and concentrate solely on reproduction. The yellow jackets work with a caste system, with various levels of importance throughout the nest. At the end of the summer, the nest could house anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 yellow jackets. As the number of yellow jackets grow, so does the nest. By the end of summer, several new males and queens will be born. After leaving the nest, they will lie dormant until the following spring when the cycle will begin all over again. Typically yellow jackets begin nesting and breeding in May and stick around until September.
How to get rid of yellow jackets in the ground
You first need to locate the nest. During the day you will be able to scout where the yellow jackets are coming from, most often a single hole in the ground. As the nest grows bigger, more entrance and exit holes will be present. Make sure you mark them with something like spray paint or flags. Once you have the holes marked, the extermination process can begin. Make sure you are treating the nest only at night as it will greatly reduce your chance of being stung. Yellow jackets experience a type of night blindness, which gives you the upper hand.
- Begin the process of extermination with Pyrethrum. It will form a gas in the nest and kill the yellow jackets on contact. You will be able to find this at your local hardware store.
- Once the Pyrethrum is dry (about 10-15 minutes), you can treat the area with a typical insecticide. This will also be found at your local hardware store. This is done so that the eggs inside the nest will die before having a chance to hatch.
- Return to the area the next day to watch for activity. If nothing is seen, you probably have squashed the problem. If yellow jackets are still flying around, you will need to redo the entire process. This may happen a few times if the nest is on the bigger side, or if the workers were away when the first extermination was performed.
How to get rid of yellow jackets using other methods of extermination
- Bait stations are sometimes used to treat areas with a yellow jacket problems. This is a mixture of meat and Onslaught. The yellow jackets are lured to the station to consume the mixture. They will be killed, leaving the nest with less population to thrive.
- Traps. You can easily set traps which will attract the yellow jackets. Purchasing the traps at the hardware store is what most people do, however you could build something on your own. This should be done away from where people and animals will be. If you are in the spring to early summer season, meat will work well to lure the yellow jackets. Protein is something they desire when trying to get their nest built. When you are in the mid to late summer, fruit nectar or juice will work as the enticing ingredient. This method is often used by people having a party or cookout in order to keep the yellow jackets from attacking their guests who have food or drinks.
Hazards of yellow jackets
After identifying a yellow jacket problem, you need to consider the risk of dealing with them. Many people have been stung while trying to exterminate the nests.Several stings could occur within minutes, and if the person is allergic, there is added risk. In a rare occurrence, there could be a severe reaction to the stings which can cause renal failure. If you have a known allergy, it is best to have a family member or an exterminator come out and deal with the nest. Scavenger yellow jackets usually don’t sting, but if they are bothered when trying to get to a food source, it is possible. This happens when they smell soda or something else sweet that you may be drinking or eating.
Benefits of Yellow Jackets
Yellow jackets aren’t always a problem, sometimes there are benefits to having them around. If you have a garden or are a farmer, yellow jackets will kill and eat several of the pests that could harm your crops. As long as their nest isn’t around your home or near people, they should be left alone.
Learning how to get rid of yellow jackets is necessary once you find a nest. If your home has a nest, the chances of another incident with them the following year increases. Once the females and males leave to find a place to lie dormant, they don’t travel far.