How to identify and locate
Yellow Jacket wasps range from 3/8 to 5/8 inch with distinctive black and bright yellow markings on their head, thorax and abdomen. They fly directly to and from nesting sites at a relatively consistent rate compared with honey bees, which cluster in large numbers just outside nest openings.

Yellow jackets construct new nests each spring from fertilized queens that have survived the winter. All other members of a colony die off as cold weather arrives. These wasps build nests from a paper-like product they create. Nests vary from a few hundred to many thousands of individual wasps, and are usually found in the ground, in bushes, in trees, or inside buildings in walls, attics, and chimneys.

Problem with Yellow Jackets
Yellow jacket wasps defend their nests aggressively, repeatedly stinging children, pets and adults. They are a feared nuisance at picnics, around pools and at other outdoor activities, especially during late summer. Reactions may be mild pain and swelling, though some people develop sensitivity to the venom delivered by their painful stings. Later stings can then create a serious, even fatal health threat to hypersensitive individuals.

How to limit the conditions that attract or support Yellow Jackets
Yellow jackets are persistent pests because they forage for food far away from their nests. When yellow jackets are simply foraging in your yard or picnic area, consider the following steps to make you less attractive to them:

  • Limit availability of sweet drinks and greasy foods. Soft drinks and fruit drinks are their favorites as are barbecued meats. These attractive food odors drift for long distances.
  • Clean up spilled food and beverages immediately.
  • Dispose of empty beverage containers & keep standing containers covered.
  • Cover standing food or put it away as soon as possible.
  • Use trash cans with tight fitted lids and keep trash area clean.
  • Wear light colored clothing, as yellow jackets are attracted to bright colors and are often aggressive to dark colors.
  • Avoid sweet perfumes, colognes and deodorants.
  • Commercial yellow jacket traps can be quite effective by capturing large numbers of foraging wasps when placed to intercept them between their nest and food source.
  • Seal holes in exterior surfaces especially in mortar seams, around windows and doors, chimneys, loose siding, along rooflines to help prevent nesting in your building.
  • Seek professional assistance and consider an ongoing, preventive program.

Buffalo Exterminating is tough on Yellow Jackets
The most effective solution is to locate and eliminate yellow jackets' nests. Insecticide aerosol sprays, dusts or foam formulations are injected into the nest to contact as many wasps as possible. Protective equipment, proper application equipment and expertise are required to properly treat nests - especially those located deep in structural voids. Over-the-counter treatments kill any wasps contacted, but caution must be taken to avoid being attacked by agitated wasps. Remember, yellow jackets react very aggressively when their nest is first treated. The chances of receiving multiple wasp stings are greatly increased at the time of treatment and some people can have serious, even fatal, reactions to wasp stings. Many aerosol wasp sprays damage vinyl siding.

Our preventive maintenance program prevents problems with yellow jackets by treating three times per year once every 8 weeks between April and October.

More information

  • Yellow jacket wasps can be beneficial because their primary food source is other insects. However, they are a painful - and potentially dangerous problem - when they aggressively and repeatedly sting adults and children.

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