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Yellow Jackets are a group of social wasps that get their name from the typical black and yellow pattern that they adorn across their abdomen. These bee-sized insects are from the Dolichovespula, or Vespula genus, and are particularly abundant in the northern side of the United States. Yellow jackets are usually mistaken with honeybees since they are of the same size and color.
Being social wasps, yellow jackets follow a caste system, where labor is divided between males, sterile female workers, and reproductive queens. Their nests feature several comb layers constructed using wood fiber chewed up into a paper-like pulp. The nests host large colonies, containing thousands of wasps.
Yellow jackets boast a stinger at the end of the abdomen that they can repeatedly use to inflict painful stings when cornered or when you go near their nests. Since the Yellow Jackets look like honeybees, the first step of controlling them is identifying them correctly.
Identifying Yellow Jackets
Foraging yellow jackets are similar to honeybees in color. However, the yellow jackets are smaller in size, and their bodies are not covered with setae, or hairs like the honeybees. They have a stinger that doesn’t fall off and thus can sting multiple times, unlike the honeybees which can only sting once. Here are other features to help you identify Yellow Jackets:
Color: Most yellow jacket wasps have black and yellow color patterns. However, some may have black and white coloration.
Size: They are about 1/3rd of an inch to a little over ½ of an inch in length.
Bodily Features: Yellow Jackets have thinner and defined waists than other insects such as bees. They also have elongated wings that fold laterally when these creatures are resting.
Habitat: These wasps like to attach their nests to hidden places such as in hollow logs, in between walls, attics, porches, trees, bushes, and eaves of homes.
Diet: Yellow Jackets eat nectar and pollen and feed on insects like flies and beetle grubs. However, these creatures will also scavenge alternative food sources, creating conflict with humans.
Are Yellow Jackets Dangerous?
Yellow jackets are slow to attack, but they are territorial and can become very aggressive if you try to invade their nests. They stay in large colonies and use their numbers to swarm and attack. Their attacks are potentially more dangerous than a beehive’s would be since their stingers can be used multiple times. Luckily, their stings are painful but usually won’t cause any substantial damage, unless you are allergic to yellow jacket venom. Because they can create extremely large populations, yellow jackets can be highly invasive.
How to Prevent and Control Yellow Jackets
There are a lot of things that you can do at home to prevent yellow jackets from infesting your property. They include:
- Keeping woodpiles away from your home.
- Pruning trees and shrubs next to the house, and keeping the rest of the yard well maintained, including any gardens or flower beds.
- Sealing crevices and opening on the wall, particularly around security cameras and lights.
When you find that the yellow jackets have already established nests on your property, it can become dangerous to deal with them on your own. The best course of action is to hire a professional pest control company to remove any nests and have them come back regularly to manage any additional nests that they may make. Give Domain Pest Control a call today for a free quote on our recurring pest control plans!