Uninvited Guests

High summer is the time for outdoor celebrations, games, and cookouts.  Where there are groups of people, there is often food and leftovers, and that brings yellow jackets.  We like a lot of the same things yellow jackets like, but we can’t be friends, because yellow jackets are a special kind of nasty. 

Yellow Jacket Habits

Yellow jackets, or wasps in genuses Vespula and Dolichovespula, are medium-sized wasps with thick, smooth, three-segmented bodies that sport bright yellow and black stripes, making them easy to identify.  They are omnivorous, eating almost anything a human will eat, other insects, carrion, decaying plant matter, and pet food. 

Yellow jackets are particularly active this time of year because they favor heat and dry conditions.  Cold weather will drive them underground or kill them, and it’s harder to get around in wet weather.  They prefer to nest in the ground or in covered areas like fallen trees, but they may settle for your basement or roof. 

Risks Posed by Yellow Jackets

Among flying stinging insects, yellow jackets are particularly nasty because they can sting more than once.  Not only do they sting, they bite, and will often latch on with their mouths so they can sting even more.  They are not content to simply chase away whatever is threatening their nest; they are determined to punish the intruder.  Yellow jackets have been observed navigating obstacles and even waiting outside enclosures and above water.  Their stings can cause anaphylactic reactions in those with allergies to flying insect stings. 

Preventing Problems with Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are an important part of the ecosystem, serving as both pollinators and decomposers, so we would rather prevent interaction with them rather than kill them.  Reduce your yellow jacket appeal by:

  • Don’t leave food garbage outside.  Keep compost and fruit trees away from the walls of your home.
  • Keep your lawn trimmed and watch out for hollows in the ground and fallen wood. 
  • Call your local pest professional!  We strongly advise against searching for yellow jacket nests if you’ve been seeing yellow jackets around your space, and absolutely do not attempt to remove the nest yourself.

Invite Us Instead?

If you’re seeing yellow jackets around your space, call Rochester Pest Pro to come take a look.  If there’s no nest, we’ll advise you on ways to deter them from visiting.  If there is a nest, we will remove it safely and humanely and treat the area to prevent them from coming back.