Yellowjackets are frequently mistaken for honeybees. They are the same size, with stout yellow bodies marked in black. However, these insects aren’t bees; they’re wasps. The difference? While both are beneficial pollinators, bees can only use their stinger once. In contrast, aggressive yellowjackets can sting repeatedly, then fly home to the nest and live out their life cycle. When you notice the signs of a yellowjacket infestation on your property, you should make calling an experienced pest control professional your top priority.
If you see an unusual number of yellowjackets but do not see signs of a nest in your eaves or trees, you may still have an infestation on your hands. Yellowjackets nest in a variety of spaces, including trees, shrubs, or eaves, as well as in your walls or attic, hollow tree stumps and logs, recycling bins or garbage cans, or even underground.
Yellowjacket queens emerge in the spring after hibernating in your logs, tree bark, or hollow stumps. They spend the spring building a paper mâché-like nest to lay their eggs. The worker wasps hatch, caring for other larvae and the queen by feeding them sugary fruits and chewed protein foraged from garbage and the carcasses of other pests.
Yellowjackets are also synchronized through their pheromones to defend their colony, swarming and stinging invaders. The queen remains in the nest laying eggs until her death in the autumn, producing up to 10,000 worker yellowjacket wasps and 15,000 nesting cells within a few short months.
If you see a cluster of yellowjackets, observe their actions. Wasps will travel up to a mile for food, so if you notice them at your backyard barbecue, note if they appear regularly or randomly. In some cases, you may clearly notice a nest in the trees, eaves, or elsewhere on your property. If you see yellowjackets flying in and out of a hole under your home, in your yard, or around a hollow tree stump, these are also clues you may be dealing with an infestation.
You may find yellowjackets flying around inside your home. If you shoo them out and they continue to come back, they may be nesting in your walls, basement, or attic, enticed to come out for the promise of food they detect in your kitchen. However, these actions can be dangerous because shooing yellowjackets can trigger the entire colony into defense mode. Yellowjackets are among the most aggressive wasps and will swarm and attack when they feel threatened. If you notice these signs, before trying to get rid of a nest or infestation by yourself, consult a yellowjacket control expert for guidance.
At Ready Pest Control, our skilled exterminators know many different methods to remove a yellowjacket nest. Some cases may only require spraying dish soap and water. Other times, our team uses powdered insecticide to destroy nests in trees. Underground nests can be sealed and filled with pyrethrum gas. To make sure you permanently solve your pest problem without getting hurt in the process, you should call a professional pest control company to manage the signs of a yellowjacket infestation.