People become confused between flying insects and often ask, what is a Yellow Jacket? Yellow Jackets are a common type of wasp in the USA and also one of the least liked.
A good many people ask, Are Yellow Jackets Bees? Although their markings are very similar, they are an entirely different species, Bees have a thick body, whereas a Yellow Jacket has a thin waist appearance. A Bee will only sting once unlike a Yellow Jacket which can sting multiple times.
The final most common question which is asked is, are Yellow Jackets aggressive? Like any wasp, if their nest becomes threatened, these insects will become highly aggressive and agitated. At this point, they are also likely to be part of an infestation and number in their thousands.
Types of Yellow Jackets
There are primarily two types of Yellow Jackets in any one nest which you might find located around your home.
Inside the nest would be the Yellow Jacket Queen, and when the nest has not yet been built. This Queen will begin constructing the nest where she can lay her eggs.
After a while, the nest grows in size and the Queen Yellow Jacket will remain inside and be tended to by the workers.
It is their job to protect the queen as well as bring food back to the nest for the larvae. This can include meat and garbage scraps or picnic food, and it is for this, that they become such a pest.
There is also several varieties you can find, and one of the most common being the German Yellow Jacket who on occasions, will use their nest for a second season if not destroyed.
The most common variety being the Western Yellow Jacket and found in the northern climates. This one only remains active for the summer, where the queen will fly off to begin another colony.
A Yellow Jacket wasp Queen will choose the location for the nest. The most common places you might find nests are in walls, attics, enclosed cavities and crawlspaces if around the home. External sites will include old logs, holes in the ground or around trees.
One thing to note is Yellow Jackets might set-up more than one colony (nest) when there is an infestation. This can be crucial when there is any thought of extermination.
How to Get Rid of Yellow Jackets
When you are looking at tackling a Yellow Jacket infestation, there are ways you can go about this depending on the location of the nest.
Aside from this, there are also natural methods so you can make a homemade Yellow Jacket killer.
Note: Protective clothing should be worn when dealing with any nest.
How to Treat Ground Nests
If you suspect you have a Yellow Jacket nest these few steps show how to get rid of yellow jackets in the ground.
- Watch the Yellow Jackets during the day and see if you can spot the location where they vanish into the ground or structure.
- The best time for killing yellow jackets is at night when they are least active. Approach the area with a flashlight and spray a good quality aerosol insecticide directly into the entrance of the nest.
- You can also use insecticide dust which you apply around the entrance to the nest using a duster bottle (eases application). These work well and last more extended periods while making sure the yellow jackets are killed quickly. This should be repeated after a couple of months to control any new yellow jackets.
- If you have an area and you can’t see the exact entrance to the nest. You can purchase a liquid insecticide where you can cover the entire area you suspect the nest being. Once you have soaked the area, you need to monitor activity for up to two weeks and repeat as necessary.
How to Treat Nests in a Structural Void
When yellow jackets nest in your home structure such as in eaves or ceilings and are hidden. The best way how to kill yellow jackets is by drilling into the infested void and filling the area with the insecticide dust powder.
- Locate the nest, but if you can’t see it, you can use a listening device to pinpoint the area closest to the nest.
- Next, you need to carefully drill small holes into the nest from inside the structure. If you need to drill from outside, these holes should be left open until the start of the fall when there will be no more hatching. At this time the entrance can be sealed to prevent the nest from being reestablished.
- Using the duster bottle, liberally apply the insecticide powder.
- Seal the internal holes.
- This should be repeated after a few months to control any newly hatched yellow jackets.
Aerial or Exposed Nests
With these types of nests, there are two ways of yellow jacket nest removal. These nests might be hanging from eaves, trees or any other object. As with other methods, these ways of how to get rid of a yellow jacket nest should be performed at night.
For this, you should use a red or amber colored light to illuminate the wasp nest. This is because the guard wasps will be attracted by a flashlight.
Once you have approached the nest, you can either spray your insecticide powder or aerosol directly into the nest opening.
Be sure to have the correct tip fitted to the bottles. A safer way than using the nest entrance is by poking through the rear of the nest to get inside.
The second way is a little more intensive, but it is what kills yellow jackets quickly for this type of nest.
Take a large plastic bag and carefully cover the nest with it and cut any branches which are supporting the nest. Next, you spray your insecticide aerosol or your insecticide powder directly into the plastic bag and seal it.
Natural Yellow Jacket Traps
If you don’t want to tackle a nest or use chemicals of this nature, you can make homemade yellow jacket traps. These are simple and effective.
All you need is:
- Large plastic bottle
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1 cup of apple cider vinegar
- plain water
- 1 banana peel
- Sharp knife
Add half a cup of water to the container with the sugar and shake until dissolved. Add the apple cider vinegar and shake again.
Next, add the banana peel, this attracts yellow jackets when it begins rotting. Add water until the bottle is half full.
Nest cut a small hole toward the top of the bottle and place it close to the nest entrance.
These are also good how to keep yellow jackets away from your garden barbecue. Just make some and place them away from the area where you and your guest will be.
What to Do When Stung By a Yellow Jacket
There are lots of people who ask do yellow jackets have stingers. The answer is yes, and they can sting multiple times which is what makes them dangerous to anyone who might be allergic.
How to treat yellow jacket stings quickly is as follows:
- Use an ice pack on the sting. This helps reduce inflammation and swelling. Keep in place for 20 minutes.
- Take antihistamine this prevents the body producing histamine in reaction to the sting and also reduces swelling and itching.
- The sting is acidic so a paste of baking soda and water and then applied with a cotton swab might help to neutralize the venom.
- Cover the area with vinegar, this acts as an astringent and prevents itching
When asked, can yellow jackets kill you, the answer to that is, for a regular person, no? Saying this, if you were stung a few times, it can have side effects and be very sore.
Anyone who is allergic this can be a different matter, and if they are stung and show symptoms, 911 should be called immediately.
Or if you have an epi pen in your first aid kit. This should be administered as soon as possible while you call medical services.