How to Get Rid of Yellowjackets

How to Get Rid of Yellowjackets

Known as the most dangerous stinging insect in North America, it doesn’t take much convincing that if you have yellowjackets around, it is a good idea to get rid of them. Yet how to get rid of yellowjackets remains a mystery for most people, perhaps because it is hard to find out that the problem is yours.

In a sense, yellowjackets are practically everybody’s problem, because they send about a quarter of a million people to the emergency room every year. One way or another, ER costs end up in the price of healthcare for all of us, and so cutting down on those emergencies is one reason for coming to grips with how to get rid of yellowjackets, even if this reason might not seem up close and personal.

Another powerful reason for mastering how to get rid of yellowjackets is that as many as 100 deaths every year are attributed to their stings. For most people, a yellowjacket sting is exceptionally painful, and shocking in its suddenness. And yet for folks who are unfortunate enough to have a form of allergy to their venom, a yellowjacket sting can be deadly. The trick is, it’s almost impossible to know if you’re allergic until you are stung.

How to Recognize a Yellowjacket

A distinctive, contrasting, yellow-and-black jacket gives the yellowjacket its name, and in North America at least, these colors distinguish the yellowjacket from the far less aggressive wasp. (In Britain and Europe, the wasps’ coloring is more similar.) Yellowjackets are hairless and have long-ish wings, antennae, and six legs. Adults grow to between 3/8-inch and 5/8-inch in length.

Worker yellowjackets and males accomplish this growth cycle in a single season and die off over the course of the winter. Queens emerge to lay eggs after the winter, and colonies multiply rapidly through the spring and summer months, so one key to how to get rid of yellowjackets is to catch them as early in the season as possible.

Not only are yellowjackets aggressive predators, feeding on other insects, but their stinger does not detach, meaning they can sting many times. When attacked, or even when killed, yellowjackets release a pheromone that alerts other yellowjackets to come and join the fight. Tough crowd. In addition to their predator diet of insects, caterpillars, and grubs, yellowjackets are attracted to all types of sweets and proteins, and so they invite themselves to picnics. Open trash is an open invitation to yellowjackets, too.

How to Know if They are Around

The most common nesting place for yellowjackets is outdoors, and yet more and more we see certain species making their homes in the voids of walls or ceilings or attics in homes; or under a deck or porch. Yes, yellowjackets might even find your home as attractive a living place as you do. If that’s not a good enough reason to find out how to get rid of yellowjackets, we just can’t think of a better one.

A humming or buzzing sound might be your first signal that yellowjackets have taken up residence. If you become aware of this, then the first thing to know about how to get rid of yellowjackets is that evicting them is not something you should try yourself. Yellowjackets are social insects, cooperating with each other like a single, large organism, or a precision machine, but not getting along at all with us humans.

If there is an indoor yellowjacket nest, you won’t see it out in the open. Nests tend to be found around pipes or utility lines, or between wall joists. The nest could be as big as a basketball, but not nearly so round. Rather, nests commonly contain different tiers of combs, wedged into the space available. Any rarely seen or hard-to-reach portion of the house can provide the opening that allows the wasps to come and go, as they must do. That’s why dryer vents, attic louvers, and utility entry points are vulnerable.

If you do find the entry point, that may still not be the location of the nest. Nests can be as much as 30 feet removed from the entrance, depending on the structure, and as a result it is pointless to inject insecticides at the opening.

It’s Easy to Surprise a Yellowjacket

Unfortunately, even if they are not actually living hidden in your home, it is easy to surprise a yellowjacket, because outdoors, they often make their nests near or even below the ground. It is way too easy to meet them unexpectedly, and tripping over a nest is definitely not how to get rid of yellowjackets. Stepping through long grass can be enough to stir up a nest, or turning over a rock, or clearing brush from your backyard fence line.

Not only are yellowjackets easy to surprise, but they are also even easier to provoke. In fact, the ready-to-fight, belligerent attitude of yellowjackets is one of the things that distinguish them from wasps or bees. If the question is not just how to get rid of yellowjackets, but why, then one of the biggest answers is this: they seem to wake up already mad at you. Not the sort you really want to meet.

How to Get Rid of Yellowjackets

The best advice of all on how to get rid of yellowjackets is not to try it yourself. Not only are you vastly outnumbered, but their organization and tactics are set up to work against you with unshakable instinct.

call (804) 575-7054 and arrange a professional inspection. Not only is this the direct approach to a good solution, but it also puts peace of mind on your side. That’s a benefit you can enjoy before, during, and after getting rid of yellowjackets.