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How to Get Rid of Wasps and Yellow Jackets in Richmond, VA


Expert Wasp and Yellow Jacket Control

Even though wasps and yellow jackets can be beneficial by eating other pesky pests – including crop-destroying bugs such as grubs, caterpillars, and weevils – they are still aggressive, stinging insects. The most common type of wasp is the European paper wasp, which is yellow and black. Because they sting, they are frequently mistaken for yellow jackets.

First, What’s the Difference?

So, you have an infestation of wasps or yellow jackets, and you’re wondering how to get rid of them. Before we delve into that answer, first let’s discuss the difference between these stinging pests.

Wasps and yellow jackets – and even hornets – are considered social wasps. Each year, they produce colonies, with only the malted queen surviving through the winter. This, however, is where the similarities end, as wasps and yellow jackets differ in size, color, and where they build their nests.

Chances are, if you’ve seen something buzzing around your yard or house and it looks like a wasp, you don’t care if it is actually a yellow jacket or a hornet; you just want to know how to get rid of it. However, knowing the characteristics of each will help you get to the root of your problem.

Know Their Characteristics

To know how to get rid of wasps and yellow jackets, you first need to know how to tell them apart:

  • Appearance: Wasps have slender, segmented bodies with thin waists and orange-tipped antennae, while yellow jackets have shorter and thicker bodies, with black antennae.
  • In flight: Wasps dangle their long legs when they fly, while yellow jackets tuck their legs under their bodies when they fly.
  • Nests: Wasp nests resemble an open honeycomb or upside-down umbrella. They often build their nests on man-made structures such as eaves or lawn furniture. Yellow jacket nests have a single opening that is often hard to see because the nest is underground. Some species of yellow jackets will construct nests in wall voids or exposed under eaves of houses.
  • Behavior: Wasps feed on damaged fruits and can be found on flowers looking for nectar. Yellow jackets are picnic pests; they’re drawn to protein sources, such as grilled meat. They also go after sweet liquids, such as soda and juice.
  • Aggression: Wasps are generally docile and avoid humans; they usually will sting if the nest is disturbed and can sting repeatedly. Yellow jackets are more aggressive than wasps. They defend their nests but will also sting unprovoked. They are prone to swarm attacks if their nest is threatened.

Why Do I Have Wasp and Yellow Jacket Nests in My Yard?

Wasps and yellow jackets can be found any place where humans live. While it is relatively easy to spot a wasp nest, it’s more difficult to see a yellow jacket nest. Yellow jackets construct their nests from wood fiber chewed into a fine, paper-like pulp, and their entrances are typically the size of a nickel.

If you frequently have wasp or yellow jacket nests in your yard, and your wondering how to get rid of them, then it’s probably because you have some of their favorite things, including:

  1. Ceilings and overhangs: This is where wasps prefer to build nests. They often choose a corner spot where their nest will be protected.
  2. Weathered wood: Wasps and yellow jackets prefer to build their nests out of regurgitated wood fiber.
  3. Other pests: Wasps and yellow jackets eat other pests. So, if these stinging insects are setting up camp in your yard, it probably means you have plenty of other insects, too.
  4. Indoor shelter: Wasps, in particular, like to build their nests near accessible indoor shelter, so their queens have a place to shelter in winter. If your home has cracks or holes where wasps can get inside, then your yard may be their go-to nest building spot.
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