(Vespula spp.)

Introduction: There are numerous species of yellowjackets found in the United States. However, every species is approximately 1/2” long with characteristic black and yellow markings. Separate species of yellowjackets can be identified based upon the color patterns on the abdomen.

Habits: Colonies are started in the spring by a single queen that mated the previous fall and overwintered as an adult, typically under the bark of a log. Nests may be aerial or terrestrial, depending upon the species of the wasp. Regardless of location, each nest is a series of horizontal combs completely surrounded by a paper envelope. Initially, the solitary queen must not only construct the paper brood cells, but also forage for food, lay eggs, feed her progeny, and defend the nest from intruders. When the first offspring emerge as adults they assume all tasks except egg laying. The queen devotes the remainder of her life to egg laying and does not leave the nest again. Each worker tends to persist at a given task, such as nest building or feeding larvae but they may change tasks if the need arises.

Control: Yellowjackets can be considered a beneficial insect because they reduce populations of unwanted insects that attack cultivated and ornamental plants. However, these wasps are adept at stinging and are especially provoked if danger threatens the nest. Therefore, unless the nests are located close to an entrance to a building, in the ground of a lawn that is mowed, or in any area where the public is likely to encounter them, the nests can be ignored. Individuals with known sensitivities to wasp and bee stings should have all nests that are within or near their homes removed by professional pest management personnel. Cook’s Pest Control offers professional treatments for the removal of yellowjackets and our pest management professionals are thoroughly trained to address your wasp issues.

About Wasps, Hornets, Yellowjackets

During the warmer months of the year these insects will build nests in protected areas inside attics and gutters, or under decks or eaves. While the stings from wasps, hornets, or yellowjackets may hurt, they can also cause more serious health issues like painful swelling, infections, and nausea.