The Complete Yellow Jacket Nest Removal Guide: This is What to Do
There are certain things you should know and do when it comes to removing a yellow jacket nest. You should check out our guide here on what to do.
Yellow jacket nest? In 2017, about 89 people died from stinging pests including yellow jacket stings in the United States.
While you’re working in your garden or enjoying your backyard, the last thing you want is a yellow jacket dive-bombing your head. Their bites and stings are one of the more painful ones in the wasp kingdom.
If you’ve discovered a yellow jacket nest somewhere on your property, you no doubt want to remove it fast. The longer the nest stays there, the larger the colony will grow.
In this guide, we’ll explore everything you need to know about yellow jackets and how to remove their nests.
What Is a Yellow Jacket?
Yellow jackets belong to the wasp kingdom.
This type of wasp is both predatory and social. They eat other insects, dead animals, and sugary things.
The yellow jacket is similar in appearance to a honeybee or paper wasp. The critical difference is the waist area. A yellow jacket has a narrow waist. The best determiner for whether its a yellow jacket or not is how aggressive it is toward you.
Some types of yellow jackets live in the ground, but many others build elaborate nests under the eaves of your home or dangling from tree branches.
Wasps are notorious for their aggressive behavior. Yellow jackets take that aggression to a whole new level that teeters on diabolical.
You don’t have to be near a yellow jacket’s nest, or even messing with them at all, for one to decide to attack you. Breathing the same air as it is all the reason a yellow jacket needs to attack you.
Each yellow jacket stings multiple times. Every time it stings, it will inject more venom into the object of its ire.
Sounds and vibrations are the most common triggers behind a yellow jacket attack. Be prepared to run, as they will give chase for a long distance.
The yellow jacket starts like most bugs: an egg.
A queen will find a safe place to begin making a home. She will create a nest from paper. Once the nest is large enough for the queen to crawl inside, she will start laying eggs.
A queen yellow jacket can lay up to 50 eggs in a single session each day. This is why a yellow jacket colony can expand at such a rapid pace.
The eggs go through a larva and pupa stage before they become adult wasps.
When the eggs hatch into larva, they are fed by the queen for around 20 days. At this point, the larva is large enough that they then become a pupa. Pupa means they look like mini versions of an adult wasp.
Once yellow jackets hit the pupa stage, they take over for the queen and begin feeding the other larva. After the pupa grows into adult wasps, they start the task of expanding and fortifying the nest for the entire colony.
The queen will never leave the nest and instead remains inside to lay eggs. This is a commonality that yellow jackets share with bees. The queen is waited upon by other pupa and adult wasps. Her sole job is laying eggs.
Before you approach the nest and mess with it, assess the situation.
The first thing you need to determine is if you need to remove the nest or not. If there’s a yellow jacket nest on your property that isn’t near human activity, consider leaving it alone. Yellow jackets help reduce the mosquito population.
So while yellow jackets are terrifying and aggressive, they do have a part to play in reducing other pest insects.
If you decide that the nest and yellow jackets must go, be sure to take action at night. Yellow jackets are active during the night. During the night, they return to their nest and rest. Taking action at night will reduce the odds of you being stung.
If you don’t want to deal with the problem yourself, some professionals offer pest control services.
Here are the different approaches to dealing with a yellow jacket infestation:
A foaming spray covers the openings of the nest. This helps to prevent any wasps from flying out and stinging you with a vengeance. The foaming spray also expands inwards into the nest, to trap and kill the yellow jackets within.
When you’re choosing an aerosol, go for one that has a long-range. You want to be able to stand as far back as possible for two reasons:
to avoid breathing in too much insecticide
to give yourself a chance to run if wasps come out
Once you begin spraying, start at all the openings you can see. Spend one entire minute coating the openings to prevent any wasps from escaping.
From there, spray in a widening circle around the nest. The key is to coat the entire nest in a thick layer of the foaming spray. If any wasps do manage to exit, spray them fast before they take flight.
After you’re done spraying, let it sit for a day. Check back the next day and if you still notice activity, repeat the above steps.
There are several different types of bait stations you can buy at any major store.
Most traps come equipped with a chemical lure. If your bait station is old or empty, you can place a small amount of meat or fruit juice to lure yellow jackets in.
Be sure to hang the bait station nearby the infestation to ensure it catches the majority of the wasps. The wasps will crawl inside to reach the bait and then die from the insecticide inside.
If you choose to use a bait station, you will need to check it every day and refresh the bait.
Electric zappers work great against yellow jackets.
An electric bug zapper emits a hum that generates sound and vibration. Due to the aggressive nature of the yellow jacket, they perceive this hum as a threat.
Hang the electric bug zapper near the nest. The yellow jackets will attack the device and then be killed by the electric shock.
This method might not be able to kill off the entire colony. If you combine the use of an electric bug zapper with other methods, it will eliminate the majority of wasps.
Preventative Measures Against Yellow Jackets
If you want to prevent any yellow jackets from building a nest on your property, there are a few things you can do.
Since a food source is what attracts a yellow jacket to build a nest near your home to begin with, eliminate this lure. Garbage cans left open are a primary attractant for yellow jackets.
They like to eat garbage and any leftover soda in empty cans. Make sure your trash is in a sealed can, and this will help prevent any pests from arriving.
Do you have a hummingbird feeder? Consider getting rid of it if you’re struggling with yellow jackets. The sugar water inside attracts yellow jackets the same way it does hummingbirds.
A natural home remedy you can use to try and deter yellow jacket activity is sliced cucumber. There is a natural repellant property in cucumbers that yellow jackets loathe. Slice a cucumber up and scatter it around in your garden to chase the wasps away.
There are also a few varieties of plants you can put into your garden to help keep yellow jackets away.
If you want to fill your garden with natural, safe remedies that will dissuade wasps from coming near, then plant:
All of these plants have an aroma that repels wasps. These plants also have the bonus of chasing away other pest insects like mosquitos.
What to Do If a Yellow Jacket Stings You
If you’re the unlucky target of a yellow jacket’s hatred, the first thing you’ll notice is the painful stinging sensation from the venom in the stinger.
Common side effects of being stung include:
redness of the area
Some symptoms are more severe than others. If you experience coughing, low fever, hives, vomiting, or difficulty breathing, you should take a quick trip to the emergency room. You may be experiencing an allergic reaction.
Some people have a severe allergic reaction to bug stings called anaphylaxis.
If your symptoms are mild and you aren’t allergic to wasp stings, start by taking an antihistamine. When you’re stung, your body produces a chemical called histamine.
Histamine helps protect your body from foreign substances. It is what causes itching and swelling. Taking something like Benadryl will help relieve these symptoms.
Once you’ve taken an antihistamine, use an ice pack to press against the affected area. The cold will help to relieve pain and reduce the swelling. Leave the cold pack on for around 20 minutes for the best results.
Get Professional Help
If you’ve found a yellow jacket nest near your home, calling in an expert to deal with the problem is your best bet. Yellow jackets are an aggressive species of wasp and are dangerous to deal with.
Synergy² is a local, family-owned business that offers a full range of pest control services, from taking care of termites to removing wildlife. Read through our customer testimonials and then contact us today! Check out some of our recent blog posts on bed bugs, rats, fruit flies, and squirrels. Or visit our pest pages section for more information on pests you are dealing with including termites, spiders, mosquitoes, and roaches.