What are yellow jackets?
Wasps are a catch-all term typically used for a wide variety of stinging insects like paper wasps, hornets, and others. Similarly, yellow jackets are a type of wasp, but they are distinct in appearance and behavior. As stated, yellow jackets are more aggressive than their paper wasp and hornet cousins, so caution should be taken if you’re concerned you have an infestation.
On average, a yellow jacket will measure in length from one-half to one-inch. Their bodies, long and smooth (unlike bumblebees, for instance), are covered in a distinct combination of yellow and black markings, including stripes of the same color across their abdomens.
Like some of their cousins in the wasp family, yellow jackets are pollinators and are also known to enjoy sugar, making them the most likely insect you’ll find hovering around trash cans and outdoor gatherings where food is served. The larvae also have a taste for meat, whereas adult yellow jackets are more likely to eat other insects.
What types of yellow jackets are in a colony?
Their colonies will consist of a few distinct types of wasps: queens, workers (or drones), males, and, of course, larvae.
Queens have a single but crucial responsibility to the colony: laying eggs. Males, which represent small numbers in terms of the colony’s overall population, are also responsible for one thing and one thing alone: mating with the queen. Once they’ve fulfilled their role in breeding with the queen, they die soon thereafter.
Workers have by far the most responsibilities off all the yellow jackets in the colony, including the gathering and distribution of food, as well as all things pertaining to the nest, such as building, maintaining, protecting, as well as finding the right location for it to be housed in the first place. And that last part is one of the other unusual traits of the yellow jacket: where they build their nests.
Where do yellow jackets build their nests?
You see, paper wasps and hornets are likely to build their nests in places like the eaves of homes, on tree branches, or overhead decking or plumbing and the like. Yellow jackets, however, are especially cautious about their nests, and will build them in far more-hidden places, like in hollowed out trees or logs, deep in bushes, or even underground in abandoned animal burrows.
These nests, which are constructed by the workers using a combination of their own saliva and plant matter, have been found to be near the size of a basketball, housing as many as four thousand of the stinging insects. That’s a whole lotta potential stings! And unlike many other stinging insects, yellow jackets can sting repeatedly. And they won’t wait until you’ve “threatened” them. They act as aggressors, and will not hesitate to approach, sting, and repeat if you’re too near their nest. (A nest that you more than likely can’t see in the first place!)
How do I exterminate yellow jackets?
We highly, highly encourage everyone who suspects that they have a yellow jacket infestation to call upon professional assistance for proper, effective, and safe extermination and nest removal.
Remember, their nests can be incredibly hard to find. Without the proper knowledge of where they typically build, one can find themselves too close to the nest, or, even worse, accidentally disrupting the colony, angering the yellow jackets and potentially causing yourself or loved ones harm. We don’t want that to happen to you!
If possible, we want to intervene as soon as you first notice a potential yellow jacket infestation. The earlier the intervention, the smaller the colony, and the simpler the solution in getting you back to a sting-free lifestyle.
The Effective Pest Services team will meet with you to discuss your concern, assess your property for potential infestation sites, and provide you with recommendations to suit your need, budget, and lifestyle. Our goal is to make the process hassle-free and value-rich, because that’s what good pest control services are all about!
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