Flying, Stinging Foes: An In-Depth Look at Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are wasps but are often confused with bees due to their appearance. The yellow jacket is much more aggressive, though, making proper identification a must. Advanced IPM, providing the Stockton, CA area with effective stinging insect control, explains how to prevent an infestation from endangering your household.

Yellow Jacket Appearance and Behavior

These hairless insects are yellow with black stripes and measure less than half an inch long; the queen is often 1/4 of an inch longer. The queen emerges as the colony’s sole survivor each spring to start new colonies after mating in the late fall. The queen, which lays as many as 50 eggs at once, also builds nests at the following sites:

  • In trees and bushes
  • Between walls and in crawlspaces
  • In rabbit warrens
  • In the eaves of houses and outbuildings

Nests are made of paper-like materials in areas sheltered from rain, wind, and the sun. Young adults, called pupae, are responsible for expanding and strengthening the nest.

The Yellow Jacket’s Sting

Avoid mowing or walking near a yellow jacket nest to help prevent stings. If you are stung – probably more than once – remove the stinger. Ice or cold water usually reduces redness in the surrounding skin. Antihistamines reduce swelling; more severe swelling can be treated with ibuprofen. Get immediate treatment if a rash occurs with the swelling, or if you experience these other reactions:

  • Swollen tongue and throat
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness, nausea, diarrhea, and stomach cramps

Fainting, coma, and even death can result from severe reactions, making immediate treatment an ever-important precaution. You can become more sensitive to future attacks after your first sting, so consider carrying an Epipen if they’re around.

Yellow Jacket Prevention and Treatment

These wasps are drawn to trash, so seal your garbage cans well and avoid leaving pet food outside. When eating outdoors, be aware that yellow jackets are looking for sweets and meats. Sliced cucumbers are a yellow jacket repellent, so consider placing them around the yard when dining alfresco.

Contact your local stinging insect control experts immediately if you suspect a nest on your property. DIY methods could result in stings or force the colony indoors. The Advanced IPM team has the equipment and training needed for effective removal. They can also ensure the elimination of all yellow jackets, as a single stray can wreak havoc around your Stockton, CA home or business.