Workers 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch.


Abdomen usually black and yellow pattered similar to bands.

Yellow jackets nest in the ground or in cavernous areas such as eaves, under porches attics. This wasp also commonly locates its nest inside the walls of a building by entering through cracks or holes in the outside walls.

Workers searching for food will concentrate mainly on finding and killing other insects, such as flies and bees, within a hundred meters or so of the nest. They will continue to enlarge the nest until fall, when there may be as many as 1000 wasps living in it. In late summer, the queen produces eggs which become fertile females; these will become queens and leave the nest to mate, spending the winter alone in protected places under tree bark, in rotten logs, or sometimes in the walls of a house. The original nest is abandoned in winter; only the queen survives. She also spends the winter in a safe spot until spring. When a new season begins, old nests are not reused.

They feed on sweets and proteins and commonly invade outdoor activities.

If a nest of yellow jackets is disturbed, workers will aggressively defend it by stinging. Yellow jackets can sting more than once. Usually a sting is just a temporarily painful experience, resulting in redness, itching and pain. A hollow stinger is located at the rear of the yellow jacket's body. When it penetrates the skin, venom is injected through the stinger. It takes about 1,500 stings to kill an adult man. For people who are allergic, a single sting may result in a serious reaction, or in some cases, death. Between 0.5 and 1.0 percent of the population may be allergic to yellow jacket venom. Yellow jackets are also sometimes responsible for infection. A contaminated stinger can inject bacteria beneath the victim's skin, causing blood poisoning.

Yellow Jacket Prevention Tips

  • One way to get rid of yellow jackets or to reduce the attractiveness of your home is to keep pet food and other sources of refined proteins indoors. Yellow jackets, like other wasps, really do enjoy protein, and nothing is packed with more accessible proteins than pet food floating around in a water dish. So, keep your dog’s or cat’s food bowl inside during the warmer months, or find a way to protect that pet food from foraging pests like yellow jackets and other scavenging wasps.
  • Sometimes getting rid of yellow jackets or reducing yellow jacket populations is as easy as keeping your garbage cans properly sealed. Garbage bins are not only a windfall for stray dogs, stray cats, and the occasional raccoon, but also for yellow jacket wasps who will feed on the leftover proteins and sugars we tend to throw out with the trash. Scraps of meat and fish are particularly pleasing to a yellow jacket’s appetite, as well as old 2-liter bottles of pop, bottles of syrup, and fruits.
  • Properly sealed to get rid of yellow jackets. Preventing yellow jackets from gaining entrance to the voids in the siding and roofing of your home is high recommended because hidden wasp nests are particularly difficult to get rid of and may require the services of a pest control professional. If you’re patient, cold weather will eventually kill the colony, and then you can seal the entrance without driving wasps into your home.
  • Pop cans, humming bird feeders, and other sweets should not be left out, or should be sealed in such a way as to prevent yellow jackets from gaining access to the sugar. Studies done on yellow jackets show those populations with access to large amounts of refined sugars build incredibly large colonies much faster than colonies whose access to food is restricted to their natural diet of nectar and live prey. If you’re enjoying a soft drink, soda, or anything sweet outside, make sure to keep a lid on it or inspect it for yellow jackets before taking a drink.

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