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Home Maintenance Tip: How to Get Rid of Yellow Jackets

Posted on August 22, 2014

Did uninvited guests show up at last back yard cookout? No, not the neighbors down the street, but yellow jackets, a type of wasp. Yellow jackets can be aggressive and deliver multiple painful stings that can cause an allergic reaction. It’s best to get rid of yellow jackets’ nests as soon as they show up.

Yellow jackets feed on flies and other insects. But, they also feed on sugars and protein, which is why they are often found near trash bins, and picnic areas. You can help prevent yellow jackets in your yard by keeping your garbage cans tightly closed and not leaving pet food outside.

Yellow jackets are social insects and live in colonies. By late summer and early fall, there may be thousands of workers in one colony. Colonies are often found in the ground where they burrow a cavity for their nest. They will also build nests under porches or stairs, attached to eaves, in attics, or in cracks or voids on the exterior of structures.

Here are some points to consider before rushing out to kill that yellow jacket nest:

  • Wear a thick long sleeve shirt and long pants to make it harder for a yellow jacket to sting you.
  • Locate the yellow jacket nest as well as entry and exit points from a distance in the daylight.
  • Wait to kill the yellow jackets until dark when they are inactive and most likely in the colony. Also, yellow jackets do not see well at night, lessening the chances of being stung.
  • If the nest is in the ground, you can pour boiling soapy water into the hole. An alternative to boiling water is an insecticidal dust. Once you are certain the yellow jackets are all dead, fill the hole with small rocks and then dirt.
  • For aerial nests, purchase an aerosol specifically for wasps such as pyrethrum. Spray the aerosol into the nest according to the directions.
  • A second application of the aerosol or dust may be necessary to get rid of the entire colony. Keep a watch in the days following your first application to make sure that the eradication is complete.

Be careful! If you know you are allergic to yellow jackets, leave this job to the professionals and call in your local pest control company.


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