Here at Canton Termite and Pest Control, we receive many calls about yellow jackets this time of year.
Yellowjackets are small insects. They can sometimes be confused with bees due to their similar size and coloration. They are distinguished from bees by their thin, elongated bodies and striped yellow/black coloration.
Despite a difference in name, yellow jackets are in fact a species of wasp. They are pollinators and are known to feed on many other pests such as flies. Yellowjackets are social insects and will form colonies that can contain thousands of insects. These colonies are often ground-based and can be found hidden in leaves, cracks in the ground, and on the undersides of buildings.
Despite the fact that they feed on other pests, yellow jackets can present a problem to homeowners due to their ability to sting. Many people are allergic to yellow jacket venom, and for this reason, they can be a major risk. The colonies can often be large and the yellow jackets will swarm and attack anything that disturbs their nests. The tendency for the nests to be well-hidden compounds this hazard. The nests can often be unintentional discovered and damaged by construction work or landscaping. Pets and children also could discover these nests without realizing the risk, and for those reasons, it is imperative that any nests are quickly dealt with.
Often, it is a difficult task to find a yellow jacket nest, even if you have located the general area. The nests can often be camouflaged in the surrounding area. Even trained eyes can have difficulty spotting the nests. An example of this occurred on my own property. I was mowing around my home and unintentionally drove over a hidden yellow jacket nest. This promptly angered the yellow jackets and caused them to swarm. While I escaped with only a single string, sometimes a person can be less lucky.
Yellowjackets, unlike bees, have small, barbed stingers and can sting more than once. A swarm of yellow jackets can quickly sting a person or animal multiple times in quick succession. For this reason, extreme caution should be taken around yellow jacket nests. I would personally recommend anyone with a severe allergy to any kind of stinging insect make NO contact with a nest.
If someone has been stung with a yellow jacket. Look for any sign of an allergic reaction, in some cases, the reaction is just minor redness and swelling. For such symptoms, many easy remedies exist such as Diphenhydramine(AKA Benadryl). However, in more severe cases, it may be necessary to administer epinephrine. It is important to remember that if someone is stung multiple times the combined venom can sometimes cause a more severe than normal reaction. Signs of a severe, or anaphylactic, reaction include the following:
- Severe swelling
- Red bumps on the skin
- Difficulty breathing
If you see signs of any of these reactions. It is imperative that you immediately call 911 and get medical attention for the person stung. Anaphylactic reactions can be fatal if left untreated.
Despite these risks, yellow jackets should not be exterminated unless they are a direct threat to humans or animals near them. They are extremely beneficial in controlling the populations of other pests and serve an important function as pollinators. At Canton Termite and Pest Control, we are committed to doing our part in preserving natural ecosystems. For this reason, our treatment will often begin with an inspection of the nest site. Our technicians will determine the severity of the risk and apply correct treatment methods accordingly.
Treatment methods vary depending on the location of the nests. Yellowjacket nests can either be below ground, hidden above ground, or located in trees and other difficult to reach areas. We will often make use of aerosol or dust products to eliminate the pests. Sometimes, it is best to perform these treatments after dark, when the nest population is asleep inside.
While some DIY treatments exist for yellow jackets, it is important to keep in mind my earlier warnings. Yellowjackets can pose a threat when treated improperly, and can sometimes be misidentified. In some scenarios, non-professional grade products are simply not strong enough to destroy the nests, and can instead cause the yellow jackets to swarm and sting anyone nearby. For these reasons it often ideal to leave their treatment to professionals.
At Canton Termite and Pest Control, our team has years of experience dealing with yellow jackets. We are industry leaders in the use of safe and effective treatment methods with prices that won’t break your budget! So if you have issues with yellow jackets, or simply a question, feel free to call us today at 770-479-1598! Ask for me, Tim McWhirter, and I will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Here’s to YOU living pest-free!