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Why Yellow Jackets Seem So Active This Summer

yellow jacket on flower

It seems like all of a sudden we have yellowjackets everywhere. You can’t even enjoy a cook out on the deck because of so many yellowjackets. Why does this year seem particularly bad for yellowjacket activity?

Any time when yellowjackets take over your yard is a bad year for yellowjackets! There are two things going on right now that make the situation seem worse than normal: 1) yellowjacket activity always accelerates as the summer goes on especially as the summer goes on into late summer and 2) you probably just have more yellowjacket nests in your yard this summer.

In late summer, yellowjackets are at their peak. A yellowjacket nest grows in size and in numbers of workers as the summer progresses. A majority of people don't even notice them until late summer when the nest is at it’s peak size in mid-August. Each nest can contain up to 4,000 worker wasps. At about this time the nest starts to decline and begins to die off. There are no new larvae produced and worker yellowjackets are no longer collecting insects and protein to feed to the young. They become annoying pests around people food because their habits and their tastes have changed. They are now foraging for mostly sweets to feed themselves and your sugary drinks will do just fine. Your coke  is an easy substitution for the plant nectar that worker wasps prefer.

You may be noticing more yellowjackets now because you have more than one active nest, or because an active nest is located close to your deck area. Since a yellowjackets nest produces next year’s queens, any nests in your yard last summer could have been the origin of this year’s nests. This is why it is important to destroy an active nest even if it is late in the season before next year’s queens are produced.

Yellowjackets workers will die before the first cold snap in fall. Before that happens, the nest produces a select few females and males that mate, spend the winter, and start nest year’s nests. The old nest is not reused.

If you do not know the exact location of a yellowjacket nest, you can sometime track foraging yellowjackets back to their nest opening by following them visually until you see the point where they drop down on the ground. You might see a cleared area around the nickel sized nest opening, but often nest entrances are hidden in thick vegetation or under objects. If you find an opening mark it with a stake or some kind of marker on the ground pointing to the hole because it may be difficult to find it later. Do not get to close to the nest entrance and don’t dig it up, yellowjackets are protective and aggressive.

The main thing is to destroy nests early in the season as soon as they are discovered. The best way to destroy the nests is to have a professional pest management company treat the nests to kill worker yellowjackets in the nest as well as foraging yellowjackets that return to the nest. This usually involves injecting dust into the nest opening. We recommend that you do not try this on your own unless you know what you are doing and have the proper protective gear.

You still have a few weeks of summer left call F&W Pest Control, Inc. to locate and eliminate the yellowjackets nests in your yard.

If you believe that your home or business is experiencing mice, bed bugs, insects or termite issues, contact an F&W Pest Control professional today for a free inspection and quote.

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