Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are social insects that live in nests or colonies with up to 4,000 workers. These flying insects typically have a yellow and black head/face and patterned abdomen. Many say that the pattern resembles stripes. 

  • Size: 3/8″ to 5/8
  • Shape: Wasp
  • Color: Black with yellow stripes
  • Legs: 6
  • Wings: Yes
  • Antenna: Yes

Diet: Yellow jackets eat spiders and insects. They will also feed on human food, especially meats and sweets. Unlike bees, wasps do not make honey or store food.

Habitat: Yellow jackets like to be where humans live. They usually build their nests underground, around garbage and in cool, dark spaces. They also build nests in trees, shrubs and in holes in walls. Most yellow jacket colonies only remain active for one year. Then the queen flies off to start a new colony. The remaining bees die in the fall and the nest is abandoned. Look for yellow jacket nests during the day, because you can see them flying in and out, but destroy nests at night, when they are dormant and all there.

Impact: Wasps help farmers by eating pests that can destroy crops. They are dangerous because they can sting multiple times, injecting venom into the host. For most people a yellow jacket sting just causes a welt and temporary pain, but their sting can cause allergic reactions to people sensitive to this venom.

Prevention:

  • Do not leave sweet drinks or meats out in the open.
  • Call a pest management professional if you find yellow jackets around your house.