One of the most common reasons that people call pest control services is that they need wasp nest and bee removal. Among the most aggressive of these stinging creatures is the yellowjacket. They are quite common in Southwestern, Ontario and can be cause for concern, specifically for those with allergies to bee stings. This insect shares many of the same characteristics of its stinging cousins. However, it’s important to know that this pesky intruder is far-different from others like it.

What are Yellowjackets?

Yellowjackets (or yellow jackets) are a type of wasp. Some people confuse these insects with bees, but actually, they are quite different. While both are stinging insects, the bee actually looks “softer,” due to its furry body and legs.

The bee’s tail has yellow and black stripes (or sometimes white and black or red and black stripes) as does the wasp, but the wasp’s tail has a band that forms a pattern of sorts down the insect’s spine. Its body is broken up into segments, and typically, these bugs measure about 12 mm in length.

Yellowjacket Features at a Glance

  • Hairless body, unlike the bee, which is furry
  • Body divided into segments
  • Yellow and black body with a pattern down its spine
  • Is sometimes red and black or white and black
  • About 12 mm long

The Female Yellowjacket

The female yellow jackets have the ability to sting. The yellow jacket’s sting is painful, but unless a person has a bee/ wasp allergy, it usually isn’t considered dangerous – most of the time.

What do Yellowjackets Eat?

Because yellowjackets eat a carnivorous diet, they have been known to love people food. This is why so many of them linger around picnics and trash cans.

However, in the absence of human food, they eat insects and sometimes fish and meats as well as sugars from fruit, juices, and nectars. These bugs are scavengers (unlike their wasp cousins, hornets and paper wasps). This is why they are seen so often around a picnic meal.

The Wasp’s Nests

These insects are considered social animals. As such, they live and work in colonies. The colonies support the queen, which is the only one of them in the colony that lasts longer than the summer. The rest of the bugs die out at summer’s end.

Yellow jackets will nest in the ground, in walls, and in trees, but mostly below ground. People who find a nest would probably be better off looking up pest control services in London, Ontario rather than trying to take care of it themselves. Wasp nest and bee removal can be dangerous for the person who is untrained in these matters.

How to Protect Yourself from Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are territorial creatures. Unlike the honey bee, which usually only defends its hive if a person gets close, a yellow jacket will chase would-be invaders. They sometimes chase these “invaders” hundreds of yards.

Keep Food & Drinks Covered

It’s best to try to prevent stings if possible. Drinks and food should be covered. Drinks in cans are especially hazardous: A wasp could fly into the can looking for a sugary treat. To prevent a sting here, it’s best to drink liquids in a glass so that any insects that have inadvertently flown in the can will be seen.

Avoid Swatting & Running Away

Don’t swat these creatures. Brush them off if they land on you – if you can – and walk away. If you do get stung, just run. A yellow jacket won’t leave a stinger in you like a bee will. Instead, the yellow jacket can continue to sting.

It’s best to get out of its way as quickly as possible. Once stung by a jacket, you’re chemically marked as a target by the sting, and other wasps may attack.

What To Do If You Get Stung by a Yellow Jacket

If you do get stung by a yellowjacket, follow these steps:

  1. Clean the sting with soap and water.
  2. Treat it with ice or a cold pack to reduce the pain and swelling.
  3. Cover it with bandages to keep it clean.
  4. Get medical attention immediately if you are allergic.

For more information about yellow jackets or to find out more about our pest management services, get in touch with the team at ASAP Pest Control today.