European and Southern yellow jackets look a lot like honeybees. In fact, for many it can be hard to differentiate the two. Yellow jackets are smaller than honeybees, have a “wasp waist,” and are hairless. They are very fast and feed on other insects instead of flowers. They are a member of the hornet family and are some of the most dangerous of flying insects.
Unlike most honeybees, yellow jackets are aggressive. Instead of stinging once and dying, each yellow jacket can sting multiple times as it injects its victim with venom.
They have a very painful sting…and they can do it repeatedly. When they do attack, they are in swarms and can chase a victim further than a bee will. Triggered by vibration or sound, like a lawn mower, you often hear of cases of them attacking a human doing simple yard work.
If you see one yellow jacket it means his friends are not far behind. Yellow jackets live in colonies of up to 1,000. They can build a nest in attics and walls but often have their nest in the ground. You’ll notice them more in the fall and they are commonly found in woodpiles, burrowed in the ground, or in the little weep holes around your home.
Their aggressive antics and large numbers make them very dangerous pest hosts to have. Little Giant Beekeepers can treat then remove the hornet nest in your yard or house.
Texas yellowjacket colonies usually last into the late fall in Texas, leaving more opportunity for unpleasant interaction with humans and thus giving them a nasty reputation. Avoidance is the best policy in most situations if you don’t want to tackle yellowjacket removal in Dallas on your own. While foraging away from their nests they are seldom aggressive and usually will not sting unless provoked or they feel their nest is being threatened. Resist the urge to “swat” and simply move carefully away. If you want to be more deliberate in removal, what steps should you take?
Tips to Get Rid of Yellowjackets
1. Minimize attractive food sources. When eating outdoors, keep food and beverages covered. Clean spills and leftovers promptly. Make sure trash cans have tight-fitting lids. Whenever possible, trash cans should be located away from eating areas. Be especially careful when drinking from beverage cans which may contain foraging individuals. When they are abundant, keep your thumb over the opening of the can between sips.
2. To help get rid of yellowjackets, spray a dilute solution of ammonia and water (6 oz of ammonia/gallon water) in and around trash cans and on tables. Use household ammonia, not Clorox (bleach).
3. Although only of marginal benefit, set traps for yellowjackets. There are traps available that can catch impressive numbers, however they must be properly baited and positioned around the outer perimeter of the area you wish to protect.
4. If the nest opening can be located (usually underground in a burrow, beneath rocks or landscape timbers, or within a stone wall), carefully apply an aerosol wasp insecticide into the opening. Treatment should be performed late at night after the insects are in the nest and less active. Note the location of the nest during the daytime, so you will remember where to direct your treatment after dark. Do not shine the beam of your flashlight directly into the nest entrance as this may startle the wasps; instead, cast the beam to the side to illuminate the nest indirectly.
As with hornets, yellowjackets are extremely aggressive when the nest is disturbed. You may want to leave Texas yellowjacket removal to the professionals.