Yellow Jackets – Ground Nesters

Many yellow jackets are ground-nesters. They get their name from their yellow and black bodies. Yellow jackets include a number of wasp species. They measure 10 to 16 mm in length. Most yellow jackets are yellow and black, others can be white and black. They are equipped with lance-like stingers with small barbs. The yellow jacket is capable of stinging repeatedly and this may induce severe allergic reactions in some people.

Killing these insects can be hard because underground nests are often far from their ground level entrance holes.

These nests are buried in the ground with only a small, hard to see entrance hole. Usually the bees are discovered quite by accident during mowing or weeding, which causes them to become quite aggressive.

Their colonies can be found both above and below ground in places such as:

  • under porches or steps

  • in sidewalk cracks

  • around railroad ties

  • at the base of trees

  • inside a dense bush

  • in or near a flower bed

  • deep inside a wall void of a building

A nest can actually be hundreds of feet from where you are noticing their activity. Multiple nests can also be a problem in backyards or public areas.

Some recommendations for preventative efforts are:

  • keep your trash cans closed and clean – yellow jackets tend to feed on food residues on both the inside as well as the outside of these containers

  • removing fallen fruit from trees – rotting fruit on the ground is a major attraction for hungry yellow jackets

If you are experiencing problems with yellow jackets or bees in general, contact your local pest management professional for advice on eliminating the nests.


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