It’s hard to keep your cool when yellow jackets or wasps target your summer picnic. Because they are more aggressive than bees, these stinging visitors can make everyone anxious, and they’re hard to ignore. If you have children, pets, or people who are allergic, avoiding stings is especially important. Additionally, you should always treat for wasps if you see them flying in and out of a small hole in the side of your home.
Wasps and Yellow Jacket Prevention Tips
- Look for signs of a nest, especially along the south or southwest facing side of your home.
- Inspect under gutters, overhangs, and peaks. Behind shutters and 2nd story decks are also common nesting areas.
- Take action in early spring to prevent wasps nesting on your home—wasps nest in May and June.
- Treat or remove nests before they are well established—even a small nest can have hundreds or thousands of wasps.
- Never seal up a wasp opening before eliminating the hive. Wasps have chewing mouthparts just like carpenter ants and can chew through sheetrock and even wood.
Be Wasp Safe At Home And Outdoors
Bees will generally not bother you unless threatened. If you think bees are nesting in a sensitive location where they might encounter people, such as near a doorway, you can get beekeeping experts can help relocate the colony. (Beehives, or nests, are made out of wax, not paper.)
Wasps and yellow jackets can be difficult to manage on your own because they can be aggressive, especially when defending a hive or nest. Over the counter wasp sprays and repellants are contact kill insecticides and provide no protection once dry.
Bees are generally round with fat, furry bodies. Wasps and yellow jackets are longer and thinner with shiny bodies that have little or no visible fur.
Tips to avoid wasp and yellow jacket stings:
- They are typically less active in early morning or late evening.
- Never attempt to seal a nesting area until confirming there are no living wasps or yellow jackets present—doing this can drive them further into your home.
- Wear protective clothing.
- Keep drinks covered and look before you sip!
- Serve food and drinks just before eating to avoid attracting yellow jackets.
- Keep garbage cans tightly covered and store them away from people.
- Over the counter products only kill on contact; they will not target the nest.
- Professional products leave a protective residual up to 60 days after being applied.
For more information about how to get rid of wasps, visit Rainbow Pest Expert’s wasp information page.
Stingers to be concerned about:
- Bald-faced hornets
- Yellow Jackets
- Paper Wasps
- Honey Bees
For more information on identifying wasps, visit Insect Identification for the Casual Observer.