Yellow jackets are small stinging pests that fly around Dallas, TX, starting in the spring and continuing through the summer. They’re the smallest of the stinging pests in Texas, measuring on ¾” as adults. Their bodies are covered in yellow and black stripes with two wings. Yellow jackets are comparatively more aggressive that other stinging insects that live in the Dallas area such as bald faced hornets and wasps. They have the ability to sting multiple times and are not afraid to do so.
What does a yellow jacket nest look like?
Yellow jackets build their nests in the ground, so you usually won’t get a glimpse of the nest. You can get a sense of where the nest is by observing the patterns of yellow jackets. They live in large nests that can hold up to 5,000 yellow jackets. You can see them going in and out of the nest almost constantly.
Yellow jackets can also nest in wall voids or attics. These protected spaces allow the colony to expand without predators. They get into human made structures by flying through broken attic vents, dryer vents, torn window screens, and other small openings. When cooler weather approaches, yellow jackets become extremely aggressive in a fight for survival. Many stings occur during this time in the late fall. It’s especially important that you avoid yellow jackets and their nests at all costs to avoid becoming a victim.
If you see a nest with a honeycomb pattern or a large, round grey nest hanging from a tree or bush, you probably aren’t seeing yellow jackets. You’re probably seeing bald faced hornets or wasps, both of which are native to the Dallas area.
Why do I have yellow jackets at my house?
Yellow jacket nests are built within human made structures (attics, hollow walls or flooring, in sheds, under porches and eaves of houses), or in soil cavities and mouse burrows. Nests are made from wood fiber chewed into a paper-like pulp. Their nesting behavior can be startling if they start flying indoors with no warning. Yellow jackets have the ability to come in from outdoors, access wall voids, and fly around your house. Another unfortunate but common situation can happen if yellow jackets are nesting in the ground on your property. If you don’t notice their activity, you can easily run their nest over with a lawnmower or step directly on it with flip flops or even worse, bare feet.
Adult yellow jackets feed primarily on items rich in sugars and carbohydrates (fruits, flower nectar and tree sap), and the larvae feed on proteins (insects, meats, fish, etc.). Adult workers chew and condition the meat fed to the larvae. In late autumn, foraging workers (nuisance scavengers) change their food preference from meats to ripe, decaying fruits since larvae in the nest fail to meet requirements as a source of sugar. Sweets like open soda cans, trash cans without secure lids, and food left uncovered outdoors are buffets for yellow jackets. Scented lotion may also attract yellow jackets to humans.
Do yellow jackets sting?
Yes, yellow jackets can sting. They have the ability to sting multiple times and will defend their nests if they feel threatened. If you get too close or try to remove their nest on your own, you will be swarmed by yellow jackets and stung several times. As the summer season comes to an end, they become more aggressive due to the fact that many are dying off as their natural food sources die.
Many people are allergic to bee stings in general, which usually includes yellow jacket stings. For these individuals, a yellow jacket sting can mean going into anaphylactic shock and a trip to the emergency room. For those who aren’t allergic, a yellow jacket sting will still cause pain and swelling.
How can I avoid getting stung by a yellow jacket?
Allergists-immunologists recommend the following additional precautions to avoid all stinging insects, including wasps and yellow jackets:
- Avoid wearing sandals or walking barefoot in the grass. Honeybees and bumblebees forage on white clover, a weed that grows in lawns throughout the country.
- Never swat at a flying insect. If need be, gently brush it aside or patiently wait for it to leave.
- Do not drink from open beverage cans outdoors. Stinging insects will crawl inside a can attracted by the sweet beverage.
- When eating outdoors, try to keep food covered at all times.
- Garbage cans stored outside should be covered with tight-fitting lids.
- Avoid sweet-smelling perfumes, hair sprays, colognes and deodorants.
- Avoid wearing bright-colored clothing.
- Yard work and gardening should be done with caution. Wearing shoes and socks and using work gloves will prevent stings on hands and feet and provide time to get away from an unexpected mound.
- Keep window and door screens in good repair.
- Drive with car windows closed.
- Keep prescribed medications handy at all times and follow the attached instructions if you are stung. These medications are for immediate emergency use while en route to a hospital emergency room for observation and further treatment.
If you have had an allergic reaction to an insect sting, it’s important that you see an allergist-immunologist. Following all of these tips will also help you avoid being attacked by other stinging insects that are native to Texas such as bald faced hornets and wasps.
How can I get rid of a yellow jacket nest on my own?
If you go on YouTube or search on Google for ways to get rid of yellow jackets at home, you’ll probably come across the following “effective” solutions that don’t involve professional pest control services.
- Gasoline poured into the nest entrance
- Store bought repellent sprays
- Bleach and Ammonia mixture poured into the nest entrance: EXTREMELY DANGEROUS
- Boiling water dumped into the entrance of the nest
Not only is it extremely unsafe to treat for stinging insects on your own, but if the nest within the walls of your home, your efforts in eradicating the insect may actually be making the problem even worse, to a point where it is even difficult for pest professionals to solve the problem. If you have a nest within a wall void of your home and you decide to self-treat the yellow jackets by spraying an aerosol spray inside the entrance of the nest, you can force the yellow jackets further into your home.
Certified does not advise that you attempt to remove a yellow jacket nest on your own. You will be swarmed by yellow jackets if the nest is disturbed. It’s just not worth the risk to try DIY. Call the professionals at Certified to get rid of yellow jackets at your home.
Do you have yellow jackets flying around your home? Don’t wait! Contact Certified Termite and Pest Control at 972-852-2847 or fill out the form on this page to speak with one of our specialists.