Yellowjacket Season Is Here!
Yellow jackets (Vespula spp.) typically become a problem in July through September each year in the south.
I usually get calls from the Cleveland, Dahlonega, Dawsonville, and Cumming areas of Georgia where children or pets have accidentally come into contact with a mature colony. Most people think they have multiple nests near each other, but this is not usually the case. Once a nest becomes large enough, the yellowjackets begin protecting a wider and wider area. Let’s discuss two recent nests that I had to deal with.
Yellowjacket nests can number in the hundreds or thousands, depending on the species. Safely eliminating and removing them should only be done by pest professionals.
- First, call Grace Valley Pest Control if you notice them in your yard.
- Second, keep people and pets away from active nests.
- Third, try to identify where you see them going in and out of the nest.
- Fourth, after the nest is eliminated, keep away from the area for a day or two. Returning foragers will be in the area trying find out where the nest went- don’t get stung!
Yellowjackets Behind A Deck Board
I received a call from a client in Cumming Georgia, where a nest was detected inside of some wooden steps leading to a pool. Getting in and out of the pool was becoming more of a challenge without upsetting the nest. On my first visit, our client jumped on the deck to coax them out. This is definitely not safe to do! Most often, you can just watch the area with a keen set of eyes to see where they are entering. I always tell people that most yellow jackets will nest in brightly lit areas because most insects rely on sharp contrasts in order to orient themselves. So how did I remove them?
- I made sure to wear protective equipment (a bee suit) when I approached the nest to eliminate it.
- I also made sure that I had enough insecticide to quickly knock down any yellowjackets protecting the nest. Some clients will try to do this with an aerosol can of insecticide- DON’T do that! Aerosol cans do not have enough insecticide to eliminate a large colony- also, you’ll just make them angrier!
- After determining where they were entering below the deck steps, I removed one of the deck boards with a power drill.
- I got lucky with this one. I was assuming they were in the ground, but it was right behind the deck board.
- I was able to physically remove the entire nest when I found it.
- After removing it, I applied a residual insecticide to the area and I replaced the board.
- Removing the nest is an ideal situation- sometimes you cannot remove the nest and you have to wait out the pupating adults to emerge until there are none left in the nest!
Grandkids And Yellowjackets
I was recently called out on a Friday to help eliminate a wasp nest that had attacked the homeowner and his grandkids in Dahlonega, Georgia.
They were convinced there were multiple nests, but after watching for a minute, I noticed the nest on a bright, sunny hill. The nest was so large that they had laid claim to his entire hill. In fact, they started swarming me as I pulled up in my pickup truck. This happens because the yellowjackets will investigate and attack perceived threats,
Most often, this is a loud piece of lawn equipment, or as in my case, a loud truck! I suited up, got my insecticide ready, and grabbed a shovel. Often, yellowjackets will make their homes in abandoned rodent nests. In this case, I could see the hole they were going in and out of. I sprayed what I could and began digging. At first I thought the nest must be a deep one after not finding the nest two feet into digging. I decided to expand the hole, and that is where I knew I hit pay dirt!
This nest consisted of multiple rings where larvae and pupae were developing. I made sure to drench the nest and to remove as much as possible. The clients were impressed we were able to eliminate the nest so quickly. There were plenty of foragers coming back to the nest, and as always, I made sure to tell them to keep the grandkids away for one to two days until the foragers left the nesting site!
“I usually find yellowjackets in bright, sunny areas. This is because most insects rely on sharp contrasts when orientating themselves in their environment. They can’t create a sharp image when looking around.- Andrew Taylor, BCE”
If you find yourself needing pest control and/or help with yellowjackets or other stinging wasps, contact Grace Valley Pest Control today! We service the Cumming, Dahlonega, Dawsonville, and Cleveland areas of Georgia. We offer commercial and residential services to fit your needs!