Garden Pest Control: Yellow Jackets & Wasps

Minimize the number of yellow jackets and wasps around your home with pest control sprays

Yellow Jackets - Yellow Jackets & Wasps

Various pest control products can help rid your home of colony-dwelling wasps. Wasps, hornets and yellow jackets can display aggressive behavior, so it is best to control where they set up their colonies around your home.  

This guide highlights the different types of wasp control products, along with information on their life cycle, nesting, precautions and sting treatments.

Life Cycle

Wasp colonies go as the queen wasp goes. Queens lay eggs at the end of summer and hibernate in winter. In the spring, the queen emerges and selects a new site and lays the foundation for the colony.

Queens can be up to three times larger than worker wasps or drones. Once she lays her eggs, she stays inside.
 
Workers forage for food while drones help the colony propagate. Worker wasps die in winter.
Once the queen sets up the colony in spring, she lays her eggs, and the colony grows, reaching its peak in summer. The workers then seek out sugary foods to power the colony’s activity.

  • Colonies can contain thousands of wasps.

Colony Elimination

Colonies can be located inside the walls of your home or in the ground. You can use sprays or bait to kill wasps, or try removing the nest.

  • In late summer, the colony population surge leads wasps to search for food, which brings them in contact with humans more often.
  • Sprays can be used to kill individual wasps while they are out searching for food.
  • For more numerous populations, install a properly baited trap downwind of your outdoor living area.
  • To remove a nest, consult a professional if it is located inside your home or in the ground.
  • For a more easily accessed nest, be sure to take special precautions to protect your eyes and face. Approach the nest either at dusk or dawn when wasps are less active.
  • Wasps are attracted to yellow light, so wrap a flashlight in red tape for illumination.

Precautions

Avoid aggressive movement with wasps and don’t go near nests unless absolutely necessary.

  • When left alone, wasps don’t generally cause problems. If one lands on you, remain still. Brush it off your body rather than attempting to smash it as squashed wasps release a pheromone that may induce other wasps to attack.
  • Avoid wearing perfume or scented hair care products if you are near wasps. They are drawn to scents, brightly colored clothes and floral patterns.
  • Wasps don’t lose their stinger and can repeatedly attack when threatened. Many types are highly aggressive and will act together to defend threats to their nest.

Sting Symptoms and Treatments

Stings can be unpleasant, but are treatable with basic first aid. For those who experience allergic reactions, it can be extremely dangerous and extra care will be needed.

Common Sting Symptoms

  • Confusion
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing/dizziness
  • Inflammation/itching
  • Seek immediate medical attention if symptoms are severe, if they persist or if stung in the mouth or throat


Treatments

  • Wash affected area with soap and water to help draw out the venom
  • Apply cold water, ice or a mixture of meat tenderizer and water and take a pain reliever
  • Take an oral antihistamine to reduce swelling
  • Use calamine lotion to minimize itching
  • Local pain
  • Shock
  • Vomiting
  • Welts