Watch Out for Yellowjackets!

Summer is here and so are annoying wasps.  Yellowjackets are the most common – those one-half to one-inch-long bright yellow wasps with black strips and their signature “narrow” waist. Yellowjackets prey on other insects and scavenge on human food and garbage.  They will fiercely defend their nests – in holes in the ground, inside wall cavities or hanging gray paper-looking ones, though are more likely to sting if disturbed while foraging. They are capable of repeatedly stinging without dying if they feel threatened. About 90% of all stings are likely caused by yellowjackets. 

Prevention is the best way to avoid problems:

  • Keep foods, including pet food, covered or indoors
  • Cover soda cans outdoors so wasps don’t crawl in
  • Keep garbage in sealed cans and empty regularly
  • Pick up and dispose of ripe fruit

You can easily trap yellowjackets by hanging traps along the perimeter of your property. Place traps away from areas, such as picnic tables, where people congregate. You can make your own with bait hung on a string just above a container of soapy water.

If a yellowjacket lands on you, don’t swat it or run. Wait for it to leave, or gently brush it away.

Don’t disturb nests. Wasps flying from a hole in the ground, or a building indicate a probable nest. Here’s how to find an underground nest.  If you identify a yellowjacket nest in the ground, contact Marin Sonoma Mosquito and Vector Control District; they will come and destroy the nest at no charge.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Scroll to Top