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yellow jacket


Eastern Yellow Jackets (sometimes misidentified as 'ground hornets') are generally beneficial insects because they prey on many various species of pest arthropods. However, they sometimes build their nests in close proximity to occupied structures or outdoor recreational areas which create the potential for a dangerous encounter. Yellow jackets will mount an aggressive, organized defense of their colony when disturbed.

Biology and Behavior

yellow jacket at rest

  • Adult yellow jackets are about 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch long, with queens being approximately 25% longer.

  • Their abdomen is colored with yellow and black bands distinctive to each species.

  • They fold wings longitudinally towards their abdomen when at rest.

  • They construct a carton (paper) nest underground in either naturally occurring soil voids or old rodent burrows or mole tunnels.

  • Their colonies can contain between 1000 and 4000 yellow jackets.

  • Yellow jackets do not possess barbed stingers like the honey bee, so each is capable of delivering multiple painful stings.

  • Only inseminated queens hibernate and survive the winter.

  • Overwintering queens may enter a living space during the fall or winter months seeking warmth, or in the spring when they are trying to get outdoors or locate a nesting site.

Yellow Jacket Prevention Tips

  • Control should only be attempted by a properly-equipped, experienced professional.

  • Control is most successful when done at night, as most of the foraging workers will have returned to the nest.

  • Once a nest site is discovered, avoid the area (especially keep pets and small children away, as a large number of stings could be life-threatening).

  • 2 to 3 days after the nest has been thoroughly treated and all yellow jacket activity has ceased in the area, the nest should be dug up and removed to avoid attracting other pests.

Action's Yellow Jacket Control Services


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