Yellow Jackets are a type of predatory social wasp. They occur only in colonies, and can be distinguished by their rapid, side-to-side flight pattern right before landing. All female yellow jackets can sting. Yellow jackets are actually very important predators of pest insects. Yellow jackets can often be mistaken for bees, because of the similar color, but it’s important to understand that they’re not bees, they’re actually wasps. They’re stingers are barbed, and they often will sting repeatedly, unless their stinger becomes lodged and detaches from their body.
Every year as the weather gets colder, the entire colony of yellow jackets dies off, leaving just the queen to overwinter. In the spring, she’ll produce another colony, and the cycle is repeated every year. Male yellow jackets die shortly after fertilizing a female yellow jacket. This is why it’s most common to see yellow jackets during the summer, as the larvae have hatched and grown into adults, and the worker yellow jackets are gathering food for the rest of the colony. Yellow jackets eat mostly carbs and sugars, like flower pollen and tree sap.
Yellow jackets are easily agitated, and although one sting won’t cause you much harm, if you’re allergic or are stung multiple times it could be harmful. Because of their aggressive nature, it’s possible that they could sting you repeatedly.
If you see any sort of hive or nest belonging to wasps or hornets of any nature, it’s important that you don’t attempt to get rid of them yourself. Yellow jackets, especially in great numbers, could get you really hurt if you try to remove the hive yourself. If you see a yellow jacket nest in or around your home, it’s important to call a professional immediately. Stewart’s Lawn will gladly come and remove the hive safely and help prevent any further harm to you or your family.