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Yellow Jackets in Summer: What You Need to Know

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As the summer sun warms the DMV area, it brings an increase in outdoor activities - and, unfortunately, an uptick in yellow jacket activity. These aggressive, stinging insects can pose significant challenges for homeowners and outdoor enthusiasts. At PestNow, we want to ensure you can enjoy your summer safely and comfortably, so we've made a list of things you need to know about yellow jackets during the summer months.

Understanding Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are social wasps living in colonies, which can include thousands of members by late summer. Unlike passive bees, yellow jackets are known for their aggressive behavior, especially when disturbing nests. They are easily identifiable by their yellow and black striped bodies and tend to build their nests in concealed areas like underground burrows, wall voids, or eaves of buildings.

Why Are Yellow Jackets More Active in Summer?

Summer is the peak season for yellow jacket activity for several reasons:

  1. Colony Growth: Yellow jacket colonies are at their largest in late summer. The queen has been laying eggs since spring, resulting in a booming population by mid to late summer.

  2. Defensive Behavior: As the colony grows, yellow jackets become more protective of their nests. They are highly territorial and will aggressively defend their home against perceived threats, increasing the likelihood of stings.

  3. Food Sources: Yellow jackets are scavengers and predators. During summer, they actively hunt for protein sources like insects and caterpillars to feed their developing larvae. They are also attracted to sugary foods and drinks, which makes them frequent uninvited guests at picnics and barbecues.

Preventing Yellow Jacket Encounters

To reduce the risk of yellow jacket encounters and stings, follow these tips:

  1. Secure Food and Drinks: When eating outdoors, keep food and drinks covered. Yellow jackets are attracted to sugary foods and drinks and protein-rich foods like hamburgers and steak, so keeping these items sealed can help deter them.

  2. Clean Up Immediately: Clean up spills and dispose of garbage promptly. Yellow jackets have an impressive ability to detect food sources from up to several hundred feet away. Their keen sense of smell allows them to quickly hone in on potential food sources making it essential to keep items well-covered and disposed of properly.

  3. Avoid Bright Colors and Scents: Yellow jackets are attracted to bright colors and floral scents because they resemble flowers and fruit. Wearing neutral colors and avoiding strong perfumes can help reduce your attractiveness to wasps.

  4. Inspect Your Property: Regularly check for nests around your home, especially in sheltered areas like eaves, attics, and wall voids. Early detection can prevent a small problem from becoming a large one.

  5. Hire a Pest Control Company: PestNow specializes in controlling yellow jacket infestations to ensure your and your loved ones' safety. Our expert technicians start with a thorough inspection to locate nests and identify problem areas. We remove nests and apply treatments to prevent future infestations using effective methods.

What to Do If You Encounter a Nest

If you discover a yellow jacket nest on your property, it's best to avoid trying to remove it yourself. Yellow jackets can become extremely aggressive when their nest is threatened. When a yellow jacket is threatened or injured, it releases alarm pheromones, which signal nearby yellow jackets to the presence of a threat, prompting them to come to the defense. Let the professionals handle it. PestNow's technicians have the expertise and equipment to safely and effectively remove yellow jacket nests, ensuring your home and family are safe.

Enjoy a Yellow Jacket-Free Summer with PestNow

Summer should be a time for relaxation and outdoor fun, not worrying about yellow jackets. At PestNow, we offer comprehensive pest control services to protect you and your family from these aggressive insects. Whether you need an inspection, nest removal, or ongoing pest management, we've got you covered.

Don't let yellow jackets spoil your summer. Contact PestNow today for a free consultation, and let us help you enjoy a sting-free summer.