How to Get Rid of Yellow Jackets
Summary: To learn how to get rid of yellow jackets you need to understand how they nest and reproduce. Knowing their habits will help you get rid of bothersome yellow jackets.
If you can locate the hole where the wasps are entering you can treat the hole with Tempo 1% Dust. The product comes with an applicator tip on the bottle. Dust the hole at night when the wasps are inside. Do not close the hole for several days until all wasp activity has stopped. The wasps come in contact with the dust as they exit or enter the hole and they die.
Yellow jackets feed on other bothersome pests like flies. So, they are not totally bad. Plus, yellow jackets pollinate, too. They are not as efficient as honey bees because their bodies do not posses the furry hairs of a honeybee, but they do a great deal of pollinating in spite of this physical shortcoming.
There are a lot of misconceptions about yellow jacket nests. Most think that all yellow jackets die with the onset of cold weather. It is true that all the workers expire with cold weather, but, depending upon the overall size of the nest, females that have been fertilized will escape the dying nest to find shelter during the cold weather. If the fertilized female yellow jacket wasp successfully waits out the cold she will escape her hideaway as warm weather returns and she will begin life as the queen of a new colony.
Sometimes, these fertilized female wasps will have to move their hiding location if it becomes too cold. They move towards inside walls to find additional heat. Often, they escape into the living space of a home and homeowners panic, thinking they have an active wasp nest. Once inside, the wasps quickly die because they cannot find a source of nectar to restore needed energy. A simple insect knockdown spray like Wasp Freeze will kill them on contact.
The new queen must start from scratch. She builds a small nest in an abandoned rodent burrow or at the base of a rotting tree. Sometimes she finds her way back to an area nearby the nest she fled the previous year, but she does not re-occupy the old nest. Her initial egg laying brings forth a new generation of sterile female workers. The queen continues her egg laying of worker eggs through half of the season when the nest population has risen to thousands of worker wasps. Only then will the queen start to lay fertilized female eggs which will turn into the following season's new queens. She also lays unfertilized eggs which will be hatched as males. Those males will mate with the fertilized females and die shortly there after. And the cycle repeats itself.
In warmer climates the worker wasps may not die after a single season. This gives birth to the super-cell wasp nest with tens of thousands of resident wasps. Some of these nests have been discovered filling much of an attic space, unbeknownst to the homeowner. A clear and present danger, to be sure. It is not until the onset of cooler weather, when fertilized female wasps accidentally find their way inside a house, does the homeowner become aware of a problem. At this point it's a bit late to worry about the whereabouts of the remaining well-hidden fertilized females. Instead, an effort should be made to search for the nest. This is especially important when a nest becomes inactive because that now-dead nest is a big attraction for insects like carpet beetles, which feed on the carcasses of other dead insects.
You might think that having another insect clean up the mess left behind by the departed yellow jackets is a good thing, and, at first, it might be. But, when the food source has been devoured, those same scavenging insects go looking for a new food source. Now it's time to reflect. If those scavenging insects were eating the fur and skin of the dead yellow jackets, what might they seek out as food inside your home? The answer is woolens, silk good, furs and leather goods.
So you can see why it is important not to simply ignore the fact that you have a hidden empty yellow jacket nest in some well-hidden cavity inside a wall, attic, under siding or a dozen other possible places. Watch for signs of yellow jacket activity and observe the exterior of your home during the late afternoon when the wasps are turning to their nest for the evening. Use binoculars to observe from a safe distance. In indoor areas that are difficult to get to you should use a strong flashlight and an inspection mirror with a long extension handle to help you see around corners.
Be careful not to put yourself into a place where you cannot make a hasty retreat if necessary. This may be one of those times that you call on a professional to help. They have bee suits that protect them and an experienced pro has the experience to know where to look.