How to Find a Yellow Jacket Nest?

how to find a yellow jacket nest

Yellow jackets are quite a constant Summer nuisance. They are often mistaken for bees, as their appearance is quite similar to a bee’s yellow and black stripes. However, these pesky members of the wasp family have an entirely different habitat, with more painful stings than that of a bee.

The Summer season offers a great time to enjoy your food outdoors. Since yellow jackets love food as much as humans, it is pretty normal to encounter them at picnics, barbecues, parties, etc.

When facing the yellow jacket nest problem in your home or property, time is of the essence, and you should consider removing these stingy insects as soon as possible.

However, before their removal, you should learn how to find a yellow jacket nest. In this article, we’re going to share with you a few easy ways to identify yellow jacket nests, as well as how to remove them from your home.

What Are Yellow Jacket Nests?

how to find a yellow jacket nest

Yellow jacket nests can be simply defined as a home to yellow jackets, which are similar to a hornet or a bee. However, unlike bees, these stingy insects have slim waists, and their wings fold lengthwise around their bodies when at rest.

These insects are highly aggressive, causing painful stings when defending their homes. For instance, if someone tries to remove their nests, they will become incredibly defensive and sting  in a group formation.

The sting from the yellow jackets causes an allergic reaction and requires immediate medical attention. This is why being extra cautious while finding and removing these yellow jacket nests is paramount.

You can usually find yellow jacket nests in walls, tree trunks, storm drains, and soil cavities.

How to Find a Yellow Jacket Nest?

Locating a yellow jacket nest is a time-consuming and challenging task that requires lots of patience. Usually, these stinging insects seek food sources close to their homes (not more than 1000 feet away).

They often build underground nests in a yard with dense vegetation or other enclosed holes. Below are a few ways to identify a yellow jacket nest inside your property.

Start Searching After 10:00am

Yellow jackets are often the most active from 10:00am to late afternoon (around 4:00 pm). The easiest way to find a yellow jacket nest is to track these wasps flying around towards their food source and ultimately their home.

However, if the weather is very hot or cold, the yellow jacket’s timeframe of activity will be shortened, as these stinging insects slow down their movement in extreme temperatures.

Look For Underground Nests

underground yellow jacket nest

Yellow jackets often build their homes partially underground or in wood piles and dense vegetation. Take a walk in your yard and try to find holes that look like rodent burrows and other enclosed areas where a yellow jacket nest might exist. If you notice a few yellow jackets flying around, or a large swarm protecting a specific entrance hole, you have made it to a yellow jacket nest.

Look for the Wasps Flying in a Straight Line

If you notice the yellow jackets flying in a straight line, know that they are moving towards their food source from their nests. You need to stand still and look for them, as all insects that fly in a straight path are visible under direct sunlight.

Observe closely. If you see more yellow jackets, you will eventually see them flying from their nests to the food source and back from the food source to the nest.

Attract the Yellow Jackets With Food

If it seems complicated to find a yellow jacket nest, try attracting the yellow jackets by keeping food outside in your yard. You can track their nests once they come out towards the food source. Put the food in a shallow dish where you suspect the nest, and wait.

Since yellow jackets love food, they will eventually show up wherever they find a food source, and you can track them moving back to their nests.

What food should you place to lure the wasps?

You can place protein baits like tuna-flavored canned pet food, ground meat, chicken, fish, cold cuts, etc.

However, in the Summer season, sugar baits work more effectively. During this time, you can place fruit juice, ice cream, fruit jellies, etc., to attract the yellow jackets.

Mark the Nests Once Found

As soon as you find a yellow jacket nest, mark it with spray paint and look for more. Do not poke a flag inside, as it might alert the yellow jackets, causing them to attack and sting you in defense of their home.

How to Treat a Yellow Jacket Nest?

yellow jacket nest

It is quite a complicated process to treat yellow jacket nests, as you need to take safety precautions and be extra cautious during the procedure. The following are a few tips on treating yellow jacket nests in your home or yard.

Wear Protective Gear

This is a crucial step when you decide to treat a yellow jacket nest. Wear long pants and full-sleeved clothing, and cover every inch of your skin before removing a yellow jacket nest. Covering every revealing skin area is necessary as the yellow jackets might sting you, which can cause an allergic reaction.

Clear All Food Sources

As mentioned earlier, yellow jackets are easily attracted to food. Clean all of the leftover food from any trash bins. Keep your yard clean and free from excess food, as this restricts the yellow jackets from building another underground nest near the food source.

Treat the Nest at Night

It is best to treat a yellow jacket nest at night when there is no sunlight. This is because yellow jackets have poor night vision, which makes it harder for them to attack or sting you. More often than not, they will be in their nests during the dark.

Keep the Wasp Traps Away From Your Property

how to find a yellow jacket nest

If you are using bait or wasp traps to kill the yellow jackets, consider keeping them away from your property so that any remaining ones do not enter your house or garden again.

Do Not Treat the Yellow Jacket Nests Yourself if You Are Allergic

If allergic to wasps or bees, avoid treating the yellow jacket nests yourself. It is always a good idea to call in professional pest control services like Active Pest Control to treat and remove the nests expertly.

How Do I Kill Yellow Jackets?

There are three most popular methods of killing yellow jackets commonly used throughout the world. Read on below to find the most suitable one for yourself.

Aerosol Wasp Killer

One of the most famous methods for killing yellow jackets is to use over-the-counter pyrethrum aerosol spray. You can simply spray the aerosol inside the yellow jacket nest, forming a gas cloud and killing all the stinging insects.

This method works best with aerial nests, usually hanging onto trees, poles, or house eaves.

However, you should do this only at night when the yellow jackets’ visibility is compromised, and they cannot attack or sting you. If you notice any yellow jacket escaping the nest, you can use insecticide dust over the entrance holes.

Yellow Jacket Bait Station

This method works best when applied in late summer to the spring season. Buy a yellow jacket bait station and place some meat and insecticide on it. The food source will attract the yellow jackets and eventually kill them all.

Wasp Traps

how to find a yellow jacket nest

If you cannot find a yellow jacket nest, using a wasp trap is the best way to trap the yellow jackets. These traps work great with underground nests and gopher holes. Like a bait station, you need to place a food source, such as fruit juice or pet food, onto the trap and wait for the yellow jackets to gather inside the web.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should I Do When Swarmed by Yellow Jacket Nests?

Yellow jackets may swarm you when you try to remove their nest. However, it is best to remain as calm as possible. If you panic and try to run in fear, it might increase the aggressiveness of the yellow jackets, and they might sting you multiple times.

Hence, remain calm and slowly walk inside your house, far away from the stinging insects.

What Should I Do When a Yellow Jacket Stings Me?

If you get stung by a yellow jacket, make a paste of meat tenderizer and water and apply it to the sting. Leave it for 15 minutes. You can also use ice cubes to minimize the sting effect.

Final Thoughts

If you are unsure how to find a yellow jacket nest or the nest is difficult to reach (inside of a wall), contact an expert pest control service to do the job. They will know how to treat the yellow jacket nests and keep your home safe. Otherwise, the methods stated above will help you successfully identify a nest. 

After coming across one, you should wait for nightfall and wear the proper protective gear before setting on your mission.

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