Yellowjacket info

Mary Whitney whitney at
Tue Jul 14 10:12:48 EDT 1998

My first childhood experience with yellowjackets was, believe it or not,
stomping around their door - which I do NOT recommend!  Luckily, I was
much fleeter of foot than I am now...

Anyway, a nest of yellowjackets must be treated with extreme respect,
obviously.  In the spring and summer, they are attracted to sweet
things, and are not aggressive unless threatened.  As fall approaches,
they are more attracted to proteins, and also rotting fruit.  That's why
Labor Day picnics are more difficult than Memorial Day ones!  This is
when they are aggressive, and can actually be drunk sometimes too - and
they are belligerent drunks!

As winter comes, many, if not most, will die off.  The queens remain to
begin anew next year.  So the workers will begin dying off after the
killing frosts, and can be VERY touchy (can you blame them?)

If you can finds ways to live with them, I recommend it.  If they are
dangerously close to an area you must use, you may need to remove the
nest.  This is difficult and very dangerous to do.  Probably the safest
thing (a hive's concerted attack on someone destroying the nest could
kill!) is to hire a professional pest removal company.  Ask around about
least poisonous methods.  There are some people who can do it with
ammonia, I've heard.  We actually used a family that collected them for
medical use (antivenin) and trapped them. Yikes!  I went away for the
afternoon, being a big chicken, but the nest was gone when I came back. 
They did not charge us - they got money for the yellowjackets
themselves. This was 10 years ago - I do not know if it is still done,
or what new methods may be available.  There have been no new nests
established near the house.  I believe they try to avoid heavily
trafficed areas.

Hope I have been of some help.

Mary Whitney
Rachel Carson Institute
Chatham College
Pittsburgh, PA  15232
whitney at

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