Do They Cause Damage?
Yellow jackets can cause damage in structures by chewing through drywall to expand a nest located in a wall void. Protective equipment is highly recommended as they will vigorously defend their nest, and like most wasps, can sting repeatedly! WARNING- Stings can produce a life-threatening reaction in sensitive individuals.
Do I Have An Infestation?
Yellow jackets are primarily cavity nesters and will build nests in the ground or in voids within buildings. Occasionally, when nesting in a building, they will break through drywall into living areas. This event is often preceded by the appearance of a wet spot on the wall or ceiling and the presence of a ‘Rice Crispy’ like crackling noise.
What Can Masters Touch Do?
The first step for control is to locate the nest. Ground nests can be located by watching the insect’s flight path and following it to the source. Nests in buildings can be more difficult as the yellow jackets can enter the structure several feet from where the actual nest is located. Specialized products can be used to treat nests in these situations.
How Can You Help?
General exterior maintenance such as repairing rotting or damaged soffits, fascia, siding, window and door frames, caulking cracks and sealing holes can help prevent them from nesting in buildings. Removing clutter, keeping wood piles off the ground and trimming high grasses can help prevent ground nests as yellow jackets will often use old rodent burrows as a starting point.
Nests begin with one fertilized queen which overwintered from the previous season. In early spring, she seeks a place to build her nest. After about 30 days, the first workers emerge and take over all the duties in the nest except egg laying. Bye late summer, nests can contain as many as 1000-4000 workers. As the season wanes, the nest will produce a number of queens which will mate and overwinter to the next season. Nests are rarely reused from season to season.