Also learn techniques for avoiding getting stung, dealing with nests and taking advantage of the pest eating services of wasps and the pollination services of bees. Pheromone traps can help reduce numbers of yellowjackets when used in May into summer. Planting lots of flowering plants can help support friendly, useful bees and other pollinators.
Yellowjackets eat some garden pests, but these little carnivores grow more aggressive in the fall and can disrupt outdoor activities.
- Keep garbage cans, picnic tables and other outdoor items clean. Keep lids on trash cans.
- Avoid bright colors and strong perfumes or colognes when in places where yellowjackets are plentiful.
- Cover food to avoid attracting the insects.
- At picnics, use pheromone traps from the nursery to lure wasps away from the table.
- If a yellowjacket drops by anyway, give it a moment to fly off or calmly brush the insect away.
About nest removal
Yellowjackets do not use the same nest for more than one season. If the nest is not in your way, consider leaving it alone. Yellowjackets are beneficial insects, so complete elimination should be only a last resort.
For safe nest removal, consider hiring a professional. Ask that they use pyrethrins rather than other types of chemicals. Some nests that hang from trees or roof overhangs can be removed by freezing rather than poisoning.
Some companies will remove yellow jacket and wasp nests and then sell the wasps to laboratories, which use the wasp venom to produce antidotes for those allergic to bee venom. Some beekeepers will move yellowjacket nests to less-populated areas, where the feisty predators can do more good than harm.
Note: Bees and other pollinators are in danger of serious decline because of pesticides, pests and habitat loss. You can help protect them by planting flowers (especially ones native to your area), and by avoiding pesticides.