Yellow Jackets

Illustration of a Yellow Jacket.
Illustration of a Yellow Jacket.
Close up of an adult yellow jacket on a flower.
Wasps and bees eating a watermelon slice.
A man standing behind a very large yellow jacket nest.
Yellow jacket nest on the ground.
Group of yellow jackets on a leaf.

Yellow jackets are aggressive, stinging wasps known for relentless scavenging at picnics and outdoor events. Frequently mistaken for honey bees, they often establish very large colonies close to human dwellings. Some species build papery, comb-like nests above ground, but others nest in ground cavities or surprising locations, such as keyholes and gas cap compartments. They also find openings into homes and establish large colonies in attics or wall and ceiling voids.

Yellow Jacket Identification: A variety of yellow jacket species exist in the United States, but most types measure near 1/2 inch long. Unlike fuzz-covered honey bees, yellow jackets have hard, glossy, nearly hairless bodies. Markings differ depending on the species, but they include alternating yellow and black abdominal bands, spots, triangles and other shapes.

Signs/Damage of Yellow Jackets: Yellow jackets can cause minor home damage when nesting, but their greatest threat comes in the form of stings. Unlike a honey bee, which can only sting once, a yellow jacket can sting people and pets repeatedly. When injured or alarmed, these wasps also emit a chemical that signals other yellow jackets to converge and sting. The painful stings can be life-threatening for some individuals.

How to Control Yellow Jackets: When treating yellow jackets, wear heavy protective clothing, including a hat, gloves and eyegear. Treat during late evening or early morning hours, when yellow jacket activity is low. GardenTech® brand offers several highly effective options to kill yellow jackets by contact and protect treated areas for up to three months. These non-staining products treat lawns, edible and ornamental gardens, and areas around your home, including foundations up to a maximum height of 3 feet:

  • Sevin® Insect Killer Concentrate, used with a pump-style sprayer, provides an economical option for treating nests, ground holes and areas yellow jackets frequent. Measure concentrate with the easy-to-use measuring cap. Then add water, mix well and spray thoroughly.
  • Sevin® Insect Killer Ready to Spray, used with a regular garden hose, simplifies quick, thorough coverage for lawns, gardens, foundations and other outdoor areas. The convenient container does the mixing and measuring for you. Cover all targeted surfaces thoroughly as you spray.

Tip: If you suspect a yellow jacket colony in a wall or ceiling void, use caution and consult a pest professional. Large, concealed colonies have been found to contain tens of thousands of yellow jackets.

Always read product labels and follow the instructions carefully, including pre-harvest intervals on edible crops.

GardenTech is a registered trademark of Gulfstream Home and Garden, Inc.

Sevin is a registered trademark of Tessenderlo Kerley, Inc.

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