At first sight, the hornet’s large paper nest startles most of us, and for good reason. The inhabitants are very defensive of anyone within a few feet of their home and can pack a mighty wallop, stinging repeatedly if provoked. This is especially true for North America’s most common species, the bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculate), which is actually a member of the yellowjacket family.
From a safe distance, baldfaced hornet colonies are amazing feats of nature. They are started new each year (and never reused), growing up to three feet long over a few months. They house up to hundreds individuals that play important roles in the ecosystem, controlling other insect populations and pollinating many flowers and fruit plants.
However, if the nest is attached to your home or close to where you spend time outside, then it should be removed. But HOW it is removed depends on when you notice it.
The queen establishes the small nest in April or May, starting with maybe a dozen combs, each housing an egg that grows to adult within three weeks. The nest grows as she continues to add young queen and worker combs until late summer, followed by stingerless males around September.
If you notice the nest in a dangerous location during the late spring and early summer months, then you may be able to neutralize it yourself with the right store-bought product. But after a certain point, the safest option is to call in the professionals.
This is just one of many examples where members of Freedom Pest Control’s Gold Plan benefit. Our technician will most likely notice it during one of the seasonal inspections of your property, and take action then. But if the customer spies the nest between visits, then our technician will take care of the problem (or any other, for that matter) at no additional charge.
Yellow jackets, also known as wasps, are identified by their black and white markings and lack of hair on the body, like you might see on a honey bee. A yellow jacket doesn’t typically lose its stinger when stinging. This means that one yellow jacket can sting multiple times and can leave its victim in a great deal of pain and they are extremely dangerous to those that are allergic. Swatting at a yellow jacket or disturbing its nest is never a good idea!
Yellow Jackets in the Fall
People often associate all kinds of bees with the warm, summer weather. However, yellow jackets become more aggressive, and more likely to sting, in the fall. Here’s why:
Yellow jackets mate in the late summer. As the winter approaches, the males will begin to die off and the fertilized females will seek shelter. The females will begin building nests and laying eggs in the spring, continuing throughout the summer. Therefore, we typically start noticing the presence of yellow jackets in early July. However, by the late summer and early fall, the yellow jacket nests are at their fullest with upwards of 1,000 worker bees.
Yellow jackets eat fruit and plant nectar. They are also attracted to some human foods, including meats and sugary foods such as sodas, candy, and juices. In the fall, as their natural food sources begin to decline, they become more drawn to garbage receptacles, barbecues, and picnics.
A Dangerous Combination
Yellow jackets are especially dangerous at this time of year due to their high population, increased aggression, and declining food sources. In addition, a nest that has been built in or near your home poses more of a problem as the cold months roll in and the female yellow jackets prepare for hibernation.
Attempting to remove a yellow jacket nest or eradicating an infestation without proper training, gear, or tools can lead to very bad, and painful, results. We strongly recommend that a yellow jacket infestation be dealt with by professionals!
Please call Freedom Pest Control at 877-PESTS-55 to discuss treatment options and to schedule your free in-home estimate!