Although early fall is typically marked by the return of packed schedules and back-to-school activities, it is also marked by the annual, though far less popular, return of yellowjackets. During this season, yellowjacket colonies are fully matured and begin to prepare their queens for starting new colonies during the winter months. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) warns that yellowjacket activity, especially during this time, will become increasingly aggressive and continue to pose a major health threat.

Yellowjacket colonies typically live in large nests underground or built in deep, hollow areas such as eaves and attics. Yellowjackets are a resilient pest and if a nest is removed improperly, it is likely that members of the colony will not only survive but quickly rebuild their nest. Further, these pests feed on sweets and proteins, which make them common invaders of outdoor activities where food and beverages are present.

When a yellowjacket nest is disturbed or threatened, hundreds of yellowjackets will swarm to defend the nest, said Greg Baumann, senior scientist for NPMA. These types of attacks can pose a serious threat and, in fact, are responsible for a significant number of the 500,000 ER visits every year due to stinging insects. It is critical to not only prevent infestations but also to take the necessary action of calling a licensed pest professional if a nest should appear in or around your property.

If you suspect a yellowjacket infestation in or near your home, the NPMA offers homeowners these tips:

  • Do not attempt to remove the nest on your own or swing/swat at yellowjackets as this can cause an aggressive reaction and/or cause repeated stinging.
  • Keep windows and doors properly screened.
  • Promptly remove garbage and store it in sealed receptacles.
  • If stung and you have a reaction, seek immediate medical attention as reactions can be severe.

For more information regarding yellowjackets or to find a local pest professional, please visit:

NPMA, a non-profit organization with more than 5,000 members, was established in 1933 and in 2008 celebrates its 75th anniversary supporting the pest management industry™s commitment to the protection of public health, food and property.

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Meg Kane, 610-455-2746