Encountering yellow jackets and hornets can turn your home’s outdoor experience into a nightmare. These stinging insects can pose risks to your well-being, especially during warmer months when they become more active. However, confronting them doesn't have to be scary. In this guide, we'll show you how to identify yellow jackets and hornets, provide effective do-it-yourself solutions for getting rid of these pests, and how to know when it's time to seek professional help.
How to Identify Yellow Jackets vs. Hornets
Distinguishing between yellow jackets and hornets is the first step towards effective elimination. Yellow jackets are smaller, with distinct bright yellow and black stripes. Most of the pest species are ground nesting where their soccer ball to basket ball-sized paper nests are usually suspended from overlying plant roots, logs, or landscape timbers.
Hornets, on the other hand, are larger, have a distinct black and white color pattern, and typically build aerial nests. This can vary from shrubs or vines at ground level to 66 ft or higher in trees. Nests may also be built on overhangs, utility poles, houses, sheds, or other structures. Nearly all nests are constructed in exposed locations.
Learning to differentiate their unique appearances, nesting habits, and behaviors allows you to accurately determine which pest is invading your home or property.
DIY Solutions for Yellow Jackets
When dealing with yellow jackets, strategic do-it-yourself methods can help keep their population in check. Start by eliminating potential food sources such as fallen fruits and open trash containers. Consider sealing entry points to your home and removing potential nesting sites such as old logs, abandoned rodent burrows, or gaps in siding.
If you want to eradicate the nest yourself, it should be done at night when most of the hornets are in the nest. Only background lighting should be used and full bee-keeper’s gear and clothing should be worn. Apply an appropriately labeled aerosol through the entrance hole at the bottom of the nest. For high nests a “bee pole” which allows application of the aerosol from the ground or a sizable distance away gives added safety for the applicator. The nest should be removed, placed in a plastic garbage bag, and discarded so that no emerging pupae can cause problems.
DIY Solutions for Hornets
Begin addressing hornet infestations by making your surroundings less appealing to hornets; remove fallen fruits, secure trash bins, and clear away potential nesting spots like hollow trees or unused equipment. Non-toxic repellents like mint or citrus-based solutions can deter hornets from frequenting your space.
If you want to eradicate the nest yourself, locate the nest and all of its entrances during the day, then plan to remove it at night. Start by spraying the entry holes to the nest with wasp spray from at least 20 feet away. Saturate the nest entry and leave it alone. Watch the nest for the next few days to ensure that the hornets are all dead, and repeat the spray as necessary.
When to Call a Professional
While DIY methods can be effective for minor infestations, certain situations necessitate professional intervention. If you discover a large and aggressive nest, especially one in a place that people frequent often, seeking the expertise of pest control professionals is crucial. Additionally, if you've attempted DIY solutions without success, or if you experience repeated infestations, a pest control specialist can ensure thorough eradication while adhering to safety protocols. Contact us today to get started!
Successfully managing yellow jackets and hornets requires appropriate identification, planning, and action. By accurately identifying these stinging insects, utilizing species-specific DIY strategies, and recognizing when professional assistance is required, you can regain control of your property and enjoy the peace of mind that comes with a pest-free space. Remember, safety should always be a priority when dealing with stinging insects, and selecting the appropriate approach guarantees a smooth and effective eradication process.