General Info
  • Yellow jackets are aggressive scavengers, and they are often encountered during cookouts or other outdoor activities
  • High numbers can also be found near trash receptacles and dumpsters
  • Many people are stung when they step on hidden ground nests as they mow their lawn or perform other outdoor activities
  • Yellow jackets are found throughout the U.S. but seem to be less common in the drier parts of the country
  • Yellow jackets can sting many times and do not usually die after stinging
  • Once stung by a yellow jacket, an “attack pheromone” is released that excites nearby yellow jackets to also sting the victim
Where They Nest
  • Queens build nests underground, in aerial paper nests, or in hollow openings in buildings, such as the insides of soffits or under siding
  • Yellow jackets are most often seen twice a year: in May, when the over-wintering queen emerges to start a new colony, and then again in July-October when foraging worker numbers are large
Why They’re A Problem
  • Yellow jackets don’t go out of their way to bother humans, but when disturbed, they will sting as an attempt to defend their nest
  • Some people can have severe allergic reactions to yellow jacket stings – these people should get immediate medical attention
Tips & Tricks
  • In the spring, place a trap along the perimeter of your yard to catch the queen and keep the new colony from establishing
  • When eating outside, bring out the food just before you are ready to eat, cover it up during the meal, and put it back inside after eating
  • Restrict access into the home by closing doors and windows
  • Always look for yellow jackets before drinking from open beverage containers outdoors
  • Make sure that all garbage containers are closed tightly and that recycled materials have been rinsed out before being put in the bin


Yellow-Jacket size bar

1/2 to 3/4 inches long


Commonly Mistaken for

The following bugs match your description