As the hot drone of summer sets in, people are frequently thinking about nice weather and vacations. However, those are not the only things buzzing about summer. The return of sunshine also means the return of wasps and yellow jackets.
Personally, I have only been stung by a wasp once. My family and I were playing a riveting game of miniature golf, when all of a sudden I felt something on my leg. I was about to take my putt, so I blindly swatted at the mysterious presence. Almost immediately, a jolt of pain shot through my hand. As I looked around with tears in my eyes, I saw the wasp flying away, immune to my pain. Even though, I have only been stung once, I have always remained wary of wasps. I can’t imagine coming across anything like what this man in Florida found!
Jonathon Simkins encountered a monstrous wasp nest thought to contain upwards of one million yellow jackets. Being a bee/wasp removal expert, he decided to tackle the problem and rid the property of this six foot tall, eight foot wide menace. He suited up and went in to exterminate the yellow jackets. In the end, the nest was defeated, and he managed to walk away with only one sting on his chin.
In all reality, this man probably saved lives by removing the nest. Although, usually, they will not sting unless provoked, yellow jackets become increasingly aggressive as someone approaches their nest. Unlike bees, yellow jackets are able to sting multiple times. This can be deadly because each sting injects venom into the bloodstream. No more than an irritation in small amounts (unless you are allergic), this can be deadly if stung multiple times. In addition, once a person is stung, they can become hypersensitive making future stings worse.
Since they are extremely common across the United States, it is important to be familiar with this insect. The yellow jacket, or Vespula, is a social insect that lives in nests or colonies. They are black and yellow, slender, and have a stinger on the end of their abdomen. Each hive is founded by a lone queen that builds a nest and lays her eggs in the spring. During the summer, they can actually be beneficial because they feed on pests like caterpillars and flies that can ravage plants and gardens. Normally, the colony lasts one season; fertilized females are the only ones that can hibernate and survive the winter. Only in the southern United States, are yellow jackets able to thrive year round.
Unlike the story above, most of the time yellow jackets nests are about the size of a soccer ball and found inside or close to the ground. They also can be found in trees, logs, crevasses, hollow walls, attics, or anywhere where there is space. In the fall, the nests are abandoned and can be easily removed. Although wasps will not return to the same nest, other insects may move in if it is left alone.
While yellow jackets can be harmless if left alone, they sometimes will build their nest in a home or office. It is important to have them removed because there is a greater chance they will sting somebody, especially if the nest is near an entrance or popular space. In order to eliminate the hive, you first need to establish where they are and how they got there. If they are moving through a hole in the wall or ventilation, it is essential not to cover or block the opening because it will push the yellow jackets into other areas.
It might be necessary to contact your local pest specialist to ensure that the hive is removed with little damage to your building and its inhabitants.
If you encounter a yellow jacket problem, be sure to contact Ehrlich. Our pest control specialists are trained to identify and remove bees, wasps, yellow jackets and hornets.
What do you think of the million yellow jacket nest? Have you ever been stung by a wasp? Share your thoughts below in the comments!