Late summer and early fall are prime yellowjacket season.Clark, your friendly pest control, mosquito, termite, and grounds care expert, would like to make sure that you are aware of the potential dangers these pests can present to people and pets.
According to the National Pest Management Association, allergic reactions to insect stings send more than 500,000 people to the emergency room annually.
If you need more evidence, a report in the Journal of Asthma and Allergy revealed that systemic allergic reactions to insect stings affect up to five percent of the population. Up to 32 percent of beekeepers will be affected by systemic allergic reactions to insect stings. Although it is rare, these reactions can be fatal.
While some stinging insects are beneficial to our environment, others – including yellowjackets, carpenter bees, wasps, and hornets – can pose a threat to people and structures. It’s important to take the proper precautions to protect yourself and your family.
Yellowjackets are mostly scavengers that are attracted to garbage cans, pet food bowls, soda cans, overripe fruit, and sugary foods.
Researchers at the University of California’s Agriculture and Natural Resources division say that yellowjackets’ behavior gets more aggressive in the fall as populations peak in size and their food sources become scarce.
Yellowjackets can nest in a variety of locations in and around homes, including trees, bushes, gutters, sheds, building overhangs, decks, and in the ground. Inside a home, they can create nests in wall voids, attics, and crawlspaces. A well-developed colony can be home to upward of 5,000 insects.
If you come across a nest, proceed with caution. Removal of any stinging insect nest is not a do-it-yourself job, and should be done by a licensed pest management professional.
Tips to lessen stinging insect threats
Clark Pest Control recommends that you follow these tips to lessen the threat posed by certain species of stinging insects, and to protect your family and pets from potentially harmful stings:
- Awareness is key: Yellowjackets like to build nests in hollow spaces, which can include holes in the ground. As you walk in your yard or the park, watch for holes. Avoid walking on or disturbing their nests.
- Check before drinking: Yellowjackets like sweet, sugary substances like spilled soda and food. Keep your drinks covered when spending time outdoors this time of year, and before you take a sip, look in your cup or straw first.
- Seal trash and food: Uncovered trash cans and food, especially meats, are yellowjacket magnets. As natural predators of caterpillars and flies, yellowjackets like meat as much as the next carnivore. You can expect to find yellowjackets around garbage cans or recycling bins, or when grilling meats.
- Don’t force a confrontation: Walk away quickly in a straight line. Swatting and jumping around will only bring more attention. Separating yourself from the yellowjacket in a determined way is important, because unlike honey bees that often eviscerate themselves when stinging, yellowjackets will sting repeatedly.
- Clean up regularly: Clean up spills on outdoor dining and food preparation surfaces, and regularly empty garbage cans and wash recycling bins to remove sugary residue from soda and beer cans and food containers that yellowjackets favor.
Got questions about stinging insects? Call Clark
If you’ve encountered stinging insects or spotted a nest in or around your home, call California’s trusted, friendly pest control expert at (800) WE-NEED-YOU (936-3339) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, the pest management professionals at Clark Pest Control thank you for helping to keep unwanted pests out of your home and yard.