It is easy to mistake a Yellow Jacket for a bee, however they are actually wasps and far more ferocious than a humble bumble bee. Yellow Jackets lack the fuzzy coating of hair on their bodies and do not have the flat and fuzzy hind legs of bees which are used to carry pollen.
The Yellow Jacket can be harmful or even lethal. Knowing a little about this wasp might be a good idea as we are now in the active time of the year for this insect. Yellow Jackets are venomous wasps. They get their name from their yellow markings.
Most Florida Yellow Jackets build underground nests, although they can also be found above ground. The nests are surrounded by a paper envelope. Inside the envelope are combs with cells, similar to bee cells. The normal nest will usually have from 75 to 5000 workers. Some nests here in Florida have been measured at 6 to 9 feet tall, with up to a million workers.
The Yellow Jacket will feed on protein and carbohydrates. They love to visit garbage cans, and enjoy rotting fruit, spoiled meat, and soft drinks. Sanitation and a tight fitting garbage can lid can minimize the chance of a nest forming in that area.
The Yellow Jacket can inject a very painful venom into the skin. The stinger is not barbed so one Yellow Jacket worker can sting repeatedly. The normal reaction to a sting involves swelling in the effected area and usually happens within 2 to 3 hours. In some people the sting can be deadly in 15 to 30 minutes if they are allergic to the wasps venom. Others may succumb to the sheer number of stings. Generally about 1500 stings will kill an adult male. A young child would be at severe risk with only 300 to 400 stings.
Humans often unknowingly may disturb their nest, which results in a vicious retaliation. If you come upon a Yellow Jacket nest, do not disturb it or make any loud noises near the nest! There have been instances when sounds and vibrations coming from lawn mowers have triggered an attack, even from a fair distance. They will attack when aggravated. Caution children about playing in overgrown areas. These are prime nesting grounds.
If you come across a Yellow Jacket nest, warn others and stay away. Call a professional extermination company. This is a dangerous and possibly deadly task for an amateur.
For more information regarding licensed Yellow Jacket exterminator services in Temple Terrace, FL and surrounding areas, call Safari Pest Control. We are licensed and insured. It's a jungle out there!