Why Yellow Jackets Thrive In The Fall◀ Back To Blog
September 2, 2014
All summer long, you might have seen three or four yellow jackets, but now, as fall begins, they seem to be everywhere. What makes them thrive in the fall, when everything is beginning to die? You never see yellow jackets in winter, so why are they trying to nest in the siding of your house now? Are they seeking a warm place to overwinter?
The answer is no. Only a fertilized queen will overwinter. If you're seeing several yellow jackets, most of those are males, and it is the queen who wants to spend the winter under your siding.
Here's how it works. The female emerges from her hibernation in spring, usually from an old log, stump, soil cavity, or man-made structure. She finds a nice place under an eave of your home or garage, or in a stump, or soil pocket in your lawn, and starts building a nest. By the end of summer her hive can grow to as many as 10,000 to 15,000 cells--that's 4,000 to 5,000 workers in that nest!
The chances of being stung grow significantly in fall, because there are more yellow jackets flying around, but also because food sources are running out. This makes them more aggressive. You'd be aggressive too if you were dying. Every year it is the same thing, all the males die off after the old queen kicks the bucket. New females and males leave the nest to mate, and fertilized females seek a place to overwinter. The fresh new males then die off, and yellow jacket season comes to an end.
To prevent stings in late summer or early fall, here are a couple things you can do.
Refrain from wearing that new floral perfume you just bought. Yellow jackets are attracted to sweet smells.
Don't leave any sweet liquids out. Yellow jackets love sugar water.
Keep your outside garbage covered.
Check all your screens, to make sure they're in good working order.
Check your door sweeps and weather stripping.
But the best way to prevent stings, is to have yellow jacket nests eradicated in summer. Professionals are able to treat your lawn, to prevent yellow jackets from building nests in the ground, and hunt for and eliminate any nests near, or in, your home. This kind of proactive treatment is the best way to have peace of mind.
If you decide to take on those yellow jackets by yourself, be careful. They are protective of their hives. They will swarm, and they can chase you for quite a ways. If that isn't bad enough, they can sting multiple times, without losing their stinger. If this job sounds a little daring for you then it is best to leave it to the professionals. A quality pest control company will have experts who are trained and equipped to handle such pests!