yellow jacket sting

Yellow jacket stings and how to avoid them this summer

Summer is approaching quickly and as it does, thoughts of warm beaches, soft serve ice cream, and picnics in the park began to swarm our mind. Speaking of swarming, our brightly-colored friend the yellow jacket also enjoys the warm weather, especially the late summer months into the fall. Yellow jackets, a type of wasp, are found all over the United States, including dozens of different species. One of the more aggressive species is the Western Yellow Jacket, which tends to be particularly protective of its nest when disturbed.

These intimidating pests are likely to be found in rodent burrows at ground level, but can also make their nests inside house walls and porch ceiling cavities. Removal of these insects is a dangerous task. As previously mentioned, yellow jackets do not handle a home invasion well. If you have a yellow jacket nest near or inside your home, it’s best to leave it to the pest control professionals. Attempting to remove the nest yourself will put you and your family in great danger of being stung and may not prove effective in eliminating the issue entirely. Western Exterminator has wasp control specialists who will be able to safely remove these pests from your property and can also provide tips for preventing them from entering your space again. Contact your local Western Exterminator office today.

Do yellow jackets sting or bite?

Yellow jackets are part of the stinging insect family. This means that instead of having sharp teeth like other pests, they have a sharp stinger that is located in their lower abdomen.

Fun fact: only the female yellow jacket stings because she is the only one who has a stinger, males do not.

Once the insect attacks, the stinger enters the skin, and venom is released. Although painful, the bite is typically not particularly harmful to the human body. However, if you have never been stung by this type of pest before, it is important to keep an eye on the area where the yellow jacket has stung you. There is a possibility that you may be allergic to the sting.

yellow jacket sting

Do yellow jackets lose their stinger?

The yellow jacket stinger is not jagged. Consequently, it stays attached, allowing the insect to sting its victim multiple times in a row. Because the stinger stays attached, yellow jackets do not die after stinging as honeybees do.

What to do once you are stung by a yellow jacket

The main question people usually ask after getting stung is: how long do yellow jacket stings last? Most of the time inflammation and pain from a yellow jacket sting will fade away within a couple of days. As quickly as possible you will want to wash the stung area with soap and water to get rid of as much left over venom as possible. Using a medical disinfectant may also be helpful. Next, put an ice pack on the sting and rest the irritated area. If you notice any signs indicating an allergic reaction to the sting, including nausea, vomiting, or shortness of breath, call a doctor immediately. If you have been stung multiple times by one or more yellow jackets, consider seeking medical attention as well.

How to avoid being stung again

Sometimes yellow jacket stings can be unavoidable. You are so focused on having fun in the sun, that you don’t always see them coming. However, there are some tips to help you avoid the fearsome pests in the first place.

1. Stay calm. Although the most difficult step, it is crucial to not react with any sudden movements when you see yellow jackets. Movements such as flailing your arms around will irritate the pest and cause it to attack multiple times. Take a deep breath and try to walk away from the area as slowly as possible.

 2. Cover any open food or drinks. This tip especially applies to outdoor picnics. Yellow jackets are able to sneakily crawl into an open bag of chips or can of soda without you even noticing. It also doesn’t hurt to inspect food and drink items before ingestion.

3. Avoid strong, highly sweet smells. This includes intensely scented perfumes, lotions, and shampoos.

4. Avoid bright colors. Refrain from wearing bright colors (especially yellow) and busy floral patterns.

5. Keep clean. Wipe hands, faces and outdoor surfaces to ensure that any food/drink residue isn’t left behind.

yellow jacket nest

Why do yellow jackets sting?

It is important to understand why yellow jackets sting. The main duty of the female wasp is to protect her nest. If she feels threatened in any way, naturally, she will attack. The second reason a wasp female will sting is if you are interfering with her food source. The more we know about yellow jacket behaviors the less we will fear them. Stay calm around them and leave any interactions to the professionals.

Hopefully, you now feel fully equipped to face the outdoors this summer and the bothersome pests that come along with it. If you have already located a live yellow jacket nest inside or on your property, don’t hesitate. Call us today at 888-444-6138.

Danielle Morales

Danielle Morales is a Digital Marketing Coordinator for Rentokil North America. She specializes in social media content generation as well as curating blog content for Western Exterminator Company's website. When not at work she can be found spending time with family, exploring new cafes in Chicago, and shopping.

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