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Yellow jackets are social insects that live in a nest. They are medium sized black wasps with yellow or white markings. Depending on the type of yellowjacket, they build aerial or subterranean nests. Aerial nests are built in trees, on utility poles, or house eaves. Subterranean nests are constructed in rodent burrows, tree cavities or ground holes. When a nest is disturbed yellow jackets can inflict multiple stings that are painful and may be life threatening to individuals hypersensitive to the venom. In late summer months when yellowjacket populations increase they can create a nuisance in parks by scavenging for food from picnic areas. They can cause structural damage to a home when they construct nests in walls or attics. Adults of some species are beneficial to man because they prey on flies and other insects.

YELLOWJACKET NESTS
Yellow jackets use vegetable fibers from trees and shrubs to produce a paper-like material for nest construction. Inside the nest is a series of suspended combs that contain cells where young are reared.The combs are enclosed inside one or more layers of a paper envelope. The surface of the envelope is gray with tan and yellow stripes and has a scalloped texture.

Nests contain three types of yellow jackets: Worker: forages for food, feeds young, nest construction. Queen: establishes nest, lays eggs. The Yellowjacket is primarily a scavenger and in the summer months adults are common around garbage receptacles in picnic areas. Nests are usually constructed in abandoned rodent burrows or in house walls and attics. Nests contain 500 to 5,000 workers and start to decline in late September to October. Common Yellowjacket (Vespula vulgaris) This yellowjacket can be a pest because adults are attracted to protein or sugar sources. This species is also considered a beneficial organism because workers prey on caterpillars and other insects. Nests are mostly subterranean but can be constructed inside house walls or in aerial locations. Nests are large and contain 500 to 5,000 workers. Nests remain active until September to December.

If you discover a yellowjacket nest:
AVOID THE AREA - Keep children and pets away from the nest
NOTIFY - A pest control company or governmental authorities
If you are attacked by yellow jackets
LEAVE AREA QUICKLY - Attack could last until victim vacates the area
COVER FACE - Use clothes to protect eyes and mouth from yellow jackets
First aid for yellowjacket stings
For any sting - Wash with soap and cold water
For allergic reactions - As soon as possible seek professional medical care and watch for breathing difficulties
For multiple stings or hypersensitive individuals - Immediately get professional medical care!
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