They’re back and it’s only April! Yes, these nasty critters are waking up, building their nests and getting ready for another season of mayhem in backyards and communities around the country. As anyone who engages in outdoor activities knows, if there is food and drink around yellowjackets are sure to be nearby.
Countless thousands of people are stung by yellowjackets suffering few consequences except a painful, swollen area where they were stung. For that reason alone, it too easy to ignore them, however that can be a big mistake. Yellowjackets can also be deadly. As many as 100 people die from their stings every year.
This bears repeating. Even if you have been stung in the past, suffering no consequences, that does not mean the same will hold true in the future. In other words, the next sting could be the one leading to serious consequences.
The biggest concern is if a person experiences a severe allergic reaction to a sting leading to anaphylactic shock. If you don’t know, when a person goes into anaphylactic shock they can experience difficulty breathing, swelling of the throat, a rapid drop in their blood pressure, hives and diarrhea.
Here are five things you need to know about yellowjackets during the warm months.
- Yellowjackets are aggressive. They are scavengers willing to sting around food and soft drinks. Unlike bees, yellowjackets can and will sting a person or animal multiple times.
- Yellowjacket nests can be found in a variety of places. They build their nests in-ground and near the base of trees, behind interior and exterior walls of homes, under pine straw, in lawns and numerous places around your home where they have access to food and water.
- People and animals can accidentally swallow yellowjackets. This can be very serious because a yellowjacket has the capacity to continue stinging after being swallowed. If EMT's have been called, they need to know a yellowjacket may have been swallowed by the person reacting badly to the sting.
- A person who has been stung should be watched for 3 hours or more to see if an allergic reaction is triggered by the sting. This is particularly important if a child or pet has been stung.
- It is better, when possible, to shoo a yellowjacket away rather than stomping on them. When yellowjackets are crushed they emit a chemical that can trigger other yellowjackets to get excited and attack.
Consider putting out yellowjacket traps as soon as possible. There are several methods for removing them from your immediate area. The WHY traps are very effective but can be costly if you are using multiple traps around your yard throughout the warm months.
There are several DIY methods of getting rid of yellowjackets that require little more than a 2 liter plastic bottle, fruit juice and some kind of protein. A product worth looking into is called the Fatal Funnel. It is inexpensive and attracts yellowjackets so they cannot escape.
One final point; make yourself less attractive to these critters by not wearing perfumed scents or bright colors when you know in advance that they may be nearby.