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Summer Picnics in Maryland Mean One Thing: Yellowjackets

Yellowjackets are aggressive pests located throughout Maryland. Whether you’re having a cookout on your deck or eating an ice cream cone on the boardwalk, yellowjackets can ruin a fun moment (and sting you) in seconds. Every year, yellowjackets bother Maryland homeowners and lead to thousands of painful stings and emergency room visits.

Yellowjacket 101

Yellowjackets are small, yellow and black-striped, winged insects that feed off of rotting protein sources, sugary foods, and other insects. In the spring, they use insects for fuel. However, when hive construction is in full swing in the summer, the food source will switch over to things commonly found on your picnic blanket—sweet sodas, sugary juices, carb-rich breads and sticky popsicles.

Yellowjacket stings are very painful and can have serious health consequences for anyone allergic to them. These insects are widely considered to be the most aggressive stinging pests in Maryland, as they require little to no reason to attack. Unlike bees, these insects can sting multiple times before dying. If you aren’t sure what to look for, you might mistake these harmful pests for bees due to the yellow and black stripes. However, yellowjackets are smooth where bees are fuzzy.

Where Are Yellowjackets Found?

Yellowjackets make homes in a variety of places, including:

  • Underground in a rodent hole
  • Wall voids
  • Rotting logs, decks or porches
  • Shrubs and bushes
  • Houses
  • Sheds
  • Old cars
  • Stationary yard objects

These insects are most active during the day and the late summer and early autumn. Yellowjackets are familiar sights at cookouts and picnic areas because there is so much food for the colony. Open cans of soda are common targets for yellowjackets, who will slip inside for a snack and give you a nasty surprise when you take a sip.

How Can You Get Rid of Yellowjackets?

First, you should not threaten the yellowjackets in any way. Whenever the insect feels threatened, a pheromone will be released to alert other yellowjackets in the area of an attack. Don’t panic if a yellowjacket gets near you. Instead, calmly walk away and don’t swat at them. Yellowjacket nests should not be left to DIY pest control due to the high risk of being stung during removal. You should call the pest control professionals at Brody Brothers to take care of any nests or suspected nests on your property.