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What to Do When a Wasp or Yellow Jacket Chases You

Maryland wasp on a flower near a hat

You’re minding your own business enjoying the beautiful weather outdoors when you notice a wasp or yellow jacket flying around. Your first instinct is to run away from it, but it starts flying after you!

Why do wasps and yellow jackets chase you?

The answer is simple: they feel threatened and are protecting their nests.

Wasps aren’t particularly cruel creatures who want to chase or sting you. However, if they feel that they are in danger, they will do anything to protect themselves.

Yellow jackets, on the other hand, are more aggressive than wasps and will definitely chase you if they feel threatened.

So, what should you do if a wasp or yellow jacket chases you, and how do you avoid them? We’ll tell you everything you need to know below.

Why Do Wasps and Yellow Jackets Chase You?

Wasps and yellow jackets will chase you when they feel their nests are in danger. They step up their defense and will do anything necessary to remove the threat from the vicinity of the nest or to escape – including stinging you.

However, if you encounter a wasp and start to run away, it is more inclined to chase you because you’re creating more movement. Yellow jackets will instinctively chase you if you’re near their nest.

How to Identify a Wasp Nest

One way to avoid being chased by a wasp is to know how to identify their nests. A wasp nest’s size can range from a golf ball to the size of a small vehicle. They are dull gray or brownish in color and often tucked in trees or corners of homes.

You can identify a wasp nest because it’s open. Oftentimes, you can see the combs exposed.

Never bother or touch a wasp nest. This will definitely result in a chase and potentially a swarm of wasps coming after you.

How to Identify a Yellow Jacket Nest

Yellow jacket nests look different compared to a wasp nest. They are often hidden either between walls or in the nooks of houses. However, a yellow jacket nest can also be hidden underground.

You can identify yellow jacket nests underground due to the large hole it creates in the dirt. Be very careful not to step on or near this hole. Vibrations from lawnmowers can also disturb the yellow jackets inside.

The physical features of a yellow jacket nest include a gray or brown color. The exterior also has a wavy texture to it.

What to Do if a Wasp Chases You

If you see a wasp flying near you, do not start running away or swatting at it!

It’s probably your first reaction to getting away from the wasp as fast as possible, but this just makes the situation worse. In fact, when you start running from the wasp, that’s when it will start to chase you.

So, if you see a wasp, simply stand as still as possible. Wasps are known for going on their way without bothering humans if they don’t bother them.

If you are chased by a wasp or even a swarm of wasps, the best thing to do is to run in a straight line about 50 to 100 feet. They don’t often venture farther than that from their nest to protect it.

What to Do if a Yellow Jacket Chases You

Yellow jackets are known to be much more aggressive than wasps. They will pick a fight with you for no reason. Therefore, standing still when a yellow jacket is getting feisty is not your best option.

Instead, run as fast as you can away from the yellow jacket. The average person can definitely outrun a yellow jacket, but you may need to run a fair distance. Some yellow jackets have chased people up to a mile.

Do not run inside your home or a business. The yellow jackets will most definitely follow you into buildings.

Do not jump in water with hopes that the yellow jackets will lose interest. They will hover above the surface and wait patiently for you to come up for air.

How to Avoid Attracting Wasps and Yellow Jackets

The best way to avoid being chased by wasps and yellow jackets is to avoid attracting them in the first place. There are quite a few ways you can do this.

A bunch of wasps enjoying sweet jelly on a plate

Don’t Leave Food Out

Bugs, especially wasps and yellow jackets, are attracted to food left out. They love the smell of rotting food, particularly if it’s sweet and sticky.

Make sure to cover any food or drinks you have outside or in your home if you tend to leave your doors and windows open.

Seal Trash Cans

Your trash cans outside should have a lid that seals tightly around the opening. Since there is old and rotting food in there, it’s a feasting ground for wasps and yellow jackets. A tight lid will keep them from entering the trash can and giving you a surprise when you take it out.

Don’t Wear Bright Colors or Perfume

When you’re sitting outside in your yard or a park, avoid wearing bright colors and sweet perfume. Wasps, bees, and yellow jackets are drawn to both of these.

Stay Away from Nests

If you see a wasp or yellow jacket nest, do not approach it. When they feel their habitat is threatened, they will chase you away to protect it. It’s only natural!

Grow Certain Plants

There are some plants that have proven to keep wasps and yellow jackets away. Grow them in your garden or around your yard to ward off these stinging insects.

Plants that keep wasps and yellow jackets away include:

  • Wormwood
  • Spearmint
  • Thyme
  • Lemongrass
  • Pennyroyal
  • Eucalyptus

You can also use peppermint oil to keep yellow jackets away from certain parts of your home or yard.

What to Do When You See a Wasp or Yellow Jacket Nest

If you see a wasp or yellow jacket nest in your home or yard, call a professional exterminator to come and get rid of it. While a wasp sting may be an annoyance, yellow jackets are known to sting you repeatedly and even send some people into anaphylactic shock.

Brody Brothers Pest Control is Baltimore’s leading exterminator. We use professional equipment and proven tactics to remove wasp and yellow jacket nests safely and effectively from your property.

Contact us to schedule a consultation to get rid of nests on your property and avoid being chased by wasps and yellow jackets once and for all.