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There is nothing quite like having dozens of yellow jackets surround you and sting you. If you have had this experience, you know what we mean. It is a painful and unsettling experience that can make you wary of going outside ever again. But, understanding why yellow jackets might surround you and sting you can help you to feel more comfortable when you do go out into your yard. Here are a few things you should know.

Yellow Jackets Aren't Looking To Sting You

If you see a yellow jacket in your yard, you may not need to be concerned about it. As long as you don't provoke it, you aren't likely to be stung. How do you provoke it? Fast movements. The quickest way to get a yellow jacket to sting you is to take a swing at one. If you stay calm and move away (even if it follows you a little) you should be fine. A yellow jacket can even land on you and not sting. The key factor in whether or not you'll be stung is whether or not there is a nest nearby.

Wasp Behavior

Yellow jackets have a reputation for being angry wasps, but anger doesn't have anything to do with their temperament. They have behavior patterns that are impacted by a stimulus. If you swing your arms, a yellow jacket may consider you a threat and attack. It isn't angry. It understands that its painful sting can make you go away. If you disturb a yellow jacket nest, you will find yourself surrounded by several "angry" wasps. But it isn't because they're mad at you. It is because they believe you are a threat and they are wired to defend their nests. When they do, they can be aggressive. Yellow jackets are known to pursue a target for several yards, and even wait for people who go underwater to escape them. Don't count on holding your breath longer than a yellow jacket's aggressive behavior. 

How Nest Protection Works

If it isn't anger, what makes yellow jackets protect a nest so aggressively? It has to do with pheromones. These are chemical smells excreted by yellow jackets. As the scent fills the air, it causes other yellow jackets in the area to excrete a pheromone. Soon, all the yellow jackets in the nest and in the area are alerted to the threat. If that threat is you, you're likely to get several stings. This nest-protection instinct makes nest removal essential for preventing these insects from stinging you.

Where Yellow Jackets Create Nests

You would be amazed at some of the locations yellow jackets have been found nesting. These insects can create aerial nests, like paper wasps do, but they are far more likely to establish a nest inside a void. This might be a ground hole in your yard, or it could be an object in your yard. Yellow jackets commonly get into sheds and barns, or build nests inside cars and trucks that have been stored in a yard, barn, or garage. They can also get into storage areas within man-made structures and create nests within stored items, such as furniture.

Nest Prevention

It can be difficult to prevent yellow jackets from establishing nests on your property or inside your home. The best way we are aware of is to invest in routine inspections and ongoing residential pest control for your Pittsburgh home. A licensed professional knows where to look and what to look for. Your residential pest control plan will also include treatments that reduce food sources that attract yellow jackets.

If you'd like to learn how the service team here at Witt Pest Management helps to prevent the threat of yellow jackets and other harmful pests, connect with us today. We'll guide you in selecting the right solution for your specific needs and budget. There is no better way to keep your family safe from wasp stings.  

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