Case Studies

Pests We Treat Case Studies: Yellow Jackets in West Long Branch

Monday, September 14th, 2015 by Jim Regan

Challenge

Yellow Jackets are probably the best known and least liked wasps in New Jersey. They are a particularly aggressive predatory wasp that is responsible for a good percentage of insect stings. Only the females are capable of stinging, but even just the females buzzing around is more than enough. Often confused with less aggressive bees, yellow jackets are smooth with a well-defined waist, while bees are rounder and hairier. Yellow jackets have distinctive coloring with alternating black and yellow stripes. Like most wasps, they can sting repeatedly, and will do so when threatened. Many people are allergic to bee stings, which can trigger life-threatening systemic anaphylactic shock. Needless to say, a yellow jacket colony anywhere on your property is of concern, but a colony that is actually located inside your home is a whole different ball game. A colony that has formed inside your home is a bona fide emergency that poses tremendous risk to your family. A single yellow jacket colony can house as many as 5,000 members! In such close quarters, it’s only a matter of time before the painful stinging starts.

When I arrived at the West Long Branch residence, the homeowner said she had seen several “bees” in her master bedroom, which is on the 2nd floor. I had a suspicion that we were dealing with yellow jackets, but I wanted to wait and see what I actually found during my inspection. Also, I knew the attic was a prime location for a colony to form, especially since the flying insects were observed on the second floor of the home. I slowly entered the attic with extreme caution; a small enclosed space with an active yellow jacket nest is a troublesome situation, even for a pest control technician wearing protective gear. It wasn’t hard to locate the nest with my flashlight. With all of the activity, it looked like the control tower at Newark Airport.

Solution

Although there were several treatment options, I wanted to choose the one that would be most expeditious and effective under the circumstances. I approached the nest carefully to not get the wasps all “riled up,” and gently placed a small pin-sized hole in the side of the nest without disrupting the nest. A sudden jarring of the nest could have sent thousands of angry yellow jackets in my direction. I then pumped in a treatment foam that expanded and instantly killed the colony, all within seconds. The yellow jackets were killed, the colony was dead, and I completed the job without a single sting. All in all, this was a successful yellow jacket removal job for me and the customer. The homeowner was very satisfied. I showed her several pictures of the large white yellow jacket nest that she was dealing with in her attic. She was appreciative that I ventured into “hostile territory” and quickly resolved the problem.