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Yellow Jackets

YELLOW JACKETS are much more aggressive than bees and can attack multiple times. They are often confused with other wasps, such as hornets and paper wasps, or bees. They have yellow bodies with black stripes and black antennae.


A typical yellow jacket worker is about 12 mm (0.5 in.) long, with alternating bands of yellow and black on the abdomen; the queen is larger, about 19 mm (0.75 in.) long. Depending on the species, yellow jackets can range in size from 8.4 mm (0.33 in.) to 19 mm (0.75 in.) long.


Yellow Jackets: Backyard and BBQ party crashers

Yellow jackets eat other insects. When hungry, they are attracted to meat (even grilled meat from your barbecue), and sweet human foods like carbonated drinks, candy, and juices and fruit. They are unwanted, aggressive stinging guests.


Yellow jackets sometimes build their nests underground and in rotting logs. If you notice a number of them entering and exiting from a hole in the ground or around a log, you likely have discovered their nest.


They may build their nests on the exterior of buildings, beneath the eaves of roof lines, under decks, bridges, etc. Above ground yellow jacket nests may not be noticeable until shrubs or trees are being trimmed – the nest is a waded paper-like cone or ball.


CAUTION: Don’t get too close, and be careful – even the sound of a lawn mower, weed trimmer, or moving around can trigger an attack. Yellow Jackets attack aggressively in swarms.


Squatters in your house or business

When building their nests, they are opportunists. Yellow jackets will build nests in walls, ceilings, and attic voids and hollows. You may not know that they’ve moved in. The only indication may be the constant traffic of a yellow and black striped insect flying in and out of a small gap, crack, opening, etc. on the outside of a building.


Did you know…

  • Yellow jackets can chew through drywall and plaster? Without you knowing it, a yellow jacket colony of thousands could establish itself in your home.

  • Sometimes you may can hear scratching, cracking, and clicking – these are yellow jackets working their way through the soft wood, drywall and plaster. They can even go so far as to chew their way inside your home or business!

  • HANDS OFF damp spots on inside walls or ceilings. If you touch it, it could split open allowing the yellow jackets to come into the building.



  • There are several deaths associated with yellow jackets each year.

  • More aggressive than bees and can attack multiple times.

  • Will sting unprovoked.

  • Yellow Jackets measure from 8.4 mm (0.33 in.) to 19 mm (0.75 in.) long.

  • They defend their nest, and will attack in a swarm if their nest is threatened.

  • Their small black and yellow bodies warn potential predators of their harmful stinger.

  • IMPORTANT: If you notice a number of them entering and exiting from a hole, you likely have discovered their nest.



Contact Busch Brothers Beekeeping / WNY Bee Removal to take care of your stinging insect problem. We can manage your issue with yellow jackets and/or protect your home from other stinging insects like hornets, wasps, ground bees, bumble bees, and all others.

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Yellow Jacket nest on a house
Yellow Jacket nest in a tree

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