Los Angeles County West Vector & Vector-Borne Disease Control District

Yellow Jackets

    Yellow jackets are social insects that live in a nest.  They are medium sized black wasps with yellow or white markings.  Depending on the type of yellow jacket, they build aerial or subterranean nests.  Aerial nests are built in trees, on utility yjacket.gif (4686 bytes) poles, or house eaves.  Subterranean nests are constructed in rodent burrows, tree cavities, or ground holes.  When a nest is disturbed, yellow jackets can inflict multiple stings that are painful and may be life threatening to individuals hypersensitive to the venom.  In late summer months, when yellow jacket populations increase, they can create a nuisance in parks by scavenging for food from picnic areas.  They can cause structural damage to a home when they construct nests in walls or attics.   Adults of some species are beneficial to man because they prey on flies and other insects.

Yellow Jacket Control Program

    In the summer months, foraging yellow jackets may become a nuisance in parks, campgrounds, and other recreational areas.  Yellow jacket populations have been managed by:

Sanitation - This is the most effective method of controlling foraging adults.  Tightly covering all waste food sources and moving garbage receptacles away from eating areas reduces food available to foraging workers.  Eliminating standing water sources helps to reduce the water available for cooling the nest and drinking.   Limiting the amount of food and water available to a yellow jacket hive will drastically limit the size of the hive and its survivability.
Trapping - Bait traps should be set in April to capture future queens and limit the number of foraging adults.  Many commercially available traps using chemical lures to attract foraging yellow jackets are available.  You should check your local hardware store.  Traps should be placed in areas away from food and people.  Currently, the District limits its trapping to schools, parks, and other recreational areas.  However, the District would be more than happy to provide training, advice, and assistance in setting up a trapping plan for private residences.
Nest Control - The District will provide control for any established yellow jacket nest that is not in or on a structure.  If you find a yellow jacket nest, do not try to take care of the nest yourself.  Move away from the nest and call the District.  Our trained staff will come out and remove the nest free of charge.  If we cannot remove the nest, we will provide you with a list of private pest control companies who can.

    The District also provides control for other wasps, such as, paper wasps and mud daubers.  If you find any type of wasp nest or bee hive do not try to treat yourself.   Call the District and allow our trained personnel to take care of the hive or nest for you.




Send mail to rsaviskas@lawestvector.org with questions or comments about this web site.