The onset of spring’s warmer temperatures can bring an unwelcome invader: the queen yellowjacket, searching for a spot to settle and start her colony for the summer.
Yellowjacket queens spend the winter in sheltered locations, such as under loose tree bark or in decaying stumps.
During the first warm days of spring – when the daytime temperatures consistently reach the upper 60s to low 70s – the queen emerges to look for a new site for her nest. The most frequent nest sites are underground, but some yellowjackets have been known to nest in wall voids of a house.
Yellowjacket colonies started by just one queen can grow to include anywhere from 400 to 5,000 workers later in the season, depending upon the species.
Their presence at summer barbecues, seeking out meats and sugary drinks, makes yellowjackets not only annoying, but dangerous. Yellowjackets can bite and sting. Since they don’t lose their stinger, they can sting numerous times, and will do so unprovoked. A single yellowjacket sting can be deadly to someone who is allergic.
To prevent some yellowjacket nests from ever being established, you can use the RESCUE® Yellowjacket Trap to catch the queens in early spring.
Every queen caught in the spring means fewer yellowjackets will be around to torment you and your family in the summer.
Catching queens at this time will not decimate the yellowjacket population… but it does decrease the likelihood that yellowjackets will build a nest on or near your property.
Yellowjacket colonies grow exponentially. A colony started by a single queen can produce thousands of workers – hundreds of which are fertilized at the end of the season and become new queens themselves. The original queen dies, but the new queens overwinter and each produces a new colony the following year.