Now that the fall season has arrived, the number of insects in the natural environment has decreased substantially, which means that carnivorous insects now have to struggle to locate insect food sources. For example, due to the relative scarcity of insects during the fall season, yellow jackets begin swarming into urban and residential areas in order to scavenge for human food sources. The consequent abundance of yellow jackets in human-populated regions during the fall leads to an increased rate of yellow jacket sting incidents. Also, many of the yellow jackets that people tend to see buzzing around their homes during the fall season are constantly swarming due to having abandoned their rural nests in favor of human food sources in populated areas. Naturally, negative yellow jacket encounters are bound to increase when the venomous insects are constantly swarming through urban and suburban areas. However, several wasp species pose a threat to humans in residential areas well before the fall season arrives due to their preference for establishing nests within, on, and around homes and other structures during the spring season.

The wasp species that establish nests within and around residential homes in the northeast include German yellow jackets, European hornets, European paper wasps, and northern paper wasps. German yellow jackets build grey paper nests within the wall voids of homes, in shrubs, garages and sheds, on patios, and especially beneath the gutters and eaves of houses. Euorpean hornets build intricate nests within shaded regions, such as beneath eaves, in attics, and within wall voids. European paper wasps occasionally return to the same nests season-after-season in residential areas, and northern paper wasp nests are easy to locate on properties due to the workers’ tendency to defensively hover around their nesting sites. When locating a wasp nest, residents should always contact a pest control professional to safely remove the nest. In many cases, professionals will destroy nesting wasp colonies within and around homes by injecting pyrethrin or pyrethroid dusts directly into the carton nest.

Have you ever encountered a wasp nest larger than a basketball?