As Yellowjacket Populations Peak, Entomologist Urges Safe Co-Habitation

Aug 7, 2018

You may have noticed more and more yellowjackets hovering around your home, but an Oregon State University bug expert says to be calm, careful, and kind. KLCC’s Brian Bull has more.

A yellowjacket enjoys a sip of beer.
Credit TJ Gehling /

A warm and dry spring often means large numbers of these wasps. Their population usually peaks in late summer. Most are seeking water, or defending their nests which may be in the ground or suspended in trees or houses.

A yellowjacket nest in the Yakima, WA area.
Credit Librarianguish /

OSU entomologist Gail Langellotto warns against going after yellowjackets, especially with pressurized chemical pesticides. Bees could be affected, or people can blast themselves, accidentally. It’s just better to wait.

“Yellowjackets do not reuse the same nesting site from year to year," says Langellotto.

A wasp trap, with oodles of caught yellowjackets.
Credit Oregon State University /

"They eventually take off in the fall-winter time period. They will get rid of themselves, if you can wait it out.”

Otherwise, Langellotto recommends wasp traps, available at gardening or hardware stores. However people approach these insects, she recommends caution. Unlike bees, yellowjackets can sting repeatedly.

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