3 Summertime Wasps to Look For

How to prevent summertime wasps in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Everyone looks forward to the summertime in Knoxville. With the nice weather, people are compelled to spend more time outside. Whether you have an upcoming barbecue, picnic, hike, or another outdoor activity, it’s important to keep an eye out for summertime wasps! Although there are more than 4,000 species of wasps nationwide, there are three you’ll typically encounter in the summer: yellow jackets, mud daubers, and paper wasps. It can be difficult to differentiate between these wasps, making it important to know about their unique habits and behaviors. Keep reading for info on these wasps from the team at Russell’s Pest Control.

Yellow Jackets

Yellow jackets are very common and notoriously aggressive, especially later in the summer. Here’s what you need to know:

  • They are best identified by the yellow and black horizontal stripes that run across their bodies.
  • Yellow jackets congregate in colonies of up to or more than 1,000 workers.
  • Their nests look globe-shaped and are built above ground, often near garages, sheds, and more.
  • Yellow jackets will not bother you unless they feel threatened, in which case they may sting repeatedly. 

Mud Daubers

Mud daubers build their nests out of mud, and look quite different from other wasps. Some things to know include:

  • They are mostly black in appearance but may have light-colored markings. Mud daubers can be identified by their thin, thread-like waist.
  • Nests are usually located in covered areas such as porch ceilings, sheds, and attics.
  • These wasps are less social than other types, often preferring to be solitary.
  • Mud daubers aren’t as aggressive and will only sting when directly handled or threatened.

Common summertime wasps in Knoxville TN - Russell's Pest Control

Paper Wasps

Paper wasps aren’t as hostile as other wasps, but are common this time of year. Here’s what to know about this summertime wasp:

  • They have a similar shape as yellow jackets but are mostly brown in color with yellow markings.
  • Known for the papery nests they build, which look like upside-down umbrellas.
  • Paper wasp nests often hang from tree branches and twigs, as well as porch ceilings and door railings. They typically contain up to 30 wasps.
  • Paper wasps aren’t as aggressive as yellow jackets, but they may sting to defend their nests. Their sting is known to be especially potent.

Safe Wasp Control & Prevention

Seeing wasps during the summertime is inevitable. However, there are several things you can do to avoid them. Always wear shoes outside to protect yourself from ground-level wasps. In addition, seal any food or drinks you have outdoors, and always use a tight-fitting lid on trash cans. If you spot a nest forming on or near your home, it’s crucial to contact the team at Russell’s. We can quickly provide wasp removal in a way that is safe for all involved.

5 Tips To Avoid Yellow Jackets In Knoxville This Spring

5 Tips To Avoid Yellow Jackets In Knoxville This Spring

Considering their size, it is amazing how much terror yellow jackets are able to cause. What other pests can drive an individual to cross a street just from the sound of their wings buzzing? For people who are allergic to their stings, the terror they cause is even greater. Luckily, yellow jackets can be avoided and there are things you can do to prevent them from stinging you this summer.

Problems Yellow Jackets Cause and Why They Are Buzzing This Time Of Year

As you may know, yellow jackets are a species of wasp, which means unlike bees, they can sting more than just once. This becomes increasingly more problematic the more yellow jackets you are up against, and the angrier they are. Speaking of anger, yellow jackets are known for having the worst temper out of the list of stinging insects in our area. All it takes for them to become aggressive is just one step too close to their nest. Since their nests are often well hidden under the ground, keeping a fair distance can be difficult.

If you are wondering why yellow jackets are buzzing around this time of year, the answer is simple. They cannot survive in freezing temperatures. This means, as fall turns into winter, as long as the temperatures drop low enough for a week, the majority of male yellow jackets will die leaving only the fertile females to hide in shelter till the weather heats back up.

Tips To Deter Yellow Jackets

The first thing you should know about yellow jackets before we go into tips and tricks is that they are attracted to areas where they can find their two favorite foods: meats and sweets. Keeping this in mind, here are tips for keeping yellow jackets away this summer.

  • If your yard has fruit trees, stay vigilant to pick up any overripened fruit that drops from them.

  • After outdoor gatherings, clean thoroughly and be sure not to leave any scraps of food or drink behind for wasps to scavenge.

  • When feeding your pets outdoors, pick up their food and water bowls immediately after they are done using them.

  • If you don’t mind having a yard vacant of flowers, consider removing any floral growth that may be sprouting up around your home.

  • Keep an eye out for newly formed yellow jacket nests. Early prevention is much easier than dealing with a fully mature nest.

Why Call Russell’s If Yellow Jackets Become A Problem

Sometimes yellow jackets settle down onto properties regardless of what we do to stop them. If this is the case for your property, the professionals here at Russell’s Pest Control would like to offer assistance today. All it takes is a simple phone call and we will have one of our pest experts out your way ASAP to deal with the terrors in your yard.

Take The Sting Out Of Spring

Take The Sting Out Of Spring

Ouch! You don’t want to get stung this spring – or any other time this year! Avoiding yellow jackets and their sting can be a chore, as they are worthy opponents if you come across them in your yard. They are not usually aggressive; but if they feel threatened or think their nest is at risk, they will become defensive.

Some people can be allergic to the venom that they inject with their stinger. Each yellow jacket can sting multiple times because they do not leave their stinger behind after a sting. These multiple stings can be extremely dangerous for people that are allergic and can make some people very ill – sometimes even to the point of death – although that is very rare.

Yellow jackets nest underground and in trees or bushes. Sometimes they nest inside walls or attics. If they feel any type of threatening vibration like a mower close by, that will alert them to danger, causing the colony to become aggressive as they want to protect their homes.

If a nest is spotted in a populated area around your home, it is a threat to your family and visitors, and you should contact a professional pest control technician to safely remove the nest. It is not advised that you attempt to remove the nest on your own.

Watch for signs of yellow jackets and try to eliminate anything that is attractive to them that is located too close to your home. Fruit from trees should be picked as soon as they are ripe, any overly ripe fruit will be enticing to yellow jackets. Garbage should be tightly closed and bins should be emptied and cleaned out to remove any sugary residue that is left behind. When eating a meal outdoors, be sure to clean up any food or drink spills right away. Open drink cups, cans, and bottles should not be left unattended since the yellow jackets will buzz right inside for a drink. If someone should bring that to their lips, they will get stung for sure.

Once a few yellow jackets have found your secret stash of sweets, they will bring others with them and continuously come back for more. That is why it is important to avoid having yellow jacket nests close to your home. In order for you to protect your family and visitors on your property, it is best to contact a professional.

When you choose your year-round pest control services from Russell Pest Control, you get a community focused company with effective solutions and quality service at a fair price. What could be better than that? Give Russell Pest Control a call today with your pest control and yellow jacket problems. We have the right solutions!

Every Yellow Jacket Stings

Every Yellow Jacket Stings

We’re having a little fun on the blog today.  This post about yellow jackets is best read to the tune of Poison’s “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn”.

We both live in Tennessee
In the heat of August.
Although we both live close together
We try to be miles apart outside.
Was it my foot on your nest or the lawnmower blade?
Did the dog sniff your nest?
Though I tried not to disturb you,
Though I tried,
But I guess that’s why they say

Every yellow jacket stings.
Just like every winter has its spring,
Just like every June
Knoxville gets hot, hot, hot.
Every yellow jacket stings..
Yeah they do.

I watch where I step in the woods,
Sticking to the trails.
Hear others cry in pain when they
Alarm you
But I wonder, do they know?
The grounds are your home,
And we know you that you will defend it,
If I could have let them know somehow

I guess
Every yellow jacket stings.
Just like every winter has its spring,
Just like every June
Knoxville gets hot, hot, hot.
Every yellow jacket stings..
Yeah they do.

Though I tried to avoid you
I am now in so much pain.
I head to the doctor
Because the stings, oh the stings, they inflame!
I know I could’ve avoided you today on my walk,
If I had paid attention,
Instead of playing with my iPod
I let my feet run away!

Now I wonder when I will learn,
Will I ever be stung again
To hear you get angry, makes
Me want to run and hide.

Every yellow jacket stings.
Just like every winter has its spring,
Just like every June
Knoxville gets hot, hot, hot.
Every yellow jacket stings.

If you’ve had it with yellow jackets in Knoxville, contact Russell’s Pest Control today!  Our experienced pest control professionals are ready to help you get rid of stinging insects and other pests this summer.

Yellow Jackets Are A Summer Problem

The summer is half gone, and as the season passes, behavioral patterns for the insects around us begin to change. Around this time of year, Russell’s Pest Control begins to get many phone calls about bees and wasps, particularly yellow jackets. Since you could be encountering these creatures much more often over the next few weeks, let’s have a look at yellow jackets and why they cause such trouble for people in East Tennessee.

Although they have the black and yellow stripes that we associate with the generic term “bees,” yellow jackets are, in fact, wasps (which makes them cousins to bees). We’ve covered some solitary members of this family before (cicada killers and carpenter bees), but yellow jackets live most of their lives in large groups.

A yellow jacket nest is started by a single pregnant queen at the beginning of spring. She emerges from hibernation and begins to build a nest for her future colony. Yellow jackets aren’t overly selective about their nest location. You can find their large hives hung from a tree branch, connected to the roof of a building, or tucked neatly underground with a tunnel leading out to the lawn. The queen’s nest is made up of perfectly symmetrical, regular hexagons, which she fills with eggs as quickly as she can so that she can get help building the remainder of the nest. In a short time, she’ll have all the help she needs. That single queen can lay about 25,000 eggs!

What’s interesting about yellow jackets is their feeding habits. The adults need sugars to survive, so you will find them sipping nectar like any friendly honey bee. However, the larvae need protein to survive, which sometimes earns them the nickname “meat bee.” These wasps will not apologize for getting the food that they need. They are aggressive foragers, and, in the spring, you are likely to find them landing on your cheeseburgers and hotdogs and leaving with chunks of food for their young. Actually, yellow jackets are also serving as pest control experts during this time; they willingly hunt other pests and feed them to their larvae. As the year progresses, the adult yellow jacket population increases, which means more sugars are necessary to sustain them. That’s when you find them buzzing around your desserts or even inside your soda can (yikes!).

People tend to have bad experiences with yellow jackets for one of two reasons. In the first case, people are likely to get stung if they flail and swat at yellow jackets that are foraging for food. These aggressive wasps will not hesitate to sting if they feel threatened, and people who panic increase their risk of a yellow jacket attack. In the second case, people run the risk of being stung if they block the flight path of yellow jackets trying to return to their underground nest. Most of the insects in this family have about a ten-foot flight pattern that they always use to return home. If a person invades that airspace, the yellow jackets could descend as a group to try to clear away any threat to their nest.

You should know that these creatures function like pack animals; if one yellow jacket attacks you, many more are likely to come to their companion’s aid. Unfortunately, they also have a nasty habit of pursuing their victims, so it’s best to put a lot of distance between you and the contested space if you find you’ve been stung.

We like to give good advice for readers who may want to handle a pest problem without calling a professional like Russell’s Pest Control. However, be warned that you should only deal with yellow jackets with the proper protective equipment, and you do so at your own risk. Although a yellow jacket sting may only result in localized pain and swelling that lasts for a day or two, anyone allergic to their stings can experience very serious and even life-threatening reactions.

If you are able to locate an above ground nest, you can try something as simple as knocking it down. Do this only while wearing a proper bee suit, and try to approach the nest in the evening when the wasps are more docile. Additionally, there are traps available for yellow jackets; these are most effective early in the year when you’re more likely to eliminate a larger percentage of the nest’s adult population. There are also insecticide bait stations that allow the wasps to take “food” back to the colony, and the food kills the larvae before they have a chance to develop. Even over-the-counter versions of those baits can be quite pricey, and you may be better off contacting a professional like Russell’s Pest Control for a free inspection before you spend money on a product like that. As always, you can give us a call or contact us online.