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Quick Reference Facts

Common Name: Yellowjackets
Common Traits: Color: Abdomen usually black and yellow patterned, Shape: Wasp-like, Size: 3/8-5/8" long, Region: Throughout the U.S.
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Prevention Methods

  • Remove garbage frequently and keep trash cans covered
  • Screen all doors and windows
  • Avoid sweet smelling purfumes and scents


There are several species of yellowjackets. These flying insects typically have a yellow and black head/face and patterned abdomen. Many say that the pattern resembles stripes. The abdomen pattern can help an entomologist or pest professional identify specific types of yellowjackets.


Yellowjackets are social insects that live in nests or colonies. They usually nest in the ground or in cavernous areas such as eaves and attics. Yellowjackets can be found anywhere humans can be found. They feed on sweets and proteins and are commonly attracted to trash and recycling bins. Yellowjackets are most active in the late summer and early autumn when a colony is at its peak.


Yellowjackets’ stings pose significant health threats to humans. They are territorial and will sting if their nest is threatened. Yellowjackets may sting repeatedly and can cause allergic reactions.

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Information provided by the National Pest Management Association