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Wasps vs. Yellow Jackets vs. Bees: How to Identify & Remove


While wasps, yellow jackets, and bees share many similarities, they have some distinct differences. For instance, yellow jackets are particularly aggressive. They look and act differently. These differences are important to know, especially when you’re looking at wasp nest removal. Wasp removal can be dangerous. Knowing that danger level begins with being able to identify the species you’re dealing with.

Yellow Jackets

Chances are good you’ve seen them at barbecues in the summer and fall. They have a thin, bright yellow and black appearance. Yellow jackets are so common at picnics that they have a nickname: “meat bees.” Make no mistake, though. Yellow jackets are wasps. Where bees can only sting you once, wasps can latch on and sting you multiple times. That’s a bad combination, and yellow jackets are some of the most aggressive wasps.

The golden rule for yellow jackets is that if you leave them alone, they’ll leave you alone. If you see them outdoors at a picnic, don’t swat at them. This will aggravate them and they’ll become aggressive. Not only this, but if you crush a wasp, it releases a chemical that draws other wasps to its location. This is a survival mechanism that signals wasps to investigate a threat. There are circumstances where you can’t leave them alone, though. A yellow jacket trapped inside isn’t safe, especially if you’re caring for a baby, the elderly, or pets. You can’t leave a nest alone either.

Aside from being an eye-catching yellow, particularly aggressive, and way too interested in your plate of food, one other thing makes yellow jackets unique. They live underground.


Wasps are different from bees, as they have long, thin bodies that are nipped at the waist. The most important difference to note, between bees and wasps, is that bees have a stinger that is left in the skin and wasps have the ability to sting multiple times. This makes wasps a very real threat to anyone near their nest.

Wasps are naturally more aggressive and territorial than most bees. Even when out scouting for food, they’ll react aggressively. They sting first and ask questions later. They can get away with this because they can sting you multiple times and, unlike bees, this won’t kill them.


A friend recently recounted a story about stepping in a wasp nest. While some wasps will build their nests higher, many will focus lower. He was younger and stepped off a log without looking. His foot crashed straight into a wasp nest. They chased him a few dozen yards, stinging him the whole way. The best way to get rid of a wasp nest is clearly not by stepping in it. For this, you want a wasp removal company. But what exactly makes wasps so tenacious?

Wasp Nests Move

Wasps will also hibernate in the winter and move their nest every year. This means you’re more likely to come across a wasp nest in an area you thought was safe. Bees tend to stay in one area and rely on that hive for a long time. You know where bees might be year after year; but you can’t be so sure where wasps will make their nest in different months.

How to Prevent Wasps

Wasp control has to start with an observant eye. Getting rid of a wasp nest is much easier when it’s first being built. The wasps will more easily move on to another location, and there will be fewer of them able to inhabit the nest. You don’t have to spy for wasps all the time. Just keep an eye out and check once a month. If you find dead wasps trapped between your window screen and pane, chances are their nest is somewhere in the area.

There are a few important steps you can take to prevent wasps from creating a nest near your home. Be sure to never leave food or drinks outside uncovered. Wasps will remember the food source and be likely to build their nest near a food source. Also, fill all holes in your yard with dirt to prevent wasps from nesting underground. Finally, be sure to secure all entry points of your home to prevent wasps from entering your home. Use caulk or weather stripping around windows or doors to close all openings.

How to Get Rid of Wasps

If you have already discovered wasps on your property, the best thing to do is to call a pest control professional. An experience exterminator will be able to tell what type of wasps are on the premises and how best to eliminate them. Never attempt to remove a wasp nest on your own. A single nest could be home to 700 wasps! Being stung numerous times from a wasp can be deadly, don’t take that chance! It’s a very reasonable cost to keep you comfortable and safe. Give Ransford Pest Control a call at [ phone-number] as soon as you suspect a wasp nest on your property. We can handle all your pest control needs.

And one final thought. NEVER USE LIQUID WASP SPRAY ON A HOLE INTO A WALL IF YOU CANNOT SEE THE ACTUAL NEST. This will seriously compound the problem forcing them into the building.


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