How To Get Rid of Yellow Jacket Nest: Remove Yellow Jackets Safely, Fast

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Pest Control | March 29, 2024

Man looking at a wasps nest wonders how to get rid of yellow jacket nest and safely remove yellow jacket nests, as well as when to call an exterminator for yellow jackets and how to ID yellow jacket wasps.

While they are good for the environment, Yellow Jackets can be dangerous if they build a nest on or your property, which means knowing how to get rid of Yellow Jackets safely can be a top concern for many people.

If you accidentally disturb their nest, Yellow Jackets, especially the female ones, become fiercely aggressive and sting. Unlike other stinging insects, they attack in swarms and will sting repeatedly, increasing the chances of an allergic reaction.1

When they sting, they release a dangerous venom that mainly affects those with allergic reactions. However, due to their multiple stings, even people who have not experienced an allergic reaction can be affected.

This guide explains the correct way for how to get rid of yellow jackets and remove their nests, but (more importantly) outlines when to call in a bee expert to ensure that you and your family are safe from an attack.

How To Approach Yellow Jacket Infestation: Safety Precautions

After you uncover the nest entrance and exit points, take these safety measures:

Wear Protective Gear

Wear protective layers of clothing, including long pants, long-sleeved attire, a hat, eye protection, a mask, goggles, gloves, enclosed shoes, and socks.6 This can protect you against the Yellow Jackets when they attack.

Graphic depiction of methods that can be used as ways to get rid of yellow jackets and their nests.

Also, if you are using insecticide sprays, they keep you safe from the effects of the chemicals.

Work at Dusk or Dawn

Yellow Jackets are inactive at night when temperatures are 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Therefore, most of them return to their nest at dusk or dawn. This is the time to spray them.

This requires a stealth approach. If you use a flashlight, remember that it may attract them. Just use it to check where you are stepping and to help avoid stepping on them, and then put it off.

Read the Label of the Insecticide Spray

Pesticides and insecticides are poisonous. When using an aerosol product, read the label and follow the directions.

You may be required to spray the nest from about 20 feet. This is to prevent stepping on the nest.

Safely dispose of the empty pesticide containers immediately. Do not contaminate streams, forage, and ponds with them.

Have a First Aid Kit To Treat Yellow Jacket Sting

Getting stung may occur when embarking on a mission to kill these wasps.

Having medication like a cold pack or anti-inflammatory medication that can help treat a Yellow Jacket sting and the allergic reaction is essential.

How To Get Rid of Yellow Jacket Nest: Tips and Tricks

If you are searching for how to get rid of a Yellow Jacket nest, you may want to try the different methods uncovered in the list below:

How To Keep Yellow Jackets Away

First, you can use various methods to scare away the Yellow Jackets. Prevention is the first and the most effective way.


Here are some tips:

  • Ensure there are no open trash cans with food residue since the Yellow Jackets survive on proteins. These food residues may draw them near your home.
  • Clean your outdoors after enjoying a barbeque or picnic, and eliminate spills. Keep the pet food inside.
  • Avoid using scented lotions and perfumes when you plan to be outdoors. Also, avoid heavily scented cleaning products and soaps for outdoor use.
  • Ensure the landscape is well-kept. Flowers attract Yellow Jackets as they feed on nectar.
  • Treat and prevent any pest infestations in your yard. Yellow Jackets may come around if there are a lot of caterpillars, spiders, flies, and other insects in your yard.
  • Follow some stump removal guides to get rid of rotting stumps as well as other logs and woods around your property. They can be breeding grounds for caterpillars, which become food for Yellow Jackets.15

Use Yellow Jacket Repellent Like Peppermint Oil

Yellow Jackets hate the peppermint oil scent. While it does not kill them, it can be a natural repellant.

Find a spray bottle. Add a few drops of the peppermint oil and mix it with a few tablespoons of dish soap and warm water.

Then, spray the entrance points of the nests. This can deter the wasps from entering the nest and drive them away.7

Hang Yellow Jackets Trap

Another effective way is to use traps near your yard, patio, or porch. These traps depend on pheromones, which attract and trap the Yellow Jackets.

Hang the traps near their colony. These traps have sweet, sugary bait which attracts the Yellow Jackets.

These traps are typically sold in home improvement stores or garden centers. Depending on the number of Yellow Jackets in the nest, you may be required to use more than one trap.

Use Protein Baits

You can make a protein bait to lure the wasps. Place a few meat pieces, like fish or chicken, on a soapy basin.

When eating, they may attempt to fly with a piece that may be too heavy. Thus, they may instead drop into the bucket of soapy water and die.

Check after every few days and replenish if necessary.

Place a Bowl at the Nests’ Entrance

Another method for underground extermination is to cover the entry and exit points. This is to prevent the Yellow Jackets from getting out of the nest.

Carefully measure the point. Find a glass bowl that can cover the entry point completely.

Fix it at dawn or dust when the Yellow Jackets are inside. Make it tightly fixed. Wedge the rim on the ground and ensure it cannot get knocked over.

Leave it there for a few days or weeks. Then, remove it and dig up the nest. The Yellow Jackets are going to be dead due to dehydration and starvation.

Be extra cautious when doing this. Disturbing the Yellow Jackets can upset them and provoke them to attack you.

Pour Dishwashing Detergent

Do you want to know how to get rid of Yellow Jacket nest naturally? You can use the dishwashing detergent in hot or warm water.

A soapy water solution keeps the nests from reforming.8 Also, it kills the wasps as it blocks the Yellow Jacket’s breathing pores.

Mix a cup of washing detergent with 5 gallons of hot or warm water. Then, pour the solution directly into the nest or hole. Be cautious when doing this, and be ready for a rapid break.

You may also use the spray bottle or hose-end sprayer.

However, ensure it is clean and has not been used with another herbicide. The residue may harm your lawn or kill your other flowers or plants

The solution sticks directly to the wasps’ bodies. Eventually, it eats away at their exoskeleton.

How To Kill Yellow Jackets

To kill the Yellow Jackets, you can use various chemicals and insecticides. Pyrethrum Aerosols, including the PT 565 and Stryker 54 Contact Aerosol, are perfect examples.9

The aerosols form a gas that kills the Yellow Jackets on contact. You can get them at the garden stores and centers.

Spray the nest from 20 feet at dawn or dusk when most Yellow Jackets are in the nest. Saturate the nest and its surroundings.

Avoid spraying in windy environments, as it may expose you or others to the chemicals.12

If you spot the Yellow Jackets trying to escape, spray some more. Repeat until there is no activity.

After spraying the Yellow Jackets with the aerosol, wait for it to dry. Then, use a product like Tempo Dust powder on the nest opening, which prevents hatchouts in the future.

Take a shower immediately after you are done with the spraying or application. Also, launder the gear and clothes immediately after use and use detergents.

Sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth

You can try the diatomaceous earth to avoid going the synthetic insecticides route. This is an organic method to get rid of Yellow Jackets.

Read and follow the directions as shown on the label. Sprinkle it inside the nest and around it.

The diatomaceous earth is a fossil crush. It is a glass sliver on the Yellow Jacket’s wings and body.

After sprinkling it, observe the nest to check for any activity. If the action persists, sprinkle some more until it stops. Ensure you have worn the right gear to prevent breathing the dust.

When To Call an Exterminator for Yellow Jackets

If the DIY methods do not resolve the Yellow Jackets issue in your yard, it is time to get a pro to help. An exterminator may employ different ways until you are sorted.

A person wearing full-body protective gear for dealing with yellow jacket infestation.

(Image: Aplotofgold18)

Find exterminators near you. Exterminators should be licensed and as per the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations and state, tribal, and territorial laws.16

How To Get Rid of Wasp Nest? (Yellow Jacket Exterminator)

What is the role of an exterminator in helping you get rid of Yellow Jackets? They may follow these three steps:

#1. Initial Inspection

The exterminator first inspects the area to uncover the nests and their entry and exit points. They also find what could draw the Yellow Jackets to your property and remove it.

#2. Treatment To Kill the Yellow Jackets

The second step is to deliver the targeted treatment. This depends on the location and size of the Yellow Jacket nests in your yard.

#3. Follow-Up Treatment

The exterminator delivers another round of treatment to eliminate the few Yellow Jackets that may have escaped the first round of treatment.

During this time, they also vacuum and dust the area to avoid re-infestation.

Things To Know About Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jackets are more active in summer up to mid-fall.11 They leave their nests when the weather is hot and temperatures are high in search of food.

You may find them foraging in open bins or in your yard. At night, they go back to the nest.

Their nests can be on roofs, tree stumps like pines, hollow logs, house siding, or underground. These nests are made of paper-like envelopes and wood fiber. A single nest can host thousands of Yellow Jackets.

Yellow Jacket

(Vespula Vulgaris)

Yellow Jacket in oval frame on green background.
  • Description: Black and Yellow striped wasps with a narrow mid-section and elongated wings
  • Natural Habitat: Nests build underground, in attics, tree stumps, under eaves, hollow logs, inside recycling bins, and between walls
  • Locations: Any place where humans live. Eastern, Southern, and Northern Yellow Jackets Species.

Image Credit: beasternchen20

What Is a Yellow Jacket?

A Yellow Jacket is a type of wasp in the family of Vespidae. Its genus is Vespula or Dolichovespula.

It has a segmented body that is smooth, slender, striped (primarily black and yellow), and has a thin waist. Also, its elongated wings bend laterally against its body.

Yellow Jackets are not types of bees but wasps. They are predatory social wasps, and there are four native species, including Prairie, North American, Eastern, and Western.2

How To Identify Yellow Jackets

Mistakenly called bees, Yellow Jackets are similar to bees in coloration and size.13 Most people often confuse them with other wasps like the Hornets and Paper Wasps.

However, Yellow Jackets have distinctive markings. They have white and yellow markings on their faces.

Identification chart showing a full-grown yellow jacket with short text descriptions

(Image: giampieroruggieri21)

Unlike densely hairy bees, Yellow Jackets have small amounts of hair in their bodies. They have shiny black and yellow stripes and a narrow mid-section.

The Yellow Jackets live and hunt in colonies. They have workers, Queens, and males (drones).3

The Yellow Worker is 12 mm (0.47 inches) long and has alternating bands on their abdomen. On the other hand, the Queen is 19 mm (0,75 inches) long with different patterns on their stomach.

The Yellow Jacket workers live for about 22 days. The Queens live longer (almost a year).

Characteristics of Yellow Jackets

A typical characteristic of Yellow Jackets is flying in a straight line. Before landing, they form a rapid, side-to-side flight pattern.

Female Yellow Jackets are stingers, and they sting repeatedly. Their lance-like stingers have tiny barbs. When they attack, they sting multiple times.

Yellow Jackets are good for tree pollination and as pest control partners as they eat harmful pests. They forage a mile to a thousand feet from their nest.4

They kill and eat beetle larvae, caterpillars, spiders, and other insects. Additionally, they scavenge in the bins to eat food scraps and meat leftovers.

If you spot one, you should thoroughly search to see if they have a nest nearby. Then, uncover how to get rid of Yellow Jacket nest. Destroying their habitat helps get rid of them completely.

How To Find Yellow Jacket Nest

Learning how to get rid of Yellow Jacket nest is as important as knowing how to look for their nest. Here is the step-by-step process of uncovering the Yellow Jacket Nest:5

Begin the Search for the Yellow Jacket Nest After 10 a.m.

The Yellow Jackets are most active from 10 a.m. to around 4 p.m.

This is the time with the ideal temperature for them to fly out in search of food. Search for their nest, as most of them are out and about.

Low-angle shot of a yellow jacket nest hanging from a tree branch.

(Image: 4Me2Design17)

During cloudy days, the Yellow Jackets tend to be less active. Therefore, that timeframe may be shortened.

Look for Holes in Your Yard or Search for Yellow Jacket Nest in Wall Crevices

Yellow Jackets build their nests partially underground, in lawns, and creek walls. So, go around your property, in the yard, and look for them.

You have probably found the nest if you notice a Yellow Jacket flying around or a large number crawling around a particular hole like they are guarding it. Fertilized Queens are usually heavily guarded from Mid-summer until fall, when they remain inside the nest laying eggs.

They overwinter in these protected nests.14

Check Out Yellow Jackets Flying in a Pattern

Yellow Jackets form a pattern, usually a straight line, when flying. When you spot one, look across and wait and see if others are following.

They may form a side-by-side pattern when landing. Where they land could be where the nest is located.

Set-Up a Bait

To uncover their hiding place, lure the Yellow Jackets with protein pieces of food or sugary baits. Put pieces of ground meat, cat food, or chicken skin in a shallow bowl outside.

Yellow Jackets feasting on a plate with a jam-like substance and some oranges.

(Image: Katzenfee5019)

Alternatively, if it is summer, place ice cream, fruit jelly, or juice near the area you suspect they might be. Watch it for a while until they show up near the food, and then follow them as they go back to the nest.

Take a Walk Around Your Property Looking for Signs of Yellow Jacket Activity

Go around your property and look for any Yellow Jackets’ activity. Mark or spray paint an “X” near any area you suspect.

Avoid spraying the nest directly so as not to annoy the colony. Yellow Jackets are aggressive and can attack when provoked.

What Is the Cost of a Wasp Exterminator? (Yellow Jackets Exterminator Prices)

The exterminator costs vary depending on various factors, including Infestation size, location of the nest, repairs needed after, type of treatment, and if there is a need for extra follow-ups.

The average price of a Yellow Jacket exterminator is $400.10 The repair cost can range between $500 and $1400, depending on the damage caused when removing the nest.

The cost is higher if it is hard to reach the nest, like if it is on an HVAC. Removing a nest in an attic can fall between $325 and $450.

On a wall, it falls between $350 and $875. Removing from the chimney may range between $475 and $600.

Are Bees Similar to the Yellow Jackets?

Bees and the Yellow Jackets have a few similarities, like color, but they also differ. Bees are furry and have a thicker midsection, and the Yellow Jackets have a thin waist, and their bodies are more elongated.

Bees are less aggressive than Yellow Jackets and usually sting as a last resort. Bees feed on nectar, while the Yellow Jackets feed on insects and food particles.

How To Get Rid of Bees Compared to Yellow Jackets

Getting rid of bees is slightly different from how you get rid of Yellow Jackets.

Bees help in pollination and produce honey, which is edible. Therefore, if they have nested near your property, contact beekeepers or the local government before considering pest control and extermination.

Avoid the use of soap or pest control measures on bee hives. Instead, let the bee specialists come and remove honeycombs and nests without killing the bees.

Therefore, how to get rid of Yellow Jacket nest differs from how you get rid of bee hives.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Get Rid of Yellow Jacket Nest

What Are the Different Types of Wasps?

There are many types of wasps. They include Hornets, Paper Wasps, Red wasps, bold-faced hornets, and mud-dauber wasps.


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