Yellow Jackets Facts & How To Avoid The Sting


Yellow jackets are a thin ground-nesting wasp with bee-like stripes, but unlike a bee, yellow jackets have the ability to sting you multiple times. When a yellow jacket stings you, it pierces your skin with its stinger and injects a poisonous venom that causes sudden pain. You may also experience inflammation or redness around the sting a few hours after being stung. Fatigue, itching, and warmth around the injection site are also common symptoms for many people.

Yellow Jackets Get Hangry Too

During the warmer months, through spring and summer, yellow jackets are out, feeding off of flowers, nourishing themselves and their colonies. In the cooler months, when leaves change and flowers start to fade, these buzzing insects are commonly found scavenging for sugar sources. Yellow jackets can be found near your outdoor trash can. This time of year is when yellow jackets are at their most aggressive, making a sting more likely to happen.

How to Avoid a Yellow Jacket Sting

  • If you’re dining outdoors, be sure to dispose of trash or cover food up immediately to keep any lurking yellow jackets away.

  • If you’re hiking and come across a bunch of yellow jackets, that’s a sign a nest may be nearby, so try to take an alternate route.

  • Swatting at yellow jackets also makes them more likely to attack, so if one lands on you, remain calm and limit any sudden movements

  • Sugar water is a tempting treat for yellow jackets. Make sugar water traps and hang them in areas where wasps like to gather. These traps work to attract the yellow jackets, getting them to fly into the container where they are not able to escape.

How to Make a Yellow Jacket Trap: 3 Steps

What you'll need:

  • Large 2-liter bottle

  • ¼ cup of sugar

  • 1 cup of apple cider vinegar

  • 1 banana peel

  • 4 cups of water

  • Knife


Pour ½ cup of water into the bottle. Add the sugar and shake the liquid until the sugar dissolves completely. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the apple cider vinegar and shake well. Add the banana peel (decaying fruit attracts yellow jackets), and then more water until the bottle is about halfway full.

Prepare Your Trap

Cut a ¾-inch hole in the top half of the bottle and place it close to the hive. If you can't find the hive, or don't want to get that close to the swarming nest of buzzing insects, place the trap far away from your summer barbecue. The yellow jackets will be more interested in the watery, sugary concoction than you and your food.

Watch a quick tutorial here.