Published On: Fri, Aug 18th, 2017

Pest Control Calls on the Rise as Yellow Jackets Swarm North Bay

Pest control calls are on the rise in North Bay as yellow jackets swarm the area. Summer is high season for these aggressive wasps, which are known for crashing outdoor parties and picnics in search of food.

Populations of the wasp are believed to have swelled this year because of a new bumper crop that has allowed their colonies to flourish. The crop, experts believe, is likely the result of abundant winter rains. Now the wasps have become a hazard to humans and other species in the area.

Some pest control companies have received more than 800 phone calls this year related to yellow jacket infestations. That’s up from about 570 calls at the same time last year.

photo/ bombman356

August is a peak month for yellow jacket calls.

Experts say the mild and wet spring allowed queens to establish nests and survive those first few critical weeks. A spike in vegetation growth, caused by a warm and wet spring, also allowed wasp prey to flourish and helped colonies grow.

By August, the weather dries and yellow jackets often resort to foraging as their food sources diminish. Foraging brings these wasps closer to humans, experts warn.

Wasps will sting if they feel threatened, and those who are allergic to their venom may be at serious risk. Unlike honey bees, wasps do not die after stinging and are capable of delivering multiple stings.

“The safest way to eliminate yellow jackets is to call for professional help because one nest can contain several thousand wasps,” says Jamie Scott, president of California’s Mosquito and Vector Control Association.

Reports from the end of July indicated a spike in yellow jacket populations in Sacramento County.

CBS Sacramento reported last month that there were an abnormally high number of nests in the area. In Herald, 90 nests were found on a single five-acre property.

Herald wasn’t the only city seeing a spike in yellow jacket populations – Rancho Cordova and Folsom were also seeing more of these aggressive wasps this summer.

Professional pest control services use bulb dusters to inject powder that contains pyrethrin, a biodegradable insecticide derived from chrysanthemums. The powder stays in the nest, where it will spread to other colony members and eventually kill the queen. Because the powder stays in the nest, it will not threaten other insects, like bees.

To minimize contact with yellow jackets, experts are encouraging local residents to keep food out of the yard and to keep garbage tightly sealed in cans.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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