Life Cycle of the Yellow Jackets.
Have you ever wondered how to eliminate those pesky yellow jackets before they become a problem? As many of you have found out last year, a few yellow jackets or wasp nest can annihilate an entire bee hive in as little as a week.
To solve this problem, we must understand the life cycle of the yellow jacket queen. A fertilized yellow jacket queen hibernates through the winter using natural resources like trees, stumps, rock piles, hollow logs and even stacked fire wood for shelter. Although these are the most preferred types of shelter, the queen will also shelter in man-made structures.
The queen will hibernate the entire winter then emerge in the spring to build a small paper nest by chewing plant fibers. After she builds a portion of her nest, she lays her first batch of eggs. Spring is the time that you need to put your yellow jacket traps out because after the eggs hatch into larvae, the queen will leave the nest to find insects, fish, or any meat to feed her young. Because none of the newly laid female yellow jackets are fertile if the queen can be trapped and killed this will reduce the number of yellow jackets in your area in the summer.
The Queen can generate up to 5,000 workers. To make matters worse, if the queen produces young fertile queens, these new queens will leave the nest mate and create her own nest thus duplicating the first Queens’ effort.
Here’s the good news, because we normally have a cold and wet spring the Queens’ cycle normally begins in mid to late March. During this time there are not too many insects or picnics out, so this is a prime time to put your traps out.
In the past, I have used all kinds of yellow jacket traps, and the one that I have had the most success with is the “Rescue Yellow Jacket Trap” that uses water. This trap works best because it generates a longer, stronger smell than its dry counterparts.
Keep in mind that while trapping a few queens might not seem like much, their absence will greatly reduce the number of yellow jackets that you have in the summer.