Pest Library | Yellowjackets

Vespula spp.

Yellow Jacket - Vespula
Color: Abdomen usually black and yellow patterned similarly to bands
Legs: 6
Shape: Wasp-like
Size: Workers 3/8 to 5/8″
Antennae: Yes
Region: Throughout the U.S.
There are several species of yellowjackets. These flying insects typically have a yellow and black head/face and patterned abdomen. Many say the pattern resembles stripes. Signature to the species, the abdomen pattern can help an entomologist or pest professional identify the specific types of yellow jackets.


Yellowjackets nest in the ground or in cavernous areas such as eaves, attics, etc. They feed on sweets and proteins and commonly invade outdoor activities.


Yellowjackets can be found any place humans can be found. Check near recycling bins or other areas where sugars are common, but keep in mind these pests also feed on protein. Yellow jackets become more aggressive in autumn when the colony begins to die out except for the queen.


Yellowjackets pose significant health threats to humans as they may sting repeatedly and can cause allergic reactions. Stinging insects send over 500,000 people to the emergency room each year.


Remain vigilant and call a pest control professional if you suspect yellowjacket activity. Control requires specialized equipment and safety precautions. Do not leave sweet drinks or meats in accessible areas. For example, clean up and remove food and trash after picnics and outdoor events.

* Information courtesy of National Pest Management Association, Inc.