Yellow jackets are among the most commonly encountered insect pests within and around homes in upstate New York, and although experts say that honey bees and other insects are declining rapidly in number, yellow jackets seem to be getting more abundant in New York state with each passing year. For example, during the fall of 2017, countless residents of western New York complained about what they believed were bees swarming around neighborhoods and entering homes through windows and small cracks on exterior walls. The bees were actually similar looking yellow jackets, and they caused a widespread scare in the region two years earlier during October of 2015 when the unseasonably warm fall weather was cited as the reason their abundance. That year, a homeowner in Williamsville found himself in the thick of an angry swarm of around 3,000 yellow jackets that had entered the home through a small hold in the exterior siding.
The reason for the increasing number of yellow jackets in residential areas of upstate New York has to do with the progressively warmer winters that are allowing the venomous insects to survive throughout the season. Most negative encounters between residents and yellow jackets occur during the fall when dwindling insect and plant food sources prompt yellow jackets to abandon their nests in favor of scavenging for human food sources around homes. During the month of May in upstate New York, yellow jacket nests contain around 100 individuals, but once July arrives, thousands can be found in nests. Yellow jacket nests are often located beneath the ground on residential lawns, but they are found within and on homes frequently as well.
A few years ago, a couple had been hearing a scratching noise above their ceiling fan, but they initially dismissed the sound as being caused by a harmless squirrel. However, the noise persisted, and one day the homeowners peaked out of his window where he saw numerous yellow jackets flying into his attic. The ceiling was also found to be wet, so the couple contacted a pest control professional who discovered a large yellow jacket nest in the couple’s attic. The pest control operator then killed the nesting yellow jackets, and mentioned that, based on his experience, bald-faced hornets tend to be the most aggressive wasps commonly found nesting in upstate New York homes.
Have you ever sustained a wasp sting within your home?