This Is Why Yellowjackets Are So Attracted To Your Yard

This Is Why Yellowjackets Are So Attracted To Your Yard

There are many types of pests that can infest a yard, and yellowjackets are one such insect. Some people may welcome them, while others may fear them. If you find these stinging insects gathering in your yard, there are several reasons why they may be attracted there. It often has a lot to do with the smell of your yard and what’s growing in your garden.

You can identify yellowjackets from other wasps by their body. They have noticeable yellow and black stripes and a small torso that cinches in at the waist. Most people want to get rid of yellowjackets when they find them in their yard.

Yellowjackets are attracted to brightly colored flowers that offer plenty of available nectar, which they feed on. Flowers that give off a sweet scent are particularly attractive to them. Sometimes, yellowjackets can also be attracted to brightly colored clothing, sweet-smelling perfume, food, and trash.

Yellowjackets like sweet scents

Empty soda can in grass

Ruben Pinto/Shutterstock

Interestingly, yellowjackets don’t differentiate between the sweetness of flowers and that of other substances. As a result, if sugary beverages such as empty soda cans and juice packs are left in a yard, yellowjackets will swarm around them. They will suck up the leftover sugar from any drink or food. To keep yellowjackets at bay, promptly remove any food or drink as soon as you are finished with it.

When you throw away garbage, make sure to keep trash cans covered. Yellowjackets will quite happily hang out in garbage cans if they can consume the last drips of food and drink containers. For optimal results, throw all trash into plastic bags and tie them up securely before placing them in the garbage cans. Then make sure your cans close tightly and stay closed.

Another thing that attracts wasps to gardens is plain water. Make sure that there is no standing water left in your yard. Also, don’t leave any containers or buckets out that can fill up with rainwater.

They will make their home near food sources

Bees on compost pile

Victorass88/Getty Images

If yellowjackets find your yard to be an easy and comfortable place to hang out, where they can find a steady food and water source, they might want to stay there indefinitely. A compost pile is a never-ending source of food for them, so it may entice them to create a nest nearby. If you keep one in your yard, make sure that is kept covered.

Yellowjacket nests tend to be found under decks, beneath yard stairs, and sometimes in logs, trees, basements, or attics. If you come across one, you must find the right time of day to remove a nest. It’s best to get rid of a nest during the night when yellowjackets are dormant. During the day, they are active and fiercely defend their nest from being infiltrated.

While keeping a clean and tidy yard is vital to keeping yellowjackets away, it’s especially important during the late fall. As the warm weather comes to an end in late September and early October, the insects will be scrambling to find food sources. Consequently, they are most aggressive during this time, so double down your efforts to keep your yard clean.

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.