University of Maryland Extension


yellow jacket

There are several species of yellowjackets in Maryland. Adults are 3/8 to 5/8 of an inch long with a yellow and black striped abdomen. Common and eastern yellowjackets nest in the ground. The German yellowjacket will nest in wall voids of buildings. Aerial yellowjackets build paper nests on shrubs, bushes, houses, sheds, etc. Yellowjackets are considered beneficial insects because their food consists primarily of insects. But they do become aggressive, especially in late summer and fall.


If they become a problem and must be controlled, use a commercial wasp and hornet spray. Locate nest entrances during the day. Control should be done at night when most of the yellowjackets are in the nest. Do not shine a flashlight directly at the nest, because the yellowjackets will fly towards the light after being sprayed. If the nest is in a wall void, a professional pest control company should be consulted.

In situations where pesticide applications are undesirable, baited traps may be used to reduce the number of adults. The traps should be placed 3 to 8 feet above the ground, and 5 feet apart, between the area to be protected and the nest. They should be checked daily and re-baited as necessary. Commercial traps are available from hardware stores and home centers. The German yellowjacket will nest in wall voids of buildings.

yellow jacket nest
Section of a yellowjacket nest

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