Dozens of yellow jacket nests removed in just a day, vector control says

Local News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Yellow jackets are showing up in large numbers near popular trails and peoples’ homes in Sacramento.

Crews with the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District removed 40 underground wasp nests in just one day last week.

District spokesperson Luz Maria Robles told FOX40 Tuesday the region is heading into the peak season for nests growing in size.

Fall is when the queen starts laying her eggs. Come springtime the number of these aggressive nests can grow from 100 to 1,000.

“It’s nerve wracking the first time but once you’ve done it a bunch of times and they don’t actually sting you it builds the confidence I guess,” explained field technician Nick Ascarrunz. “Also, I’ve been to Afghanistan, so this really isn’t much.” 

One of the key lessons when removing yellow jackets is that the queen rules the nest, and if technicians don’t take care of the queen, they might walk away with a couple of painful lumps and bumps. 

“They release a pheromone when they do sting you so that lets the rest of the nest know to come get you as well so it’s usually a swarm before you can get away,” Ascarrunz said. 

If stung, the skin will react with itching and lots of burning.

Yellow jacket venom can also be deadly to those who are allergic, or pets and small children.

Vector control district officials recommend not to leave any food like fruit or meat out in the open and stay away from woodpiles or old tires.

For those who see or hear what sounds like yellow jackets, district officials ask residents to contact them. 

“Don’t provoke it. Just call us and we’ll do it for free,” Ascarrunz said.

Unlike honeybees, yellow jackets are far too aggressive to save and transport, so the best way to keep everyone safe is by eliminating the queen and the nest altogether, according to control district officials.

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