Maine is home to multiple wasp species that are categorized as stinging pests, and their nests are often encountered on residential properties in the state. It is not uncommon for residents of Maine to sustain wasp stings near their home during the summer and fall seasons, but luckily, hospitalization resulting from wasp attacks are rare in the state. However, yellow jackets, bald-faced hornets and paper wasps do not respond well to nest disturbances, and this is especially true when it comes to yellow jackets, which will attack humans that inadvertently bump into nests located in obscured areas like shrubs. The yellow jacket species found nesting near, and even within homes in Maine include northern, German, eastern, aerial and common yellow jackets. Despite their common name, the well known stinging wasp species commonly known as the bald-faced hornet belongs to the Vespula genus, which technically makes it a yellow jacket species. Most yellow jacket species prefer to nest within ground burrows, but nests are commonly established within shrubs, trees, on the underside of eaves, in attics, and even within indoor wall voids.
Aerial yellow jackets and bald-faced hornets usually establish above ground nests, and nests found attached to homes, within vegetation and in structures most likely belong to one of these two species. While yellow jacket nests found on and within structures may appear intimidating, ground nesting yellow jackets are responsible for most of the dangerous sting incidents that occur in residential areas of Maine. According to James Dill, a pest management specialist with University of Maine Extension, it is easy to avoid above ground yellow jacket nests that are situated in clear view of humans, but ground nesting yellow jackets are known to become disturbed by lawn mowers and weed-eaters that humans unknowingly bring in close proximity to obscured ground nests. Pest control professionals destroy yellow jacket colonies by pouring insecticide directly onto ground nests, and they occasionally remove aeril yellow jacket nests when they are located in high traffic areas where colonies are likely to become disturbed.
Have you ever sustained a yellow jacket sting on your property?