Yellowjackets populations see huge increase

Some areas in Northern California are seeing huge increases in the local yellow jacket populations.
Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey A yellowjacket gets a drink of water.

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Summer is here and many are enjoying fun outdoor activities. Aside from the threat of mosquitoes, this year there is a big increase in the yellowjacket population.

In recent days, the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District has received numerous calls from concerned residents battling yellowjacket nests on their property. While this is not an unusual occurrence for the late summer and fall, it’s not common for yellowjackets to be making an appearance at this time of the year.

“It’s definitely early to see yellowjackets now” said Gary Goodman, district manager. “Over the past few weeks we have seen an increase in the number of service requests from residents asking for help to treat yellowjackets.”

While calls have been received from Rancho Cordova and Folsom, the area seeing the biggest problem with yellowjackets is Herald, in south Sacramento County.

“We recently treated nearly 90 yellowjacket nests on a five-acre property near the eucalyptus groves,” indicated Goodman. “When you consider that each nest can have hundreds to thousands of yellow jackets, this can quickly become a threat to residents.”

For most people a yellowjacket sting will only be painful, but for those that are allergic to them, a single sting can result in a serious reaction that requires quick medical treatment. Foraging yellowjackets can become a huge nuisance in parks, campgrounds and other outdoor recreation areas that are popular at this time of the year.

Residents are encouraged to call the District if they are encountering problems with yellowjackets and need assistance in removing nests. If a colony is disturbed, they can quickly become agitated and very aggressive increasing the risk of stings.

“Our field technicians can safely and effectively locate the underground nests and assist residents in removing them from their property,” said Goodman.

Yellowjackets can also be managed through sanitation by eliminating food sources. It is important to always cover garbage cans and open containers should be emptied out regularly. There are also a variety of commercial traps that can be used for yellowjacket control.

For information about yellowjackets or mosquito control services, visit or call 1-800-429-1022.


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