Recently I have been seeing a large number of yellow jackets around homes, especially in backyards near decks and patios. The yellow jackets are attracted to the sugar in soft drink cans or candy wrappers that are tossed into garbage cans outside. And they often come from quite some distance to get the sugar.

Yellow jackets aren’t the only stinging insects in large numbers this year. Hornets are out in large numbers, too. I suppose everyone is familiar with the bald-faced, or white-faced, hornet. Surely you’ve seen a hornet’s nest, shaped like a bloated football, high up in a tree or under the eve of a building.

The hornet that causes the most concern is the giant European hornet. The size of it alone is enough to scare folks. European hornets can be more that an inch long. Unlike the bald-faced hornet, they are more brown than black. They also have yellow markings on their abdomens.

They are frequently attracted to lights at night, too.

Hornets and yellow jackets are very aggressive if they believe their nests are being threatened. And they both can sting repeatedly. If you’re smart, you’ll wait to control these insects until the evening or early morning, when they’re in their nests and are at rest. You’ll be much less likely to get stung as they are not nearly as active at these particular times.

Sevin is deadly on yellow jackets and hornets. Just apply it in and around the yellow jacket nests in the early morning or evening. Pyrethroids (permethrin, resmethrin, and others) are available in aerosols, some of which produce a jet stream so you can stay a safe distance away. Aim at the nest, if possible, as this will alert them to your location. As always, when using any chemical pesticides — read and follow all label directions.

If you have any questions about controlling yellow jackets and hornets, contact Polk County Extension at 770-749-2142 or .