CONTRA COSTA COUNTY (KRON) — Yellow jacket wasps have become a nuisance in Contra Costa County.
Beekeepers say they are responding to more calls now to remove of their nests than they did last year.
Before the break of dawn, beekeeper and owner of BZZ Bee Removal David Williams was digging through dirt, pulling out yellow jacket wasps and their nests before they cause any more harm to the neighbor who requested Williams’ services.
“They had stung he and his wife, and so, we removed them,” Williams said. “Stung me too, but…we got them outta there.”
Unlike bees, wasps don’t lose their stingers.
So, they can sting you multiple times.
They also release a pheromone when swatted at or killed, attracting other wasps.
That is why Williams recommends calling a professional to treat the nests with insecticide–or remove them entirely rather than doing so on your own.
“In my experience, a couple times, people have gone into the backyard, tried to spray them, and gotten stung up, gone to the hospital, and have passed on,” Williams said.
Since the start of the year, the Contra Costa Mosquito and Vector Control District says it has been inundated by calls to remove yellow jackets with the majority of requests coming from Lafayette, Orinda, and Walnut Creek.
“We’re getting 63 percent more calls now than we did at this time last year because we have so many yellow jackets that are just doing really well out there,” county vector control spokeswoman Deborah Bass said.
Bass says yellow jackets are thriving because we experienced a wet and warm winter.
“Usually, when we have a cold winter, that cold snap will kill off most of the yellow jacket nests,” Bass said. “This year, they didn’t do that because we had a very mild winter.”
If you are allergic, a yellow jacket sting can be deadly.
So, Williams says remain calm around wasps to avoid being attacked.
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