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Yellow jacket population in Northeast Ohio poised to crash your fall fun

Yellow Jackets.jpg
Posted at 4:18 PM, Aug 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 18:23:57-04

ELYRIA, Ohio — As we get ready to flip the calendar from August to September, a warning about a pest we're all very familiar with this time of year.

Yellow jackets are always on the move as we head into fall, but this season they're showing up in greater numbers than we typically see in Northeast Ohio.

In just the last three weeks, Carl Childers with Robinhood Pest Solutions has responded to more than 115 calls from homeowners looking to beat the buzz.

"We're doing double, triple the volume of normal. We started in the first week of June which is unheard of in this area," said Childers.

Childers said our warmer winters have allowed yellow jackets to start building those nests sooner.

“We're seeing earlier nests by a month to even two months early. There are nests just everywhere," said Childers.

That extra time makes the wasps more active and much faster at growing, according to Childers.

Right now, instead of preparing to go into hibernation for the winter, queens are taking advantage of the balmy temps to start secondary nests, which we don't normally see happen here.

"So, we're running into a lot of smaller nests," said Childers.

They are showing up in the ground, like the one in the lawn at Glen Weber's Elyria home.

"Mowing the lawn and one got, all of a sudden I felt something, something got me on the ear," Weber said .

The yellow jackets are also sneaking their way indoors.

"That are actually chewing through drywall and ending up in living rooms and bedrooms," said Childers.

Childers said the increase in activity means we should be on alert for nests in mulch beds, lawns and those nooks and crannies outside our home.

"We've been to houses this year where there's two, three nests around the house," Childers said .

The higher number of nests, along with extended warmth, means these small nuisances will be sticking around much later into the year, which Childers says is rare.

“Extremely. Usually everything is done by the middle of September, we're not going to too many jobs, but with the way it's looking now we're going to be much, much busier," Childers said .

It's something we all need to keep in mind as we head out for those fun autumn activities like apple picking, stopping by the pumpkin patch or hitting up the local ice cream shop for a taste of those fall flavors. If you're outside with something sweet be prepared to have some company.