Wasps, yellow jackets breeding more than usual due to extreme weather

- If you have had a few uninvited guests around your home this summer, you're not alone. Experts say wasps and yellow jackets are breeding more than usual and it's because of extreme weather this year.

Lee Vanderkerchove has a bug problem.  A few days ago, armed with a can of spray insecticide he went toe to toe with a mound of yellow jackets buried in the front yard of his Moraga home and lost. 

“The guy at Home Depot said you’d better have an escape route. So I parked my Honda over here with the door open. I ran like heck, but they fly faster than I run. I got stung on the back of my neck and through this shirt too.” 

Our wet winter and hot dry summers have proven to be the perfect breeding ground for yellow jackets and wasps. 

Both San Mateo and Contra Costa Counties Vector Control have been overwhelmed with nearly double the calls.  

Deborah Bass, the Information Director for CCCVC says their calls have increased by 63 percent this year for wasp and yellow jacket issues.   Vector Controls Heidi Budge says it’s the busiest she has been in her 10 years.  

The nest in Moraga was treated and Budge figured there were over 5,000 insects in the nest.  Clearly a can of spray insecticide wouldn’t do the trick.

It’s not just homes either. Mailman Charles Romualdo says he’s found a few nests inside mailboxes.

“It makes it a little harder to deliver the mail!” Food for thought, if you are swatting a couple of pesky yellow-jackets remember this: They release a pheromone that causes other yellow jackets to warn the nest that there’s trouble brewing.  You may have killed a few, but you actually just ticked off the entire nest! 

Vanderkerchove said he knows all too well. He was advised to launder his clothes after being stung, because the smell is embedded in the material and could cause other yellow jackets to attack. 

A service call for by a pest control company to remove this nest would have cost over 200 bucks.  A simple online appointment from CCVC was absolutely free.        

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