Summer and Fall are the seasons when yellowjackets thrive in new Mexico. However, unseasonably warm temperatures have allowed yellowjacket colonies to thrive through the winter this year. Yellowjacket colonies will only die from weather exposure when there have been 5-7 days of weather under 45 degrees in a row. As you can see from observed temperatures this year, it just hasn’t happened.
Yellowjackets are commonly mistaken as bees or ‘ground bees’. The major difference is that yellowjackets are smooth and have a fluorescent yellow appearance with black markings. They also have a thin, “wasp” waist. Honeybees are more robust, less brightly colored, and have a fuzzy appearance.
When a yellow jacket nest survives the winter, the nest continues to grow. If not dealt with, it is possible to get a super nest of these wasps. Cold snaps in the spring are the death of yellow jackets, quite literally. It may not be fun for us, but those unexpected cold spikes can have a dramatic effect on yellow jacket populations, not just in spring, but for the rest of the year. So, the next time you’re tempted to complain about a cold day in spring, remember that it is helping to reduce the threat of these stinging pests. Here in Albuquerque yellowjackets will usually select a subterranean location for their nesting sites. They can often be found under railroad ties or under/in juniper bushes. Yellowjackets can be a real threat to people and pets. For more information or to set up a service, contact us today.