NC State Extension

Pest Problems After Storms – Wasps

Baldfaced hornet nest in a tree

Baldfaced hornet nest in tree.

Flooding during the summer and early fall may leave wasp colonies disrupted and homeless. Fallen trees may contain baldfaced
hornet (image at right) or European hornet nests. Paper wasp nests may be found on eaves, roof overhangs or under porches and other protected areas of buildings. Hornet nests may also be found in shrubs. Yellow jackets may also be flooded out of their underground nesting sites. Numerous adults will be seen flying around the nest site and may also be attracted to any outdoor foods and exposed trash. Yellow jackets are often attracted to freshly cut and broken wood for the sap or as nesting material. Be cautious when cutting trees. Watch for yellow jacket nests in the ground. Normally, unless a nest is right nearby, the wasps are probably out foraging and are less likely to sting.

Yellow jacket drinking from the lip of a soda can.

However, they may become entangled in your clothing or you might grab one accidentally when handling limbs. In these situation, they might sting you. As with summer and fall picnics, beverages along with food being cooked and/or consumed outdoors also attract wasps. Here are some other suggestions for dealing with wasps:

  • Do not swat insects that land on you. Instead, flick them off. Avoid wearing perfumes or colognes that might attract wasps. Insect repellents are typically ineffective against stinging pests.
  • When eating outdoors, keep all food and drinks covered when they are not being consumed. Drinking from cans may be convenient but you may not notice a yellowjacket entering the can in search of water and/or sugar. Dispose of food scraps and beverage containers in trash bags and, preferably, inside trash cans. Keep trash cans covered.
  • Wear protective clothing such as gloves, boots, long pants and a hat. Although they may be uncomfortable, particularly if the weather is warm, they are highly recommended when doing storm cleanup.

Click HERE for more information about stinging bees and wasps.

Click HERE for more information about hornets in turf.

Written By

Photo of Michael Waldvogel, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDr. Michael WaldvogelExtension Specialist (Household & Structural Entomology) (919) 515-8881 mike_waldvogel@ncsu.eduEntomology & Plant Pathology - NC State University

Contributing Specialist

Photo of David Tarpy, N.C. Cooperative ExtensionDr. David TarpyProfessor and Extension Specialist (Apiculture) (919) 515-1660 david_tarpy@ncsu.eduEntomology & Plant Pathology - NC State University
Page Last Updated: 2 months ago
Was the information on this page helpful? Yes check No close