More than one dinner on the deck has been ruined by yellow jackets in Southcentral this summer. Yellow jackets thrive in dry, warm weather — exactly the kind of conditions that much of Alaska has been experiencing.

Integrated pest management technician Jessie Moan with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service said she can't verify that numbers of yellow jackets — insects in the wasp family — are up, but she said it's likely.

Moan has been getting plenty of calls from Anchorage residents wondering how to get rid of them.

Tim Craig at Jewel Lake True Value said he's run out of products to kill wasps at least once

 

Tim Craig, who owns True Value Hardware store on Jewel Lake Road, has already sold out of products designed to kill wasps once and got a new shipment in recently. He advises residents to spray early in the morning or in the evening when wasps are more likely to be in the nest.

"Before they get up and go active or after they're home in bed, as I like to say," Craig recommended.

 

Others are calling in professionals to do the job. Andrew Harrison with Alaska Mosquito Guard Pest Control said the company has seen a bump in business from people wanting yellow jacket nests removed.

Harrison said the company charges a minimum $150 for a call out to remove nests but added that many companies, including theirs, will do a free inspection for homeowners.

Not all yellow jacket nests need to be removed right away, especially if the insects aren't bothering people, according to Moan. She said wasps will die in the winter and they don't return to the same nests. Moan said yellow jackets can be beneficial for the environment, mostly by eating other insects. 

For practical information on wasps including yellow jackets, Moans recommends a guide from the University of California.

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