The yellow jacket is a type of hornet which exists in most of North America. It is called “yellow jacket” because of the yellow rings it has around its body. The stinging insect is different than most others in that it usually burrows in the ground. Most wasps, hornets and bees have nests or hives.
It is this reason that yellow jacket attacks can be so surprising. Its simply not in our instincts to look for tiny holes in the ground as a source for possible danger. But that’s where they reside. That is the cunning of nature. It gets in where it fits in. Anytime and any place.
For 5% of the population, just a few yellow jacket stings may be life-threatening. This is because they are severely allergic to the venom. These people require treatment right away if they are stung or they can die. For the rest of us, most encounters with stinging insects like yellow jackets are painful and somewhat traumatic. Its nothing personal. Yellow jackets just want their space.
Yellow jackets stings are on the rise and so are the resulting deaths. Some say it may be due to climate change. Warmer winters mean less hornets die off. Others say it is because human are encroaching more and more on yellow jacket territory. Perhaps both theories are true.
If you feel a very painful sting from a flying insect, don’t stand around trying to identify what stung you. Immediately relocate to a spot far away. In this case at least a few hundred yards. This is because by the time you feel the first sting there are likely others on the way. These insects leave a scent which their pals follow. The scent tells them to sting whatever is nearby. Your job is to get as far away from the rest of the yellow jackets as possible and treat your stings.