Increase in yellow jackets

By Matt Niksa
Daily Post Correspondent

San Mateo County residents have reported seeing more wasp and yellow jacket nests this year, likely because of the wet winter, an official from the county’s mosquito control district said yesterday.

Megan Sebay, outreach officer at the San Mateo County Mosquito and Vector Control District, said the district has received 307 wasp- and yellow jacket-related calls this year, and is on pace to receive more wasp-related calls than last year. The district received a total of 501 calls in 2016.

Sebay said the increase corresponds with growth in the county’s yellow jacket population. She said the increase was likely caused by a warm, wet winter, which not only kept the yellow jackets alive when they would normally die out, but also created more vegetation for them to feed on in the spring and summer.


More stings

The district has also received more calls from county residents who reported being stung by yellow jackets than last year, she said.

Sebay said requests from residents to remove yellow jacket nests near their homes have spiked in the last three weeks, which is likely because of a rise in temperatures across the county. She said it’s likely that the district will receive more nest removal requests in August and September, because wasps tend to be more active in hot weather.

The district removes the underground nests by digging them up or treating them with an insecticide, Sebay said. She said the majority of the removal requests come from residents who reported nests close to their homes.

Cover food while outdoors

Sebay recommends that residents call the district for a free nest removal instead of trying to remove the nests themselves. She also recommends people keep food covered if eating outdoors and watch out for wasps when eating or drinking.

The Santa Clara County Mosquito and Vector Control District, by contrast, has received fewer wasp- and yellow jacket-related service requests compared to last year, according to Russ Parman, assistant manager of the district. The district has received 67 wasp-related requests through July, compared to 83 requests through July of last year.

Parman said the district doesn’t know why they have received fewer requests compared to last year, saying the agency doesn’t track the county’s wasp population.