Yellow jacket wasps can be very aggressive toward the end of the summer when they need for sugar to sustain the young wasps in the colony. Yellow jackets can administer a painful sting; remove a colony in your soffit if it poses a threat to pets and children. Yellow jackets do not have barbed stingers and can sting victims repeatedly. Most people only experience topical symptoms after being stung by a wasp but those who present allergic reactions should seek medical assistance at once.
Reduce the risk of wasp infestations by removing all food sources. Pet food is a favorite with wasps. Properly seal garbage. Take care when drinking sweet drinks outside as wasps are attracted by the sugar. Avoid installing hummingbird feeders if yellow jackets are around.
Hang wasp traps at the beginning of spring to catch queens and prevent the formation of colonies. Wasp traps are useful to keep down wasp populations in the summer. There are many wasp traps available from glass to plastic varieties. Simply place the supplied wasp bait into the trap and hang it from your soffit or nearby trees.
Kill yellow jacket wasps in your soffit using a pesticide. Wear protective clothing, such as rubber gloves and a respirator, as pesticides are highly toxic. Use a bee hat and protective clothing to minimize the risk of stings. Spay nests in the evening as wasp activity is at a minimum when the temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Ensure that there is no wind blowing. Use an aerosol or mix your insecticide and place it in a sprayer. Each nest requires treatment with 1 to 2 gallons of mixed insecticide. Liberally spray the nest in the soffit with the insecticide and then leave the area immediately.
Use a hand zapper for wasps that may interrupt your outdoor activities. The hand zapper is available from supermarkets and hardware stores. Batteries in the handle supply electricity to a grid of fine wires in a racket-like handle. Contact between the wasp and the wires electrocutes the wasp. This avoids the need to swat wasps, but they can still sting, so pick up carcasses with tissue.