Do mothballs repel yellow jackets?

Yellowjacket is a name commonly used to refer to predatory wasps. These pesky pests have smooth stingers, and if you've been stung by one before, it's a sensation you'll remember for a very, very long time. 

Because yellowjackets sting multiple times while injecting poisonous venom into your skin, their stings are especially excruciating, and the pain is sudden. 

Therefore, it's pretty understandable when you make haste to get rid of yellowjackets using any readily available pest repellant at home, including mothballs. So, do mothballs repel yellow jackets?

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First Things First, What Are Yellowjackets?

Yellowjackets are a type of stinging wasps that are almost always angry, aggressive, and ready to sting. These mean critters are easily identified by their yellow and black markings. 

Though they often create their nests underground, it's not uncommon to find yellowjackets nests in buildings and trees. Yellowjackets are skilled hunters and scavengers as well, that's because they feed on both alive and dead insects. 

They are especially aggressive in the fall when their food sources begin to diminish, and they start starving. Hunger frustrates yellowjackets, making them the angriest and most aggressive pests.
Did you know that hungry yellowjackets can massacre a whole beehive? Therefore, commercial beekeepers should get rid of yellowjackets as soon as they spot them.

Why Do Yellowjackets Sting?

Like other pests that sting in defense when they feel endangered, yellow jackets are naturally very territorial of their colony and will sting when it's disturbed. Because they like to build their nests around homes, there is inevitably a lot of human interaction with their nests, resulting in severe stings from these unforgiving critters.

Yellowjackets can become a problem during picnics. They like to feed on the food and fruits you brought and will sting if you come in their way of feeding. 

By nature, these problematic pests do not move past 1 mile in search of food. Their colonies grow bigger in late summer and early winter when their food (insects) typically becomes scarce. This results in frustrated, starved wasps. 

Male yellowjackets are called drones, and they do not sting. Only females sting in defence when their nests are disturbed. Children are especially vulnerable to yellowjacket stings since they play a lot outdoors. Additionally, these nasty pests often tend to build their nests in children's playgrounds. 

How Do Yellowjackets Nests Look Like?

Yellowjackets are a problematic pest and can become a real nuisance when they build their nests around homes or in children's playgrounds.

Humans are generally the losers when it comes to human-wasp interactions. That's why people are constantly ducking and diving to avoid any contact with these aggressive pests. 
Most yellowjackets are social insects, meaning that they live in large communities, and a single nest can house numerous of them. 

It's pretty easy to distinguish a yellowjacket nest. That's because they build their nests with the entrance facing downwards; you can easily mistake it for an old upside-down cup with plenty of tiny open-ended tubules.

They make the nests using wood fibers and mud, and they blend this material with their saliva to perfect it. Yellowjackets lay their eggs in the tubules and take great care of their larvae by tending to the nests, making necessary repairs, and ensuring that it's clean at all times. 

They aggressively guard their nests against invaders and predators to keep their young ones alive. 

Where Do Yellow Jackets Build Their Nests?

Yellowjackets like to build their nests in homes near well-sheltered places like chimneys, attics, porches, roofs, fireplaces, and pretty much anywhere else they deem fit. 

Yellowjackets are irritable, and any human interactions result in stings. They are naturally inclined to attack any 'potential predator,' and many theories say that they only attack when threatened.

But many victims have reported being attacked for simply walking past their nests. Experts believe that this pest may have a case of serious paranoia!
As stated earlier, females guard the nests, and they attack potential predators over a pretty long distance. 

Because yellow jackets do not die after stinging as bees do,  they can sting a victim multiple times while delivering venom that causes instant excruciating pain. 

What Are Mothballs?

Mothballs are just as their name suggests; they are small balls of chemical pesticide (naphthalene or para-dichlorobenzene)and deodorant for controlling moths, mold, silverfish, and other pests in wool and fiber materials. 

They are often used in drawers, chests, and trunks when storing clothing and other materials susceptible to moth larvae damage. The odorless ball slowly changes its state to become a toxic gas that kills and repels pests. 

Can Mothballs Kill Or Repel Yellowjackets?

The chemical fumes that evaporate from mothballs are toxic. Yellowjackets have a very strong scent detection. They quickly detect the smell of these toxic gases through the scent receptors on their antennae. 

Yellowjackets find this smell extremely offensive and would rather build their nests elsewhere. 

If used in a poorly ventilated, enclosed area, the toxic fumes released by the mothballs will kill yellowjackets. 

However, if the nests are hanging in open-air, mothballs will repel the invasive pests but are highly unlikely to kill them.

The Best Way To Repel Yellowjackets Using Mothballs

Mothballs are toxic, which means that you should wear protective gloves when handling them.
  • Put some mothballs in a porous fabric bag or wrap them in a piece of clothing. 
  • Tie the bag/clothe tightly and hang the mothballs in places where yellow jackets frequent and like to make their nests. 
  • The smell will keep them away and deter them from building nests. 

If you already have a yellow jackets infestation, consider wearing a face mask for protection. In this case, you will place the balls near the nests. But the high chances are that the yellowjackets will sting you, and you will not get the chance to hang your mothballs, thanks to the maximum pain of the stings.
The best way to get rid of a yellowjacket infestation is by seeking help from a pest control expert. They will safely get rid of the wasps and keep them away from your home for good.

Precautions When Using Mothballs To Repel Yellow Jackets 

  • Always wear protective gear like hand gloves and face masks as mothballs are toxic to both humans and pets. Inhaling mothball fumes can result in side effects like eye and nose irritation, headaches, and nausea. 
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with running water after handling mothballs. 
  • Do not put or hang mothballs in places where fumes can enter the house, like attics, crawl spaces, garbage bins, or even cars. Exposure to these fumes can result in reversible health problems. 
  • Only use mothballs in areas out of reach of pets and children as it can seriously harm their health. If loosely hang, mothballs can be blown off by wind or storms during bad weather, and pets and small children may eat them!
  • Do not place mothballs in places where they can get wet, for instance, from rain, as the liquid will contaminate soils, plants, groundwater, etc. 
  • Get rid of mothballs immediately you suspect or notice signs of mothball poisoning!
  • Mothballs are flammable, and misuse like hanging in places that get well hot like attics and crawl areas can easily result in a fire. 
  • You must keenly read the instructions on product labeling before use!

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