Western Yellowjacket

 Identification and Control

Proper identification is an important first step in controlling ants.

Vespula pensylvanica

How to Identify an 

Western Yellowjacket

Western yellowjackets are one of the most common wasps in Washington. These yellowjackets are small insects, usually measuring between 3/8 and 1/2 inch (10 to 13 mm). They sport a striking black and yellow coloration, with a distinct black band spanning across their abdomen, alternating with bands of yellow. Western yellowjackets have large compound eyes and delicate membranous wings, allowing them to forage and navigate your property with impressive precision.

Where do they come from?

Western yellowjackets are widespread throughout the United States and Canada, particularly in their native western regions of North America. These adaptable insects thrive almost anywhere, from urban spaces to wooden areas. You'll often spot them foraging for food near gardens, garbage cans, outdoor dining tables, and compost piles.

How to keep them out

Western yellowjackets have a diverse palette, enjoying sweet treats like plant sap and nectar, human food scraps, and other insects. Eliminate these food sources by sealing garbage cans tightly and cleaning up any leftovers indoors and outside. As temperatures cool in the fall, yellowjackets become more aggressive, potentially leading to increased activity in these areas.

If you notice an influx of wasps around your home or yard, it could be a sign of a growing Western yellowjacket infestation. Because of their territorial nature, we suggest you contact a pest professional instead of tackling the problem alone. Whether it is a minor issue or a severe infestation, our team can provide expert assistance and customized solutions to meet your specific needs.

Need help controlling pests?

Contact Us

What do they look like?

Western yellowjackets have strong mandibles for chewing food, building nests, and biting when threatened. Between their mandibles is a long, slender proboscis for feeding on nectar and other liquids. This specialized mouthpart allows them to reach deep into flowers to access nectar reserves.
The abdomen of Western yellowjackets consists of multiple segments, each housing vital organs and contributing to their overall flexibility.
Western yellowjackets have a compact and slender body, divided into three distinct segments: the head, thorax, and abdomen.
Western yellowjackets sport two pairs of delicate, see-through wings. These wings have intricate veins that provide strength and flexibility for flying. When they're not in flight, the wings neatly fold along the yellowjacket's back, flat and snug against each other.

Where do they live?

Western yellowjackets commonly nest in sheltered locations like underground burrows, hollow trees, shrubs, and man-made structures like wall voids, attics, and eaves.


Vespula pensylvanica



Insects and nectar are staples of their diet, but they also cavenge for meat, sugar, and human food scraps.

Schedule Today!

Contact your local Zunex pest expert to schedule a treatment today!