dos & don’ts: Hymenopterology


February 21, 2014

  • Do the applied hymenopterology and don’t let the German yellowjacket, Paravespula germanica, envenomate people. Eliminate yellowjackets through integrated pest management (IPM).
  • Do define IPM as inspection and investigation, identification, establishing threshold levels, implementing two or more control measures (cultural, physical, mechanical and chemical), and evaluating effectiveness.
  • Don’t neglect to wear all required personal protective equipment (PPE), which prevents exposure to adult German yellowjackets and envenomation:
    »A safari-style helmet (woven, rigid, ventilated, equipped with size adjusting bands, and a broad brim that holds the fiberglass veil away from the face).
    »A fully vented, insect-resistant, nonattracting white coverall (closely woven material providing low surface tension that resists yellowjacket attempts to cling to the fabric to penetrate and envenomate).
    »Vinyl canvas gloves with rip-stop cuffs, extending above the elbow.
    »No PPE openings that would allow insects access to the body.
    »Safety-rated footwear.
  • Do practice physical control by inspecting/filling rodent burrows with soil and inspecting/correcting architectural features with exploitable openings, gaps, cracks and crevices.
  • Don’t underestimate the German yellowjackets’ refuge proximity, which can be several linear feet from the ingress/egress point. Use auscultation (stethoscope) detection to isolate refuges within architectural voids.
  • Do drill a hole into the void to accommodate the refuge (from the architectural interior) and inject a properly labeled insecticide.
  • Don’t cap the ingress/egress until the colony is destroyed.
  • Don’t forget adults can masticate through drywall and other materials and enter occupied areas. German yellowjackets within the area can be aspirated with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter backpack vacuum system. pmp

Dr. Mitchell, D.O., Ph.D., M.P.H., B.C.E., a board-certified physician and entomologist, is principal technical specialist for PestWest Environmental, as well as PMP’s Technical Editor. He can be reached at or 515-333-8923.

About the Author

MITCHELL, D.O., DVM, PsyD, BCE, is technical director of PestWest, and a frequent contributor to PMP.

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