The District provides control for ground nesting yellowjackets
when the location of the nest is known. A yellowjacket nest looks
like a small hole in the ground with many yellowjackets flying in
and out. Without disturbing the nest, mark its location with
a flag or other object so that the technician who comes to treat
it will be able to find it.
Seeing yellowjackets and wasps around your yard does
not necessarily mean that there is a nest on your property.
Although there is no nest to remove, you may still be able to
reduce the number of yellowjackets and wasps in your yard by
removing what is attracting them there.
The District does not provide service for honeybees.
A bee swarm will look like a cluster of bees hanging from a
branch or other object. These bees have left their colony and are
looking for a new home. They will move on in a few hours to a few
days, so you can simply let them leave on their own if it’s safe
to do so. If you want them removed, contact the San Mateo
Beekeepers’ Guild; there is likely a local beekeeper that
will provide them with a home.
At this time, Africanized honeybees are not found in the Bay
Africanized honeybees are more aggressive than European honey
bees. They are quicker to defend their hives, more bees will
participate in the defense, and they will follow a target (human
or animal) further. This means that although their stings are not
worse than European honey bees, they are more likely to cause
injury or death to people or animals who are unable to escape
their stings or who are allergic to bee stings.
Most wasp and bee stings are unpleasant but not life threatening.
However, some people are allergic to bee and wasp stings. If you
are allergic to bee or wasp stings and have been stung, or if you
believe you are experiencing an allergic reaction, seek medical
If you’ve been stung by a bee, remove the stinger(s) from your
skin as quickly as you can. Try not to crush or squeeze the bee
or stinger – this will just release more venom. You may want to
use a credit card or other stiff material to scrape the stinger
out of your skin.
What’s the difference between yellow jackets and bees?
Yellow jackets feed on other insects as well as nectar, while
bees feed only on nectar. Bees can only sting once while
yellowjackets can sting multiple times. Yellowjackets have black
and yellow stripes and shiny bodies while bees are fuzzy and
brownish. Bees typically build hives in hollow trees high above
the ground. Their hives contain wax combs. Yellowjackets build
round paper nests either under the ground or hanging from tree
branches. Bees produce honey and feed on nectar and pollen from