Conservation experts aren't sure why, but it seems the yellow jacket population is bigger than usual in the St. Louis area this year.
Mike Arduser of the Missouri Department of Conservation told Fox 2 News that the number of calls they've gotten regarding yellow jackets has doubled since last year. "Yellow jackets are always present and always abundant this time of year, because their colony cycle peaks right about now," he says.
And that can be a problem when the flying, stinging insects nest too close to humans. Consumers can buy products to kill the pests themselves, but for large nests, it may be best to call in a professional.
Dr. Anthony Scalzo with the Missouri Poison Center at Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center told Fox 2 that too many wasp stings can be dangerous. Dr. Scalzo says even people who are not allergic can die from too many stings. "In a toddler, maybe greater than five stings per couple of pounds of body weight" can be fatal, he says. "In an adult it could be, technically, as few as 30-50 stings from a wasp."
That's one reason Arduser says wasp and yellow jacket nests should be left alone if the insects aren't bothering anyone. "They're part of the landscape now," he says. "You just have to sort of learn to live with them like mosquitoes or horseflies or something else. They'll be gone soon, as soon as it gets cold.