Yellow Jacket Alert

posted Jul 25, 2012, 10:56 AM by Park Ranger   [ updated Jul 25, 2012, 11:24 AM ]

The Yellow Jacket (ground wasp) population at McKaig is unusually large and unusually aggressive this year due to the dry summer. 



Please stay on the trails where the soil is more compact and avoid letting your pet explore off trail.  Also, use caution in crossing fallen logs and water bars.


A caring member called in to note a yellow jacket nest under a water bar lower Cadet Trail (as you approach from the Croton Road entrance). 


Use caution: step over ALL water bars. Yellow Jackets often nest under fallen logs, water bars and around stumps where soil is softer and the entrance is sheltered from wind.  Jumping and running will send vibrations through the ground that agitate the Yellow Jackets.  This will cause them to swarm and sting.


A number of children from the Adventure Day Camp at Roberts Elementary School were stung last week.  Some were stung multiple times.  This included children on trips into McKaig with UMPHF Executive Director Russ Johnson (who himself was stung on two occasions). 


With Yellow Jackets, the stinger remains with the wasp after the first sting, so they can sting again and again.  This can result in multiple stings to the person who inadvertently steps on or near a nest.  If the wasps swarm out to defend their nest, multiple people in a hiking party can be stung.


Because these stinging wasps are striped yellow and black, they are sometimes referred to as "ground bees." Actually, they are related to the paper wasp and make large nests under ground, or sometimes in cavities in the walls of buildings and in attics.


So please be on the alert as you hike.  If you can get the exact location of a hive on a trail or where others are likely to encounter it, please contact us at so we can flag or eliminate the danger.