Ground-nesting species of yellow jackets build their nests in protected spaces and often use old rodent burrows for nests. They also may build nests in spaces in the walls or ceilings of homes. Depending on the species, a yellow jacket nest can house between 1,500 and 15,000 insects.
Some aerial-nesting species build nests in eaves of building or hanging from limbs of trees.They are territorial and fiercely defend their nests. These insects can sting repeatedly if disturbed, so it is wise to avoid their nests. Ground-nesting yellow jackets are medium-sized insects with black bodies and yellow bands, while the bands of aerial-nesting yellow jackets are white.