Photo 1: Yellowjacket leaving the entrance of an aerial nest. Note black and yellow coloration
Photo 2: Honey bee. Note the brown and black body. Don't confuse honey bees with yellowjackets!
Yellowjackets are about ½ inch long, black and yellow, and with few hairs on their body. While honey bees are a similar size, they are mostly a golden brown with black stripes on their abdomen and hairy. While yellowjackets are very common around structures, honey bees are rarely found around homes. Correct identification of stinging insects is further complicated as many people call yellowjackets and wasps bees. Be sure your insects are correctly identified so you know the correct course of action to take (if a nest found around a home is actually turns out to be a honey bee colony, contact the Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association for help in removing them).
When yellowjackets are found nesting in the ground, they are challenging to control as you do not actually see the nest, just the burrow entrance that will lead to it. It is tempting to use an aerosol 'wasp killer'; however the insecticide does not get into the nest and has minimal effect on the yellowjackets flying back and forth.
Photo 3: Ground-nesting yellowjacket nest. You only see the burrow entrance but not the nest itself.
Yellowjacket nests that are found inside homes in wall voids, attics, concrete blocks, or similar spaces are equally or even more challenging. You cannot see the nest, similar to a subterranean nest, but you can see the workers flying in and out of an opening or crack. A dust labeled for use in homes would ideally be the most effective method but these products are generally not available to the general public.
Ultimately, yellowjackets do not survive the winter. If a nest can be ignored until freezing temperatures arrive, all of the workers and the queen will die. The only survivors are the newly mated queens which have already left the nest. They will seek out sheltered sites in which to overwinter. Next spring, they will start their own nests in different sites (old nests are not reused).