Are yellow jackets and wasps like honey bees in that once they have built a nest in a certain spot, they will nest there again because of scent left behind? i.e. if I knock a nest down, should I be concerned that they will nest in that same spot again?
No. I've knocked down probably a hundred or so bald faced hornets nest and dug up or out probably the same on yellow jackets and maybe half that many european hornets and have never observed a nest in the same spot twice. If left untreated; ie, the reproductives and foundresses are allowed to live and overwinter, there will often be nests near the area of the original nest. Just a location thing not a return to the natal nest.
Now here's one I see quite often with red or mahogany wasps. Specific structures may be plagued with annual recurring issues in the spring. Invariably these are structures that allow the foundress access to the soffits and attic where they overwinter. When the first warm days of spring arrive they will emerge enmasse and look for all the world like a swarm on the loose all around the roofline of the struture. Left untreated these structures will often have an increased number of nests around it as could nearby structures.
The protocol for treating these structures are either a general fogging of the attic , if good penetration of the soffits can be assured, or a crack and crevice treatment with a good insecticidal dust of the soffit/roofline either from the interior or exterior or better yet crack and crevice followed by fogging. Be sure that the dust is a residual like Delta so that next years that try to enter get a taste. This can even be followed with an exclusion as well being sure to seal all of these gaps that are allowing entry.
I no longer offer this type of service as I have chosen not to be a PCO in addition to my wildlife work.
I can still do the hornets and yellow jackets though as a shop vac does wonders without the need for chemicals.
BTW, ask me about carpenter bees