Yellow Jackets

What Sound Does A Wasp Make When It Hits Your Windshield?… Bee Flat!!!!

What Sound Does A Wasp Make When It Hits Your Windshield?… Bee Flat!!!!

Yellow Jackets

I know we have discussed these nasty pests before but as our weather becomes hotter this month I expect will be seeing more wasps soon.  I have a few in the greenhouse , but as they eat whitefly, aphids and other pests and are not so aggressive to humans yet I have not been overly concerned.

Yellow Jackets are a predatory social wasp and one of the most menacing insects known to mankind.  Unlike other wasps or hornets they are the most aggressive, they can bite and sting and can do this multiple times as their stinger does not break off their body after they use it.  On top of that they will attack unprovoked and may leave a chemical behind that will mark you out as a threat, summoning other Yellow Jackets to attack.  Only female Yellow Jackets have stingers which are located on their abdomens and they are very defensive of their nests.

Yellow Jackets die off in the late fall leaving only the Queen to over winter in a sheltered spot where in spring she will awaken, create a small nest and lay a starter group of workers.  They will hatch and create a larger nest so the Queen can do her job of creating more workers and the workers will take care of the offspring by gathering the necessities of life.  In spring and early summer this consists of gathering protein in the form of mosquito, caterpillar, and other garden pests.  In late summer and fall this turns to a more sugar based diet and this is where the problems start.  This is when picnics, barbecues and other social festivities become a magnet for their attention any meats or sweets become a open invitation to them.  To give yourself a fighting chance at a enjoyable out of door event there are a few things you can do  prevent unfortunate and painful stings or bites. 

Ensure that all fruit and berries are picked up and all rotting fruit is removed.  This is best done in the early morning or late evening when they are less active.

Be sure to bury this fruit and all other fresh compost deeply in your compost pile.

Keep your food covered as best as possible and remove all traces of it when finished eating.  

Do not drink from tins.  Many a person has been stung on the lips and tongue and I can’t imagine anything more painful.

Wasp traps with meat and sweet attractants placed around your home will help.  Paper nests will not deter ground nesting Yellow Jackets.

Swatting and Flailing only agitate them more, (which is my downfall).

Watch where you sit and do not go barefoot.

If you do get stung or bit you can do a few things to soothe the bite.  Ice cubes will numb the area as well as Polysporin with Lidocaine.  A paste with baking soda, meat tenderizer with an ingredient called Papain, a plantain poultice, slices of onion, a damp tea bag, tooth paste and believe it or not preparation H.  Be sure to watch for signs of shortness of breath, swelling around the mouth area, wheezing or if there are more than 10 bites.  Yellow Jackets can be deadly to those who are allergic to them.

Due to global warming. nests  in Alabama the size of small cars have been found containing hundreds of thousand of Yellow Jackets, they are  appearing due to their ability to survive over the winter.   Now there is a new wasp from Korea and it is huge and able to decimate a bee hive in very little time.  I bet that one hurts when it stings!

Happy Gardening!

Samantha Nason

BS Ranch & Greenhouses

250 547 6567 • samanthanason@hotmail.com

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