Yellowjacket DOs and DON'Ts
Around this time of year, people who know what I do for a living always want to talk about the bugs. They'll tell me how many yellowjacket traps they bought this year and how many yellowjackets they've caught. They'll ask me if it's going to be a bad year for yellowjackets. They'll ask me if we're working on a trap for such-and-such bug. They'll describe a nest they recently found and ask me what kind I think it is.
The other night I was in a gathering of area professionals at Arbor Crest Winery after work. One colleague mentioned to me that her husband had recently found a large nest of some sort (it turned out to be bald-faced hornets) in a neighbor's tree. She described her horror as she watched him, a grown man, make sport of it by throwing rocks at this nest to try and knock it down.
So perhaps it's time to talk about DOs and DON'Ts when it comes to yellowjackets or other stinging insects.
- Look before you sip your drink. Yellowjackets are attracted to sweet foods and drinks like soda and juices. (We've had a couple of consumers tell us of their experience taking a sip from their pop can, only to be stung in the throat by a yellowjacket. Ouch!)
- Cover trash containers and keep them away from eating areas. Yellowjackets forage in garbage for food scraps and drink containers.
- Wear heavy clothing when walking in wooded areas. Yellowjackets can sting through lightweight fabrics.
- Try to remain calm in the presence of yellowjackets. Move slowly and deliberately and gently brush the yellowjacket away if it lands on you.
- Call a professional pest control operator to remove a yellowjacket nest. This is a dangerous task for an amateur.
- Swat at yellowjackets. They are more likely to attack and sting when aggravated.
- Smash a yellowjacket. When crushed, they give off an alarm pheromone that can cause others in the area to attack.
- Wear perfume, scented hairspray or lotion, or brightly colored clothes if you are going outdoors. Yellowjackets are attracted to these things.
- Let children play in overgrown or wooded areas. These are prime nesting sites for yellowjackets.
- Use gasoline to eliminate yellowjackets. Gasoline should never be poured into underground nest holes.
I suppose I'll need to add a new DON'T to the list after hearing my friend's story: Don't throw anything at an aerial yellowjacket or hornet nest to knock it down!
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Regarding your last paragraph:
"I suppose I'll need to add a new DON'T to the list after hearing my friend's story: Don't throw anything at an aerial yellowjacket or hornet nest to knock it down!"
Is it still a "Don't" even if you have someone there to catch it?
Posted by: Steve | Aug 9, 2005 11:06:47 AM
Well, is that person your enemy? They may be after the nest falls on them.
Posted by: Stephanie | Aug 10, 2005 3:16:48 PM
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