Sickened by stings
If you are allergic to wasp, hornet or yellowjacket stings, you know that it only takes one to cause a life-threatening reaction.
But sometimes, you're not aware of your allergy until it's nearly too late. Take the case of a Puyallup, Washington man who is on a ventilator after getting stung on the Fourth of July. According to his brother, "He's never been allergic to bees (yellowjackets). He's had tons and tons of stings in his whole life. Never had an allergic reaction, ever."
That gentleman is one of five people in western Washington who were treated recently for anaphylactic shock after being stung.
Here's the complete story from KOMO News in Seattle.
Oooh... Ahhh.... OUCH!
Thankfully, no one needed to be hospitalized for an allergic reaction.
Still catchin' after all these weeks
A happy customer sent us this video last week of her Yellowjacket Trap. Notice how high the "body count" is -- almost to the top of the cone -- yet it's still catching live yellowjackets!
Loving the Disposable Yellowjacket Trap
We heard from two customers last week who were so happy with the RESCUE! Disposable Yellowjacket Trap that they just had to share photos and video!
Mike in Capitola, California showed us how the yellowjackets were going crazy over the trap:
And Cheryl-Lynn here in Spokane Valley, Washington sent us photos illustrating how well the traps were working on a family camping trip to Downs Lake, where they found this yellowjacket nest in the ground:
Hanging up several of our traps helped reduce the population dramatically, as they got quite full -- literally teeming with yellowjackets:
Here's a closeup. Note the paper wasp (to the right of the yellow cone -- the one with longer wings) trying to get in!
Videos of the Week: A single yellowjacket sting can kill
Today's featured videos are actually two TV spots we created for the RESCUE! Yellowjacket Trap, featuring a testimonial told from both a husband's and wife's perspective. Greg Romey was working in the front yard when a single yellowjacket stung him on the ankle. He started feeling dizzy, his breathing became labored, and after a panicked ten-minute ride to the hospital, his heart stopped.
Our company president met Greg by chance at a youth basketball game. When Greg learned that the guy sitting next to him in the bleachers created the RESCUE! Yellowjacket Trap, he exclaimed, "Those things saved my life!" He proceeded to describe how that single yellowjacket sting had nearly killed him, and how the allergist who treated him afterwards recommended our product to keep them away from Greg.
We decided Greg's story had to be told, and that's what you'll see here in these two videos.
Video of the Week: Insect Smackdown!
Here's a hornet attacking a cicada:
Here's the carnage after a yellowjacket mauled some sort of black wasp or fly:
And watch as this wasp attacks a large spider and drags it away:
The insect world is brutal, ain't it?
This is WHY he likes our traps
Time to dump the bodies in this one -- there's no room for more to get in!
Side by side, both traps are working wondrously!
Thanks, Ron! Anyone else have photos to share? Send them here.
Video of the Week: How to treat a wasp/hornet/yellowjacket sting
I'll be heading out with the rest of our office to our annual Company Picnic in about half an hour. Thankfully, this has always been a sting-free event, thanks to our R&D folks who hang copious amounts of our RESCUE! Yellowjacket Traps -- and now our W*H*Y Trap -- all around the Liberty Lake County Park and the pavillion where we enjoy the potluck meal.
But even with traps in use, there is still a danger of getting stung, and that's why it's good to know the tips contained in this video where a Registered Nurse explains what to do if that happens:
A UK man accidentally fell onto a bush that contained a large wasp or yellowjacket nest and was stung over 200 times.
The man was rushed to the hospital and is expected to survive.
First monster yellowjacket nest sighting of the season
A couple in Pasco County, Florida recently found a monster yellowjacket nest on the outside of a tree while hiking through the woods. They called in the experts, who suited up before destroying the nest with soapy foam and a shovel.
The nest likely contained multiple queens and thousands of yellowjackets. Yikes!
WHY-vangelists share their photos
I caught five yellowjacket queens and one blackjacket queen over the weekend in my W*H*Y Trap. Unfortunately, I can't show you this catch because I forgot to take a photo of it -- it was time to rebait the trap and I was eager to do so to catch the paper wasps I saw flying around.
Thankfully, we have some early WHY-vangelists who have done a better job of documenting what their W*H*Y Trap has caught so far this spring. Take a look...
Pat Pfeifer in Plummer, Idaho had a good early catch of wasps in the top chamber of his W*H*Y Trap (note the bodies that had already sunk to the bottom of the water):
This photo shows a trap in Canada -- Creston, BC to be exact. The catch is from late April/early May:
Here are some photos showing the top and the bottom of the W*H*Y Trap in Greenacres, Washington:
Our favorite is still from Stamford, TX -- this shows a catch made back in February!
Keep those W*H*Y Trap photos coming, folks!
If you're using the W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets, here's a helpful hint we've discovered:
When baiting the top chamber, add 1-2 drops of dishwashing liquid to the top chamber. This will coat the insects' wings and make it harder for them to fly once trapped -- which leads to an earlier death... mmmwahahahaha!
Ahem. Happy trapping.
Video of the Week: Yellowjackets, Hornets & Wasps... Oh my!
Our featured video this week comes courtesy of Hal Coleman, entomologist in Atlanta. Hal talks about the differences between wasps, hornets and yellowjackets. The highlight of the video occurs halfway in, when he hoists an extremely large bald-faced hornet nest up near his head.
Video of the Week: A queen at rest
Here's a good closeup of a queen yellowjacket. (And no, she doesn't have a tiny crown on her head.)
If you're experiencing warm spring weather where you live, this lady is coming out of hibernation to start building her kingdom. Make sure you have a trap to stop her!
Video of the Week: Nests in unusual places
This week's video installment features several examples of how yellowjackets like to nest in unusual places, such as:
An old lawnmower...
A pile of discarded newspapers...
Under a kitchen sink...
Have you ever encountered a yellowjacket nest in an unusual location?
Amazing photos of insect eyes
The eyes have it! This link is worth a look-see.
Video of the Week: Putting traps to the test
Looks like we have a winner:
Wasps attack schoolchildren
This is what happens when you throw rocks at a wasp nest, as 30 schoolchildren in Australia learned the hard way last week.
W*H*Y Wednesday: The Western Yellowjacket
Today's post closes out the W*H*Y Wednesday series we started in Fall 2008 that focused on each of the 20 species caught in the W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets.
Last, but certainly not least, is Vespula pensylvanica, the Western Yellowjacket.
Western Yellowjackets are most easily identified by the yellow ring surrounding the upper portion of the eye, commonly called an “eye loop”. Their abdominal markings closely resemble that of the German Yellowjacket, marked with a black diamond on the uppermost segment. Roughly a half inch in length, like other yellowjacket species, they will have stout bodies, black antennae and yellow legs.
The Western Yellowjacket is found not only in the Western U.S., but also the Upper Midwest, as illustrated in the map below:
Western Yellowjackets will scavenge for protein and sugar, becoming "picnic pests". This species is known to create severe problems for loggers, fruit growers and those engaged in outdoor activities.
The majority of Western Yellowjacket nests are found in abandoned rodent burrows, but they've also been found in attics and building walls. Colonies range from 1000 to 5000 workers at peak size. In warmer climates, entire colonies can overwinter -- not just the queen.
Western Yellowjackets may be a hazard if agitated while scavenging. They are also a stinging hazard if the nest is disturbed. Western Yellowjackets can be very annoying to humans, since they are likely to be found near human activity.
Here's a video we shot of a Western Yellowjacket nest, located under the front steps of a house:
W*H*Y Wednesday: The Transition Yellowjacket
Today's featured species is Vespula flavopilosa, the Transition Yellowjacket.
If insects could experience human emotions, V. flavopilosa would probably have an identity crisis. This species (sometimes called a Hybrid Yellowjacket) is so named because it's thought to be a cross between the Eastern and German Yellowjacket, and possibly related to the Common and Western Yellowjacket. Like these other species, Transition Yellowjackets have yellow and black coloration and a stout body, and are roughly 1/2 inch in length.
V. flavopilosa is also occasionally called the "Downy Yellowjacket" or "Yellow-haired Yellowjacket" because of the fine yellow hairs all over its body -- as shown in the top photo on this site.
This species is found in the Northeastern U.S., as illustrated on the map below:
Transition Yellowjackets will scavenge for protein, are attracted to meats and sugary foods, and may be pests around trash cans and picnics. They are less likely to be near human dwellings than other species such as the German Yellowjacket and Eastern Yellowjacket. This species is a stinging hazard if agitated while scavenging or if the nest is disturbed.
Their nests are subterranean, carton-shaped and tan-colored with 500-1,000 workers. Common nest sites are in yards, along roadsides and sometimes within structures.
Good news if you have this species in your back yard: The W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets will catch Transition Yellowjackets!
Yellowjacket Traps are part of the job
(Wendy Edelstein photo)
Just came across this article from a UC-Berkeley publication that profiles a staff member -- in this case, it was the person who handles pest management for the campus, Margaret Hurlbert. Of course, we liked seeing our Yellowjacket Trap in the photo as one of the tools she employs... she says she uses them to control yellowjackets around dining facilities, childcare centers, children's sports camps and the campus stadium.
W*H*Y Wednesday: the Southern Yellowjacket
Today's featured species is Vespula squamosa, known as the Southern Yellowjacket.
This yellowjacket has been a thorn (sting?) in the side of people who live in warmer climates, because its colonies can survive the winter and grow to become massive. Monster yellowjacket nests like this one in Florida and this one in Georgia (100,000 yellowjackets in the cab of a truck) are most likely built by V. squamosa.
The Southern Yellowjacket can be distinguished from other yellowjackets in the southern U.S. by two long, yellow stripes on the thorax. Its stout body is about 5/8 inches long, which is larger than average for most yellowjackets. The Southern Yellowjacket queen is distinguished by an orange abdomen with very few black bands.
Southern Yellowjackets will scavenge for protein and are attracted to meats and sugary foods, and may be pests around trash cans and picnics. In warm climates, some Southern Yellowjacket colonies can overwinter, lasting longer than a year. This species is considered a social parasite to other yellowjackets, usually taking over Eastern Yellowjacket nests.
Southern Yellowjackets inhabit the southern and eastern U.S., as far north as PA and MI, and as far west as TX. Their "footprint" is shown in the highlighted portion of the map below:
Southern Yellowjacket nests are likely to be found in urban and suburban areas, such as yards, parks and roadsides. Most nests are subterranean, but Southern Yellowjacket nests have been reported in aerial locations and house wall voids. Peak population usually ranges between 500 and 4000 workers. Entire colonies -- not just the queen -- can overwinter in warmer climates.
Colonies are typically large, so disturbing a nest can result in swarming. Since nests are usually found in urban and recreational areas, there is a greater risk of stings and surprise encounters.
Housing starts down -- for people, not for wasps!
We've been hearing the same news for months: new home construction is down. Reuters reported last week that housing starts in December 2008 were down 33.3% from 2007 and new home building permits were down 36.2%.
Not to be flip about a serious problem facing our economy, but there is one sector of housing that is not likely to be affected by this downturn: the building of wasp, hornet and yellowjacket nests.
There is a way you can stop their building and hand them an eviction notice: by putting out traps in spring when the weather starts to warm up. Use either the RESCUE! Yellowjacket Trap for the yellowjackets, or the RESCUE! W*H*Y Trap to stop the wasps, hornets and yellowjackets. Our traps will catch the queens when they emerge from hibernation to scout nest-building locations.
W*H*Y Wednesday: The Prairie Yellowjacket
This species has been observed with two different marking patterns on the abdomen, one of which closely resembles the Forest Yellowjacket. However, the abdominal markings most commonly seen have mostly yellow coloration, thin black bands with center points and black dots.
The Prairie Yellowjacket is found in the highlighted areas in the map below:
Prairie Yellowjackets are predators of only live prey such as spiders, flies, caterpillars and hemipterans. They are not known to hunt other wasp, hornet or yellowjacket species.
This species is abundant in prairie and open forest areas, but are also known to nest in lawns, pastures and golf courses. Most nests are subterranean, but some have been found in wall cavities. Their nests are typically smaller colonies with less than 500 workers.
Prairie Yellowjackets are not a serious stinging hazard unless the nest is disturbed. Because they frequently nest in lawns, this species and its nests are more likely to be found near human activity.
Here is more information about the Prairie Yellowjacket.
Good news if you have this species in your area: The new W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets will catch Prairie Yellowjackets!
W*H*Y Wednesday: The Northeastern Yellowjacket
This week's featured species is the Northeastern Yellowjacket (Vespula vidua), found in the highlighted portion of the map below. It's a safe bet that most members of this species are quiet right now, with the frigid temps in that part of the U.S. But as with other yellowjackets, the queens will emerge in early spring to look for new nest sites.
Like some Forest Yellowjackets, the Northeastern Yellowjacket is most easily recognized by the thick black band across the upper portion of its abdomen. However, the Northeastern Yellowjacket will never have the two extra spots through the black band, which are present on many Forest Yellowjackets. This species is often called a ground hornet, most likely due to its larger than average size, roughly 5/8 inches long.
Northeastern Yellowjackets commonly make subterranean nests in high traffic areas such as yards and pastures, as well as some forested areas. However, their nests can also be found in logs and manmade structures. Colonies last one year and rarely grow beyond 500 adult workers. Adults feed on sugary foods and forage for live insects to feed larvae.
Northeastern Yellowjackets are not a serious stinging hazard unless the nest is disturbed. However, due to nesting habits in areas of human traffic, the chances of human interaction are increased.
Good news if you have this species in your back yard: The W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets will catch Northeastern Yellowjackets!
Hunting yellowjackets with Johnny Rotten
Punk rocker Johnny Rotten, television host? Yes! We recently learned that John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols) had a 10-episode series on the Discovery Channel in 2005 called "Megabugs", and his engaging personality and fascination with insects make it an entertaining show.
Our new friend Richard Martyniak of All Florida Bee Removal (@AFBR on Twitter) joined up with Johnny for an episode about wasps and yellowjackets. They took apart a Vespula squamosa (Southern Yellowjacket) nest growing on the side of a building.
You can read Richard's recap of the experience and see a video clip here. Fun stuff!
W*H*Y Wednesday: The German Yellowjacket
Today's featured species is Vespula germanica: The German Yellowjacket.
Like most yellowjackets, the German Yellowjacket is roughly a half-inch long with yellow and black coloration. It possesses an arrow shape at the top of the abdomen, much like the Eastern or Transition Yellowjacket, but this marking on the German Yellowjacket is usually narrower than that of other species.
Introduced to the U.S. from Europe, the German Yellowjacket is found primarily in the Northeast. This species is rapidly expanding and now found in limited areas in the Western states of Washington and California. The highlighted areas in the map below show the German Yellowjacket's footprint.
German Yellowjackets are “picnic pests”, frequently scavenging for meats and sugary foods and hovering around trash cans and barbecues. They are a hazard if agitated while scavenging.
Their nests are primarily found in wall voids and structures, but may be subterranean as well. The photos below show a subterranean nest which our scientists excavated several years ago.
W*H*Y Wednesday: The Forest Yellowjacket
Today's featured species, as we close out 2008, is the Forest Yellowjacket, Vespula acadica.
This species is known to have three different marking patterns. Many will resemble the Northeastern Yellowjacket with a solid black band across the upper portion of the abdomen; though the majority will have two yellow or brown spots on this black band. Most rarely observed are the specimens without the black band and more yellow coloration on the abdomen. Their stout bodies measure roughly a half-inch in length like most other yellowjacket species.
The Forest Yellowjackets' habitat is, naturally, in heavily forested areas. The highlighted portion of the map below shows where they are found in the U.S.:
Forest Yellowjacket colonies last for one year. They are predators of live prey only, such as flies, caterpillars, hemipterans and aphids.
Forest Yellowjackets typically build aerial nests, but subterranean nests in logs are not uncommon. This species usually has smaller colonies, with fewer than 500 workers.
Nature toward humans: Because this species is primarily found in more heavily forested areas, the Forest Yellowjacket has limited contact with humans. If the nest is disturbed, Forest Yellowjackets will sting aggressively and persistently.
Good news if you have this species in your back yard: the new W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets from RESCUE! will catch Forest Yellowjackets! And even more good news: We shipped our first truckload of W*H*Y Traps yesterday, and more are on the way in coming weeks. Thanks for following us, and Happy New Year, readers!
Good news if you have this species in your back yard: the new W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets from RESCUE! will catch Forest Yellowjackets!
And even more good news: We shipped our first truckload of W*H*Y Traps yesterday, and more are on the way in coming weeks.
Thanks for following us, and Happy New Year, readers!
W*H*Y Wednesday: the Eastern Yellowjacket
Today's featured species is Vespula maculifrons, or the Eastern Yellowjacket. This species can be distinguished from other yellowjackets by the wide arrow shape at the top of its abdomen. Eastern Yellowjackets carry all the typical yellowjacket physical characteristics, such as a half-inch long stout body, yellow and black coloration, yellow legs and black antennae.
The Eastern Yellowjacket is found in a large section of the U.S. east of the Rockies, as shown in the highlighted portion of the map below:
Eastern Yellowjacket colonies are often found in yards, golf courses, recreational areas and manmade structures. They will scavenge for human food, and therefore are considered "picnic pests".
Eastern Yellowjackets typically build subterranean nests in yards, along roadsides, hardwood forests and creek banks, and in urban areas such as attics and manmade structures. Nests range from 4-12 inches in diameter and are tannish-brown in color, with larger colonies consisting of 3000-5000 workers. Entire colonies -- not just the queen -- can overwinter in warmer climates.
Again, Eastern Yellowjackets are "picnic pests" and can be dangerous if agitated while they are scavenging. They are also a stinging hazard if the nest is disturbed. Since this species is more likely to be found around human activity, Eastern Yellowjackets present more of a stinging hazard than other species.
Good news if you have this species in your backyard: The new W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets will catch Eastern Yellowjackets!
W*H*Y Wednesday: The Common Yellowjacket
Today's featured species is Vespula Vulgaris -- the Common Yellowjacket.
As its name suggests, the Common Yellowjacket possesses all the most common features of yellowjackets: stout body, roughly 1/2 inch in length, yellow and black coloration, yellow legs and black antennae.
As for their habits, Common Yellowjackets will scavenge for protein and are attracted to meats and sugary foods. They are often pests around trash cans and picnics. Colonies will last for one year.
The highlighted portion of the map below shows where Common Yellowjackets are found in the U.S.:
Common Yellowjacket nests are typically constructed in logs, rotting stumps, and in the soil. They are alos commonly found in between the walls of structures. Nests are very brittle and are red to tannish-brown in color.
Nature toward humans: Common Yellowjackets are "picnic pests" and quite annoying to humans. They are also a stinging hazard if agitated while they are scavenging, or if the nest is disturbed.
Good news if you have this species in your backyard: The new W*H*Y Trap for Wasps, Hornets & Yellowjackets from RESCUE! will catch the Common Yellowjacket!