Wasps and yellow jackets active during the fall

If any buildings on your property face south, you’ve noticed by now all the box elder bugs and wasps that are attracted to the warmth of any south facing wall. The box elder bugs are more of a nuisance and could very likely find their way inside your home, but the wasps and yellow jackets present a physical danger, especially for those who are highly reactive to their stings and it may cause serious allergic reactions. So why are wasps and yellow jacket so darn aggressive this time of year?
Late summer and fall is the time of year when populations of yellow jackets (often mistakenly called “bees”) and other social wasps become large and noticeable. The wasps have been present since spring, but because colonies start as a single queen, populations are very small through the early part of the summer. Yellow jacket wasp populations peak during later summer when each nest may have up to approximately 5,000 wasps.
Some yellow jacket species become aggressive scavengers and can disrupt outside activities where food or drink are served. Control of scavenging yellow jackets is difficult, as there are no insecticides that effectively repel or discourage them. It is possible to spray soapy water on individual yellow jackets to kill them.
The best strategy is to minimize attracting them.
Wait to serve food and drink until people are ready to eat.
Promptly put away food when done and throw garbage into a container with a tightly fitting lid.
Examine glasses, cans, and other containers before drinking from them to check for yellow jackets that may have flown inside. If a yellow jacket flies into your food, wait for it to fly away or gently brush it away.
If only a few yellow jackets are bothering your activity, ignoring them or capturing them with a net and crushing them may be sufficient.
Traps may catch many wasps, but not enough are captured to noticeably reduce their activity in the fall.
For more information on social wasps and bees in the upper Midwest, visit the following University of Minnesota website from which some of the information in this article was used: http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/insects/find/wasp-and-bee-control/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *