Summary: Bees are buzzing. Wasps are stinging and you're trying to have a quiet picnic. Pest control 101 tells you that food in the open during late summer is an invitation to dance with angry insects.
Trying to picnic in late summer can be hazardous to your health. I'm not talking about heat stroke from ninety degree temperatures and humidity you can cut with a knife. Nor, am I speaking of getting food poisoning from that potato salad that has been baking too long in the sun. I'm referring to the health hazard caused by nature's little stinging machines, the Yellow Jacket wasp.
As summer comes to an end and the kids are preparing to return to school, you decide to have one more family gathering. “Let's get everyone together for an “end of summer” picnic.” Unbeknownst to you,
Paravespula germanica, the German yellow jacket, is planning its own “end of summer” event on the same patch of land where you hope to spread you blanket.
You need to know that from August through October, yellow jackets build up in large populations and scavenge for human food (carbonated beverages, cider, juices, ripe fruits and vegetables, candy, ice cream, fish, ham, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.) All worker yellow jackets die with the first frost, so they are in a frenzy to collect food for the hive that will help the over-wintering queen survive. By the end of summer a yellow jacket colony can reach a maximum size of 4,000 to 5,000 workers and a nest of 10,000 to 15,000 cells.
Knowing all this, if you are still determined to have that picnic, keep these tidbits of information in mind. Keep food covered until eaten, especially ripe fruit and soft drinks. Any scent of food caused by outdoor cooking, eating, feeding pets or garbage cans will attract many bees and wasps Yellow jackets have a lance-like stinger without barbs and can sting repeatedly. This insect is bold, aggressive and, if provoked, can sting repeatedly and painfully. Should a yellow jacket wasp fly near you or land on your body, never swing or strike at it or run rapidly away. Quick movements often provoke attacks. When a wasp is near you, remain calm and stationary for a while. Then, move very slowly away from where the wasps are swarming and avoid stepping on the ground nest.
Wasps and bees can fly about six to seven miles per hour so humans can outrun them. However, by the time you start running you may incur numerous painful stings caused by your rapid movement. Never strike, swing or crush a wasp or bee against your body since it could incite nearby yellow jackets into a frenzied attack. Wasp venom contains a chemical "alarm pheromone," released into the air, signaling guard wasps to come and sting whomever and whatever gets in their way.
Bon Appétit and don't say I didn't warn you.
Click here to watch my short video on how to control wasps.
13 Aug 2009, 01:30
i have gone into my kitchen last night and there are about 20 wasps in my
kitchen strip light, i have a big phobia of them and dont know what to
25 Aug 2009, 16:59
We have yellow jackets in the siding of our house. Can we spray them and
cover up the hole or do you HAVE TO remove the hive. We are in IL and
hopefully the fall cool/cold weather may kill whats left after spraying but
there are still weeks of warm weather left.
25 Aug 2009, 18:18
How do wasps/hornets/yellow jackets get in the "walls'? Our home was built
in 1977 and I don't see any cracks outside or around the windows. Could
they be coming in the roof, then in the attic, then in the walls? We have
bees in the house, a couple per week and I was just wondering. So, HOW DO
THEY GET INTO WALLS?? Where do I need to look??
27 Aug 2009, 14:45
We have yellow jackets in the house. I noticed them 3 weeks ago.I found
the location of there activity. I called our exterminator. They dusted
and sprayed. We stopped seeing hundreds of them a day. But still had them
coming in the house. So I had the exterminator back out and they sprayed
and dusted again. Again the amount has reduced but I am still getting them
in the house. I have now had the exterminator out 3 times. I have
probably vaccuum up 800 plus . My question is how long should this take to
end my battle with them?? Should I put steel wool in the hole?? Help??
30 Aug 2009, 03:51
We're in northern IL and have an outside speaker under a cantilevered part
of the house. I see wasps going behind the speaker, so I assume there is a
nest behind the siding. In the bedroom above this, I keep finding dead
wasps on the window, which is kept closed all the time, and on the carpet
in front of the window. I don't see any obvious openings inside the room.
I have two questions. How are they getting in and why are they dieing?
30 Aug 2009, 11:24
I wonder if they eat at out grill?
or the drippings below? It does not
say they "eat" at flowers. Huh
01 Sep 2009, 00:31
I posted earlier about my YJ problem but it is getting worse. I mow my
land (3 acres) every week and the amount of land I can mow is decreasing
due to my YJ problem. I now have a total of 5 active nests on my property.
I have managed to kill 4 others but 5 remain and it seems like they are
building new ones every week. Is this part of the other nests or are they
separate? If they are separate will the different nests fight with each
other? The nests are all in the ground and are in three different corners
of my property with 2 some what in the middle so I don't think they are all
connected? I can continue treating the nests but it seems they are just
taking advantage of my short grass and either moving and building a new
nest when I treat one or new ones are joining the party. Is there any way
to run them away from my property or am I just stuck with them?...Thanks
16 Sep 2009, 00:19
No pesitcide way to remove a nest! My wife is allergic and I have kids. I
can't afford an exterminator. I hooked up my shopvac hose to a 2x4 with
duc-tape near the entrance to a nest near an overhang on my house. I left
the vac on from 1pm to 4 pm and got about 50-70 bees. Then I plugged the
hole. It has been bee free ever since.
18 Sep 2009, 09:04
I have a yellow jack nest in the ground
under my porch I need to clean up everything under there. When would be a
safe time to do this? end of sept? middle of oct?
22 Sep 2009, 13:37
can they kill you
01 Apr 2013, 17:10
every year i spray my vinyl siding with malathion for yellow jackets
building homes in my siding. every year, they still come back! help!
01 Apr 2013, 17:15
WHAT DO I DO TO KILL THESE LITTLE DEVILS, I HAVE AN OUTDOOR SWIMMING POOL
AND EVERY SUMMER MY GRANDDAUGHTERS STAY WITH MY WIFE AND I AND SWIM. THE
WASPS LAND ON THE WATER AND I'M AFRAID THEY WILL GET STUNG. I SPRAY MY
SIDING WITH MALATHION. BUT CAN'T SEEM TO RID ALL OF THEM. I'LL TAKE ANY