Monday, September 7, 2009

Wasps & Yellowjackets

People go crazy in the presence of bees and wasps.  In every case this is the wrong response even if you are allergic to them. (Except in the case of an Africanized bee colony.  In that case run as fast as you can and get inside, don't fling your arms around, run!  You can run faster than they can fly.) Bees and wasps are good for your garden.  Of course bees are important pollinators essential to the production of your fruit and vegetables.  Wasps are terrific predators of many of the pests that harm your garden.  Second good point is they really have no desire to sting you.  In the case of the bees they don't survive the experience and in the case of the wasps it's just a case of fear.  So lets gain a little perspective here and try not to go berserk.   If you have bees or wasps hanging around you, stay calm, don't flail your arms around you.  Give them time to move away or just (still calm) walk away slowly.  
Still they can be unnerving if you find a nest of them around your house.  Because of the problem of Africanized bees, if you find a colony on your property it is best to call a person that has experience in removing bees and stay away from the site until they are removed.  Your extension office can help you find someone qualified to remove the bees.  See the linked article for more information on Africanized bees.

Wasps (see the picture) are another problem but there are some easy ways to lure them to their death.  Check out the link below from the "Organic Gardening" website and build a homemade trap.

Wasps can be solitary or social types.  All can sting.  They tend to be omnivores, eating a variety of food sources.  They kill other insects to feed their larva.  As adults they are nectar feeders which is why you can lure them to their death.  Nests can be in the ground or extensive "paper" or mud constructions.  Find more information and another trap in the "Backyard Gardener" column linked below.

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