Time for yellow jackets, other annoying pests

Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

‘Tis the season! It’s time for those annoying, pesky fall critters that put a damper on outdoor picnics and events. Yellow jacket wasps are out and about looking for sweets to prepare for the winter.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, yellow jackets are beneficial and are great predators, and are considered pollinators. However, they are not beneficial when they show up at the picnic or in your landscape around people.

Therefore, it is OK to remove the nests during the spring and summer if they happen to be in an area where people hang out. Don’t feel guilty! This helps to prevent the problems happening now.

Yellow jackets are around in the early spring and summer. Their populations are small and they tend to go about unnoticed. Until now. The populations are large and they are out and about foraging.

There are wasp traps and a bunch of other methods to help prevent them from coming to outdoor events. These are all helpful and work.

These guys aren’t out to sting people. Their goal is to find the sweets. Stings happen when they get caught in your hair, shirt, pant legs, etc.

My grandkids spent some time at my house this weekend and we worked on standing still when a wasp or bee came around. It was hard for them, believe me. But they eventually realized that they were after the flowers and not them.

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It is a hard concept to learn as you see many people swatting and running from them. The best thing to do is stand still until they decide they aren’t interested.

Again, however, if you have a nest in your door frame or shrubs right outside your door, you increase the chances of getting stung. Therefore, it’s ok to remove them. The time to do it is early in the season before they build their nests.

Wasps won’t reuse the nest. They die with a hard frost and the queens overwinter. They will build back in the same areas.

Other fall insects include multicolored Asian lady beetle, brown marmorated stink bug, and leaffooted bug.

These insects are seeking an overwintering site and it’s usually in your house. They are annoying, but not that big of a deal. Of course, that is just my opinion. Some people are quite annoyed by them. And that’s ok too.

What I find quite interesting is the fact that some years the populations are high and others they are low.

For instance, we haven’t had a big problem in my area with any of these insects in the last few years. I can remember when we had incredible numbers of multicolored Asian lady beetles.

The bottom line is that we are entering the season when these annoying pests are out and about and Extension offices will start getting calls about them. Be prepared.

Pamela Corle-Bennett is the state master gardener volunteer coordinator and horticulture educator for Ohio State University Extension. Contact her by email at bennett.27@osu.edu.

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