How to protect red raspberries from yellow jackets?

lsohApril 6, 2012

I have a very small patch of red raspberries. Not enough to share with the local wildlife. Yellow jackets have been a problem. I was finding that my berries were 1/2 eaten by something. The bottoms were gone. The remains were doughnut shaped. As it got worse, I found yellow jackets with their heads burried in the berries and their back ends sticking out. By the end of last season, there were so many yellow jackets, I couldn't even pick them anymore. Seemed like every berry had a yellow jacket burried in it. At that point it didn't matter because the berries were pretty much ruined.

Any suggestions on how to save my red raspberries from yellow jackets this year?

Thanks.

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denninmi(8a)

Well, if it is a small patch as you say, you could cover it with a big piece of spun-bonded polyester row cover when the first berries are just starting to turn color. Or some other similar lightweight fabric mesh that allows air, light, and water to get through but would keep out the bugs.

Something along the lines of what I am posting in the link would work. You can use a stapler to easily piece together lengths of it into wider sheets, or do a google search, and you can find suppliers that sell it in all kinds of widths and lengths.

Here is a link that might be useful: Polyester row cover

    Bookmark   April 6, 2012 at 7:49PM
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lsoh

Thanks.

I have a couple of questions.

Can I drape this directly over the plants, or will they get tangled in the canes?

Will this decrease the sunlight, resulting in less sweet berries?

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 7:11AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

last years plague .. may not be an issue at all this year ...

you might be worrying about nothing ...

but that shouldnt stop you form being proactive ..

you might want to contact your LOCAL county extension office.. and see if they noticed last years plague..

ken

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 9:56AM
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ray4852

I trap with a quart jar half full with water. Add some strawberry jam, and sugar to the jar. your jar will fill up with yellow jackets.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 8:02PM
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denninmi(8a)

Yes, you can drape the lightweight row cover directly over the plants, it's so light it doesn't hurt them, and it doesn't hold water to speak of, so even when it rains not a problem.

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 8:06PM
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glenn_russell(6b RI)

I'm interested in this thread as yellow jackets become a real problem for me late in the summer. I've tried sugar liquid traps, and you'll get a couple of 'em, but I think they just rather go for the berries. The best protection I found is prevention... they like the over-ripe berries the best, and if you pick every day carefully, the berries never get overripe, and the yellow jackets are less interested.
-Glenn

    Bookmark   April 8, 2012 at 8:30PM
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lavender_lass(4b)

I think Glenn is right, about the over ripe berries. Also, if you plant some butterfly bushes (just the common purple ones) nearby...the yellow jackets might calm down a bit. There's something in the butterfly bushes (not sure what) but the yellow jackets love to sit on the bushes and they almost act a little drunk.

You can also plant some catmint (on the opposite side of the raspberries, from the butterfly bushes) and this should bring in the bumblebees...if you have any, in your area. I've noticed the bumblebees seem to be push the yellow jackets, out of their area. The two will coexist, but the bumblebees seem to be in charge...and the yellow jackets retreat to another area, of the yard.

When the raspberries are blooming...you'll probably get the bumblebees and anything else coming over to check out the berrries...but again, the oldest, overly ripe berries, seem to cause the most problems. Oh, and picking early in the morning or early in the evening, might help, too.

Good luck with your berries :)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 11:41AM
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Sheri26

Nothing was noted about pesticides or other organic methods. We are having a larger scale problem, since we are commercial. We want to continue organic methods, but it is very tempting to apply whatever works. We have kept the patch clear of over-ripe berries, now they are going after the not-so-ripe.

Has anyone had success with planting any other companion plants, or other organic methods to deter these ravenous creatures? And, any success with any pesticides that won't harm the bees? We are at this point loosing over 50% of our fall crop.

Thanks

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 9:15AM
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alan haigh

Sheri, have you tried massive trapping? I get reasonable control this way although in heavy years it can take a week or two to kill enough wasps to begin to see results.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2013 at 9:25AM
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