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Another interesting yellow jacket observation

Posted by lavender_lass WA zone 4 (My Page) on
Fri, Jun 28, 13 at 20:20

As some of you may remember, I'm trying to live with yellow jackets in the garden, by finding ways to make them happy yet keep them under control. My mom became allergic a few years ago (no problem before then) but yellow jackets are very prevalent with our hot, dry summers.

So far, I've found that they like water in shallow dishes (as do many beneficial bugs) and they love butterfly bushes...which seem to make them a little drunk. Having both these things away from major paths and doorways, encourage the yellow jackets to stay in more distant areas of the garden.

Bumblebees seem to keep yellow jackets 'in line' probably because the bumblebees are so much bigger. They like the catmint, so the yellow jackets leave it alone. When we have sunflowers, the bumblebees get the flowers and the yellow jackets get the stems :)

Anyway, I must have a small gap around the door to my vehicle, because a small yellow jacket nest was started four times in exactly the same spot. Orange spray (natural orange/citrus oil) seems to deter yellow jackets. Not only does the spray sometimes slow them down a bit...but since I sprayed that area around the door we've had NO MORE nests.

I'm wondering if the strong orange scent has masked any markers the yellow jackets left from previous attempts. Every time they tried before, it was in exactly the same spot. I just thought this was interesting and thought I'd share.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Another interesting yellow jacket observation

That's good to know, I have some yellowjackets making a nest in the eves of my house, they keep remaking it every time it gets knocked down.

I used to wonder who, or what, kept knocking the nest down. Until one day I saw our resident blue jay, a very cheeky fellow, doing some odd acrobatic maneuvers to get his feet up under the eve, sure enough the nest was knocked down afterwards. I think he waits for the nest to have a few well developed larvae and then he knocks it down and eats them. Next time it's knocked down however, I'm heading out there with some orange oil spray.

RE: Another interesting yellow jacket observation

Last year a nest was built in the driver's side wing mirror of my truck. The battery was dead and I finally decided to call triple a. I went out to release the hood. 2 yellow jackets got me. One behind my right ear. As I threw up my arm one got me on the elbow. It had been many many years since one got me. I had forgotten how bad they hurt.
While the tow truck was here I sprayed with wasp killer. After the battery was up and running, I drove down the street and a couple yj's followed me.

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