COUNTY AG NEWS

Wasps and Hornets interrupt Summer fun

This is about the time of year to get advice for dealing with dreaded summer pests: wasps and hornets. As we head into the heat of summer, we become more aware of the presence of this pest near our homes.   Most of the time, these calls are regarding yellowjackets (Vespula spp.), the readily recognized yellow and black insects that can make their home in holes in the ground, hollow areas between walls or a ceiling/attic space, or other open areas where they can build their nest.  These are often the insects that you encounter when your lawnmower disturbs a ground nest in the summer which sends you running for cover. Another species that you may encounter is the slightly larger bald-faced hornet (Dolichovespula maculata) which makes a paper nest, often found in trees in the late fall after the leaves have dropped. Yellowjackets, hornets, and paper wasps live in colonies, meaning they live and work together as compared to solitary bees which live in isolation. Each spring a queen builds up a colony and each fall the colony will die off. A nest starts up in the spring when a small group of females—that will become queens the following year—are settled into a protected area that is shelter throughout the winter. Each year a new nest has to be constructed for the colony.

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