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The Yellow Jacket
You're outdoors enjoying a late-summer picnic and within minutes, dozens of yellow, flying insects intrude on your fun. People often think, " Bees! Often confused with bees, yellow jackets are much more aggressive, and most reported "bee stings" may in fact be yellow jacket stings. As a former hobby beekeeper, it's my duty to stand up for bees and set the record straight! In spring and early summer, yellow jackets are carnivores, feeding mostly on insects to provide protein to developing larvae in their colony.
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In doing so, they help keep garden pests, such as caterpillars, in check. As the season progresses, their population grows and their diet changes to include more sugars. As natural food sources become scarce, they turn to scavenging, and that's when you'll find them lurking around garbage cans and pestering picnickers.
A few yellow jackets here and there are a nuisance, but a nest of them in your yard can pose a real hazard. Yellow jackets often nest underground in rodent burrows, so if you see lots of flying insects emerging from a hole in the ground, they're probably yellow jackets.
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By late summer, a colony may contain thousands of individuals that will aggressively defend their nests from intruders. They're easily provoked and will attack in force, chasing the perceived threat for large distances. What's worse, each yellow jacket can sting multiple times. Sounds and vibrations, such as those from a mower or trimmer, can trigger an attack, even from a distance.
If a yellow jacket nest poses an immediate threat to passersby, including pets, then you may need to take actions see When Yellow Jacket Control is Necessary , below. Be sure to positively identify the insects, however. You don't want to inadvertently destroy the nests of bees or other look-alikes. Getting to know the habits of various flying insects will help you identify them and decide if they pose a serious enough threat that you need to take steps to control them. Paper wasps and hornets , like yellow jackets, are social wasps that is, they form colonies but they nest aboveground.
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They also help control garden pests. Both can inflict nasty stings and can be aggressive, but they don't scavenge like yellow jackets and so are less likely to show up at outdoor activities. Honeybees nest in cavities, such as hollowed out tree trunks or in beekeepers' boxes. In contrast to yellow jackets, honeybees are relatively gentle with the exception of Africanized honeybees. Bees that are out foraging among flowers for nectar and pollen usually sting only if stepped on or swatted. If you approach their nest, they'll defend it but only within the immediate area.
They won't chase you hundreds of yards like yellow jackets will. A honeybee can sting only once. When it stings, its barbed stinger and the attached venom sac are ripped from its body, killing it. So the honeybee stings only as a last resort, sacrificing its life to protect the colony. Bumblebees nest underground, but they are so big they're easy to distinguish from other bees and yellow jackets, and a colony rarely tops individuals, in contrast to the thousands in a yellow jacket colony.
Bumblebees will chase invaders and will pursue them further than honeybees, but they won't come out in droves like yellow jackets because their colonies are relatively small.
Like a yellow jacket, an individual bumblebee can sting multiple times. Some solitary bees nest in the ground but they don't form colonies although several may nest near one another, giving the appearance of a colony.
Solitary bees, such as mason bees, mining bees, leafcutter bees and sweat bees, rarely if ever sting and definitely don't gang up on intruders. Count yourself lucky if they call your garden home; they're great pollinators. There are many nonstinging insects that resemble bees, too. Examples including hoverflies, bee flies and even hummingbird moths. Yellow jacket traps can help keep the population of a nest in check if they're set out in spring and early summer, when the population in the yellow jacket colony is small.
Later in the season, placing the traps around the perimeter of an outdoor seating area may help reduce their pestering, but the traps won't do much to reduce the overall population. If you're stung by a bee, you may be near the nest; leaving the area will prevent further stings.pt.tolazuwevi.tk
A honeybee will leave its barbed stinger in your skin; remove it by scraping the sting site with your fingernail, a butter knife, a credit card or something similar. Don't try to pull it out or you'll squeeze the attached sac and inject more venom. Other bees and wasps don't leave their stingers behind so this step isn't necessary.
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