HerbDoc has been doing battle with yellow jackets:
I reluctantly took the hummingbird feeder in about ten days ago. It hangs under the eaves on my second floor deck and had been invaded by some very aggressive yellow jackets. They couldn’t actually get into the glass jar since the stems of the flowers are very small, but they were congregating at the joints where they were apparently getting nectar.
I thought about covering the stems with Vaseline, but due to the extremely aggressive nature of these insects, I opted to take the feeder down. They were chasing the hummingbirds away from their claimed property. When I swatted a couple of wasps in frustration, some ants came to carry the bodies away, and the remaining yellow jackets stung the ants! The final straw came several days later when I was out watering plants on the deck, and they stung me! Long after the feeder was gone; if someone opened the door, the yellow jackets magically appeared.
I know they’re in a ground nest out in the woods, but I don’t plan on looking for them anytime soon. As with all wasps, the nest would have to be located during the day and then eliminated after dark to prevent them from chasing/stinging me.
I’ve resorted to putting out my old-fashioned wasp/fly trap filled with sugar and juice on the deck away from the door. It has caught a number of wasps and flies to date and happily I didn’t meet up with any yellow jackets when I brought some of my plants in prior to Hurricane Earl.
What is it with yellow jackets, anyway? I also have them at my hummer feeders, despite the fact that they can’t get to the nectar. I watch them chase away my few remaining birds and I want to rush out and squish them! But, I have 3 feeders, so there is usually a way for the hummers to sneak in and feed.
Be very wary about squishing them! They come in bigger numbers and
are angry when their buddies are killed. As an aside, one of our favorite places for gardening stuff, Job Lot, is selling these cool electrified tennis racquets. When the button is pushed and an insect is hit, it zaps it right out of the air or anywhere! I bought several of these for the deck, and kids and adults alike are getting a big bang out of them. (Yes, they do kill the yellow jackets but I wouldn’t sit outside while I was attempting that!)
I hear you. I am staying out of it!
Just heard on the news tonight that a lady was minding her own business in her yard and was stung by 500 (yes! five hundred) yellow jackets! Now that is definitely an ouch!
How scary and horrible! I, on the other hand, was actually stung once over the weekend – right after reading your post!