Nothing ruins a romantic fresh air picnic like the buzzing of angry yellow jackets—especially since, unlike the useful honey bee, they can use their stingers over and over again...
Step 1: Seal trashcans Yellow jackets are looking for protein and sugars to feed on, so the first thing to do is to make sure you’ve tightly sealed all outdoor trashcans.
TIP: If you have a compost heap, make sure it’s in a sealed container or far from the part of the yard you want to be in—and don’t compost bones or meat scraps.
Step 2: Clear away fruit Clear your yard of any fruit that’s fallen off of trees.
TIP: Since yellow jackets are particularly attracted to fruit, raw meat, and sugary drinks like sodas, try to keep these items to a minimum when you eat outdoors, and keep them covered until you actually are eating.
Step 3: Hang traps You can buy or make yellow jacket traps to help control the critters. Hang them in early summer if possible, before the queens start searching for nesting grounds.
TIP: Cutting a hole in a two-liter bottle filled with sugar water will attract and trap yellow jackets, but it will also catch other beneficial insects.
Step 4: Locate nests If the insidious insects are still dampening your romantic life, look for their nest—carefully!—in logs, stumps, below eaves, or even underground.
Step 5: Call an exterminator If you find a nest, call a pest control expert to eliminate it.
TIP: If you’re brave (or stupid) enough to attempt to kill the yellow jackets yourself, cover all exposed skin and spray the nest entrance with a dust or aerosol insecticide.
Step 6: Enjoy the outdoors Once you’ve done away with the buzzing beasts, rekindle the romance with all the picnics you desire
FACT: Yellow jackets aren’t only pests—at certain times they feed on harmful flies and caterpillars.