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How to Deal with Yellow Jackets

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.

You Will Need

  • Lids for your garbage cans
  • And yellow jacket traps
  • A pest control expert

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