ISSUE 13   August 2, 2007


Wasps like yellowjackets (or hornets - see photo) are beneficial insects and predators that feed on insects including caterpillars, flies, crickets and other pests. In the late summer or fall, queens stop laying eggs and their nest decline. As they start to scavenge for food and drink in the late summer, their priority changes to sweets and other carbohydrates. Some wasps become aggressive scavengers around picnics and other outdoors activities where food or drinks are served. Control of scavenging wasps at picnics and other outdoor activities is almost impossible. No insecticides are available that effectively repel or discourage them. The best strategy is to try and avoid attracting them. For example, waiting to serve food and drinks until people are ready to eat, and then promptly putting food away when finished. Dispose of any garbage into a tight-fitting containers. If wasps are bothering you while you eat, do not violently swat at them. This will only make them more aggressive and maybe sting. Gently brush them away or wait for them to fly away. Wasp traps do catch large numbers of wasps, but not enough to control or reduce the wasp population in the fall.

Prairie yellowjacket
 (photo by W. Cranshaw, CSU)

yellowjacket trap
Prairie yellowjacket trap
(photo by W. Cranshaw, CSU)

Janet Knodel
Extension Entomologist

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