One of the downsides of the summer season is the threat of painful bee stings. What many sting victims don’t realize, however, is that many of these “bees” are actually yellow jackets. While yellow jackets are hardly a welcome sight, you can take steps to reduce your risks of encountering these airborne insects.
Yellow Jackets Vs. Honey Bees
There are a number of notable differences between honeybees and yellow jackets. For one thing, yellow jackets are actually a type of wasp. They typically build their nests in burrowing spaces created by various rodents; because of this, they are often seen emerging from holes in the ground. They tend to be rather ill-tempered as well, as they are noticeably more aggressive than honeybees. Most importantly, when attacking a target yellow jackets can sting over and over again, whereas honey bees can sting only once before dying soon afterward.
Cutting Back on Sweets
So why do yellow jackets frequently harass people enjoying the outdoors? A big reason for this behavior is their love of sweets. In the spring and early summer, yellow jackets prefer to dine on caterpillars, grubs and other insects found lurking among gardens. As summer gives way to fall, however, these eating patterns change, with sweeter items becoming much more in demand. Consequently, products such as ice cream, fruit and sugary drinks can all serve as magnets for these yellow and black wasps, putting them in close proximity to humans.
Yellow jackets do not take kindly to being swatted at; should this occur, they will instantly respond by trying to sting their attacker multiple times. Even squashing a yellow jacket can prove counterproductive; when crushed, a yellow jackets body will release chemicals called pheromones, which will antagonize and attract other yellow jackets.
Listed below are some tips for keeping yellow jackets at bay:
- Make sure that garbage containers have tightly fasted lids and are cleaned on a regular basis. Otherwise, these containers will attract unwanted flying guests.
- It’s never fun to have a yellow jacket flying around your home. To prevent this, be conscientious about patching up holes in window screens. Furthermore, sealing gaps in siding will also deny yellow jackets access to your house.
- Yellow jackets are also attracted to the scent of floral perfumes, lotions and hair products. Avoiding the use of these products can make yellow jacket raids less likely.