An Unwelcome Visitor for Brunch

Author: Meera, October 26, 2013



Yellow Jacket on my Sunday morning brunch plate

When this yellow jacket dropped in on my Sunday morning brunch plate, I took off


I welcome visits into my yard by honey bees–they are not interested in me or my plate of food (unless it has honey on it), but hornets, wasps, and yellow jackets are not welcome.


This past Sunday morning, I was enjoying a plate of food on my patio when a yellow jacket made an unwelcome appearance. These are the yellow and black predatory wasps you find on your soda cans and sweets at picnics. Some people call them “meat bees” but they are actually wasps.


What value are they to gardens, you might wonder. I did. Although I loathe them, I did a little research and discovered that yellow jackets are predators of insects that many of us gardeners consider pests. But try as I might, I just can’t make myself like yellow jackets. The females don’t just sting and die. They can sting multiple times. And wasp stings hurt.


About those stingers–they are like lances with barbs, injecting venom into you during a sting. The stings are not dangerous unless you happen to be stung repeatedly or you are allergic to bee and wasp stings. In that case, you might carry a epinephrine autoinjector (known as an EpiPen) in the event of a life-threatening sting to treat anaphylaxis.


Keep a lookout for yellow jackets in the spring when the queen seeks a place to construct a paper nest. These wasps (related to hornets) live in social colonies with female queens and workers, and also males, known as drones. They like to establish their nests in hollowed logs and human structures (like houses with holes for entry into attics or walls). They enjoy a diet rich in sugar and carbohydrates. Don’t we all? But take care when enjoying your al fresco Sunday brunch. You never know who might drop in!







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