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Environment

Yellow Jackets, Not Honeybees, To Blame For Disrupting Outdoor Activities

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People holding outdoor gatherings might be facing intrusions from wasps and yellow jackets. As summer winds down, the insects are likely searching for protein-rich food before overwintering.

According to the Oregon Department of Agriculture, many people assume applying pesticides to their flower beds will get rid of the nuisances. But many products end up harming honeybees instead. ODA spokeswoman Rose Kachadoorian says spraying insecticides around the yard won't do much good.

Kachadoorian: "The yellow jackets can come in from really several neighbors down, and they can smell you cooking that wonderful barbecue.

Kachadoorian says the best way to deter yellow jackets without using chemicals is to set traps with fruit or meat as bait. She says covering food will prevent more from coming.

Kachadoorian: "Because once one yellow jacket gets some, they take that meat back to their nest and they let everybody know that there's good food there. And then they'll all come in."

Kachadoorian says identification is important. Yellow jackets are generally larger and have bright yellow markings. If the problem becomes severe, she recommends locating the nest and calling professionals to remove it.