Monday, August 31, 2015

I Hate Yellowjackets

You're at a quiet anchorage in late summer. There is a slight breeze - just enough to keep you comfortably cool. Then you get out some food or drinks in the cockpit, or begin to bait a crab trap.

And then here they come.

From out of nowhere, you will find your boat surrounded by a buzzing horde of yellowjackets, come for the moisture, or more likely for the meat. Once the first scout gets back to the nest with the news of free eats, you are doomed.

We learned this trick in Canada at Ganges Harbor.  The Tree House Restaurant there has outdoor seating - it should be swarming with yellowjackets.  And one occasionally does fly by.  But you can eat outside in peace.  Why?

Because they have these brown paper bags inflated and hung all over.  Our waitress explained that the yellowjackets see the bags as paper wasp nests and stay away accordingly.  Maybe they are natural enemies?  I don't know.  But give it a try - it works!


1 comment:

Cheryl said...

We were sailing in the San Juans in late August/early September 2013, and found the yellowjackets in Friday Harbor especially bothersome both ashore and on the boat. At a restaurant with an outdoor deck, we noticed tied paper bags hanging in several spots. The waitress told us they resembled bald faced hornet nests.

Bald faced hornets are larger than yellowjackets and are black and white. They don't usually bother people, but I've been told they pack a very painful sting. The waitress said bald faced hornets prey on yellowjackets. Whether the pesky critters are put off by thinking the bags are paper wasp or bald faced hornet nests, it seemed to work at the restaurant. We tried a fake bald faced hornet nest (available from several sources, and from a distance pretty realistic) this summer on our deck. It seemed to work, but became less effective. I'm not sure if that was because it bleached in the sun or because the yellowjackets became more numerous and more of a pest. But at least I was able to use the barbecue without having to worry about getting stung.

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