Tag: Warning

  1. September Brings Out the Worst in Yellow Jackets

    Yellow Jacket

    Those of you who have lived in the area for a while know that September means football, fall colors in the high country, and yellow jacket wasps. In spring and early summer, most yellow jackets are too busy being larvae or working hard to feed their colony’s larvae to bother people. But by September, yellow jacket populations are at their peak, and food in the form of flower nectar is getting scarce. For reasons not entirely understood, yellow jackets respond to this stress by stinging people.

    Along Smoky Mountain trails, most yellow jackets build their nests in the ground or sometimes in dead trees. If you notice lots of recent digging activity along the side of a trail, this can be good news and bad news. The good news is a black bear or skunk has probably dug up a yellow jacket nest and feasted on the larvae. The bad news is the wasps that the predator didn’t kill are mad as hell. If the digging is very recent and you see yellow jackets buzzing about, the best thing you can do is walk very slowly and gently in the opposite direction. Wasps are aggravated by ground vibrations, sudden movements, perfumes, and brightly colored clothing. If it has been several days or more since the home invasion, the former residents have likely permanently vacated the premises.


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