OSU researchers: Yellowjackets more than just 'pests'

With much of the state being so dry, researchers said the insects are in search of water they can’t find in the wild.

Posted: Aug 7, 2018 6:02 PM

CORVALLIS, Ore. -- More yellowjackets are flying into yards and gardens in Oregon this summer, but researchers at Oregon State University say not to get out the pesticide just yet.

With much of the state being so dry, researchers said the insects are in search of water they can’t find in the wild.

Horticulturists said even though they can be seen as pests, they do feed on bugs like caterpillars that could damage your garden.

"Despite their annoyance -- despite their painful sting -- they actually are considered a beneficial insect in our environment,” said Ryan Woolverton, a garden purchaser with Down to Earth. “So, for instance, they do eat a lot of garden pests that people struggle with anyways using pesticides to combat those garden pests.”

If you find a nest that’s out of the way, they’ll leave in the fall, so you may want to leave it alone.

For those who do want to keep wasps away, Woolverton said to clear any open water or food sources, like bird baths or open trash cans. If that doesn’t work, try wasp traps or insecticidal soap spray.

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