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Hornets, Yellow Jackets, and other sweet toothed stingers

Posted by Josh Willis 
Hornets, Yellow Jackets, and other sweet toothed stingers
September 11, 2017 02:12AM
European hornets (and/or perhaps yellow jackets - not sure) are having a blast with our apples this year. We've always been happy to take their lead for when apples are ripe (or over-)...but this year they seem to be at another level! Not just as a nuisance for people, but damaging a lot of fruit.

Reading the PennExtension website, they seemed to indicate this is an increasing problem throughout the country overall as broad-spectrum pesticides fall out of favor. I'm personally wondering if a bumper caterpillar crop last year contributed to a bumper hornet/yellow jacket crop this year. In anycase...

What to do? Ideas / suggestions?

Most recommendations I found involve traps...which I'm loathe to do for a generally beneficial insect. Unless the season for its benefit has passed, and ok to get rid of 'em? In which case, I'd also wonder about the life cycle / impact for next year...

Also from what I've read, they can fly into an orchard from quite a distance. So good luck trying to find nest(s).

Thanks all!

-J

Earthworks
Zone 7a in West-Central MD
Re: Hornets, Yellow Jackets, and other sweet toothed stingers
September 05, 2018 05:57PM
Following up a year later. Apparently all of the hornets & yellow jackets that ate much of last year's crop transformed into butterflies this year. Isn't that how it works? Well, maybe not. But it seems we have an equal number of extra butterflies this year as we did extra hornets last year.

I would love to take credit, but really it must just be something about this year's weather (though I have no idea what conditions favor heavy swallowtail reproduction). I talked to a couple other holistic grower types in the area, and they've reported the same.

Anyways...I only ever post about problems in these forums. Thought it'd be nice to post a delight, as well. smiling smiley

Earthworks
Zone 7a in West-Central MD
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