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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 Western MD
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