To Bee or not to Bee?

Wasps in a bucket
Photo credit: Lynn Ketchum
Q:

We love eating in our backyard, but are plagued by LOTS of bees. I don't see a nest anywhere. Any suggestions on how to keep the bees away from our patio?

- Linn County, Oregon
A:

So we are talking about the same insect ... I'm guessing you are bothered by yellowjacket wasps rather than honey bees?

Yellowjacket numbers peak in the fall then nests die off before winter so late summer is usually when they are the most trouble.

The only real way to reduce this activity is to eliminate nearby wasp nests, which can be very difficult to find. The so called wasp traps are not very effective and can even make things worse by attracting wasps into the area.

The best option is to use poison baits in mid-summer to eliminate the nearby nests and avoid the peak activity at the end of summer. This describes the advantages and disadvantages of the Yellowjacket Wasp Baits method (please note - this is my personal site, your Extension office may have additional information). Baits may still be effective now but might have worked better if deployed in mid-summer.

Jack DeAngelis
Extension Entomologist (retired)
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