Throughout most of the year, it seems that we have a truce with yellow jackets. For the most part, these small, yellow, and black wasps will not attack unless we antagonize them in some way or just happen to venture too close to their nests. However, have you ever wondered why, from late summer into fall, folks seem to be stung more often by yellow jackets than at any other time of the year? If so, read on.
There are a few plausible reasons why the chances of being stung by yellow jackets increases as the days are cooler the foliage transforms from green into a kaleidoscope of color.
Entomologists tell us yellow jackets are simply more abundant in autumn. At this time of the year, a yellow jacket nest may contain upwards of 800 individuals. Faced with this overcrowding, the members of the colony become less tolerant of one another as well as humans and other animals alike.
Some biologists suggest this behavioral change may also be linked to the insect’s switch from a predominantly protein diet to one rich in carbohydrates.
Realizing these insects are more apt to sting without provocation at this time of year, we all need to use caution when changing the nectar in our hummingbird feeders or working about our yards.
This threat will slowly diminish as the sterile female workers begin dying with the approach of winter. Interestingly, the only yellow jackets that survive the winter are the queen.