It happens just about every year at this time.

Some years are worse than others.  They almost make some outdoor activities impossible. They will disrupt your barbeques, birthday parties, your time on the deck with your morning coffee, or even mowing the grass.

This painful pest can really pack a punch and unlike its traditional relative, can sting you over and over (all the while injecting its venom).  I found this out firsthand one time as I was mowing my grass a few years back.  I was on my riding lawnmower when all of a sudden I felt a severe sharp pain like somebody poured hot acid all over my leg.  I looked down to find several "Yellow Jackets" or wasps stinging me over and over again.

Yep, North Dakota's Most Annoying and Painful Pest is on the prowl again.


After I knocked the wasps off my leg, a hot burning sensation followed that lasted for what seemed like hours.  I had never been stung like that before.  I later realized I must have gone over an abandoned gopher hole where wasps had taken up residency.  Something I later learned from a professional exterminator is common practice for yellow jackets.

So, why do yellow jackets or wasps get so aggressive in late summer and early fall?

Here's what my exterminator friend told me.  It's really all about food this time of year.  Most yellow jacket nests grow the largest in late summer and early fall, just before their food sources begin to diminish.  Just like you and I, when they're not eating, they get "hangry".   Wasps become frustrated and aggressive.

They are also very attracted to sweets this time of year.  That's why you'll find them going after your sugary soft and hard drinks.  Even having a beer will attract them.  They also love to invade your barbeque, as any form of dead flesh will attract wasps by the droves.

I remember last year trying to clean some fish at the lake this time of year and wasps were really invading the fish cleaning station.  They also love to dine on the dead insects on the bumper of your car.

Is there anything you can do to avoid wasp encounters this time of year in North Dakota?  

Make sure you cover all of your drinks when outside.  You would hate to take a sip and hear a buzzin' noise.  Make sure your garbage cans are completely covered, otherwise, the rotting garbage is a sure yellow jacket attractor.  Seal up all cracks on your driveway or on the foundation of your home.  Wasps are just looking for a place to spend the winter and could take up residency on your property.  Some wasp nests can contain as many as 5,000 creatures from hell.

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