Bad year for yellow jackets on the trails

Have you seen more yellow jackets than usual this year? Many hikers are reporting more than usual of the sometimes-aggressive wasps.

The Department of Natural Resources responded to concerns about the wasps recently.

Apparently there is a persistent rumor, one I’d never heard, that the DNR releases yellow jackets. They don’t.

The DNR has a theory on why there are so many yellow jackets this year.

“This year seems to be a banner year for yellow jackets, bald faced hornets, and similar stinging insects. It may be related to the cool, spring conditions that boosted the population of aphids, a popular food source for yellow jackets. Aphids are the full meal deal. They are “meat” to predatory yellow jackets. When aphids suck plant juices, they take in sugary fluids, but not much protein. They keep sucking to obtain more protein, excreting extra, unneeded sugary fluids as droplets that are commonly called “honeydew.” Yellow jackets collect the honeydew droplets from the rear ends of the aphids themselves. Some collect the sticky, sugary liquid or dried sugars from other surfaces like stems, leaves, or parked cars beneath aphid-infested trees. It may have been the honeydew droplets in the spring that are allowing yellow jackets to thrive now.”

The WTA has an excellent list of tips to minimize problems with yellow jackets while you are outdoors.

More in Life

Lots to see in Upper Skagit, even if the eagles are elusive

A guided hike through a mossy old-growth forest more than makes up for a lack of raptor sightings.

Shopping cart showdown: Which stores have best food prices?

Jennifer Bardsley compares Fred Meyer, PCC, QFC, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, WinCo and Whole Foods offers.

Take a closer look: Winter gardens share gifts in subtle way

Go on a neighborhood walk this month to enjoy the seasonal beauty offered by a variety of gardens.

Samish Flats in Skagit County prime turf for winter birders

This spot is great for birdwatching because of the mostly flat land, marshy areas and open water.

Outdoor classes and activities in and around Snohomish County

GET OUT Christmas bird count: Volunteers are needed for the Everett-Marysville Christmas… Continue reading

Relationship do’s and don’ts: Lessons from 40 years of marriage

Paul Schoenfeld reflects on what he’s learned about relationships after four decades with his wife.

Making it through the holidays on 4 legs and 4 wheels

1. Driving safety Here are some travel tips from the Red Cross… Continue reading

The top 10 albums of 2017: From Jay-Z to St. Vincent

This year saw an upward trend in music industry revenue due to the popularity of streaming services.

Snohomish County book calendar

Jennifer Wilhoit Noon to 1 p.m., Jan. 13, Edmonds Bookshop Wilhoit will… Continue reading

Most Read