by Connie Oswald Stofko
Yellowjackets and hornets have been very active lately, and if they sting, it can hurt.
“But if you can avoid them for another month, nature will take care of them,” said John Farfaglia, extension educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Niagara County.
Both yellowjackets and hornets will die off in the cold weather, he said.
The yellowjackets make their home in the ground and hornets make their nest high in a tree. Neither will use the same nest the following year, so you don’t even have to knock the hornets’ nest down.
He discourages people from using pesticides.
“As bad as they are with stinging, they’re still beneficial insects,” he said. “They feed on the larvae of insects that we don’t want around.”
Some people have called Farfaglia wanting to know if they can burn yellowjackets out of the ground, but that’s a bad idea for so many reasons. If you use gasoline, you could contaminate the ground. If the nest is near your house, you have a fire hazard.
If you have yellowjackets or hornets at the entrance to your home or in a wall or ceiling, contact a professional exterminator.
“It’s not a do-it-yourself job,” Farfaglia said.
But if the yellowjackets or hornets are in a spot where you can generally avoid them, just leave them alone. They won’t survive the winter.