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As Oregon's Yellow Jacket Population Peaks, Expert Urges Safe Co-Habitation

<p>A yellow jacket waits for its wings to dry after a rain shower in this Oct. 23, 2017, photo.</p>

A yellow jacket waits for its wings to dry after a rain shower in this Oct. 23, 2017, photo.

A warm and dry spring often means large numbers of yellow jacket wasps. Their population usually peaks in late summer. Most are seeking water or defending their nests which may be in the ground or suspended in trees or houses.

OSU entomologist Gail Langellotto warns against going after yellow jackets, especially with pressurized chemical pesticides. Bees could be affected, or people can blast themselves, accidentally. It’s just better to wait.

“Yellow jackets do not reuse the same nesting site from year to year. They eventually take off in the fall-winter time period. They will get rid of themselves, if you can wait it out,” Langellotto said.

Langellotto recommends wasp traps, available at gardening or hardware stores. However people approach these insects, she recommends caution. Unlike bees, yellow jackets can sting repeatedly.

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Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. He is a 20-year reporter who has worked at NPR, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including three Edward R. Murrow Awards and the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award in 2012.