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Wasps: Why are They Ornery in the Fall?

Lucky me! I have been stung by a wasp twice in the last 4 days.

I was not sure if wasps are particularly ornery this time of year or they are attracted to my newest pair of red garden gloves.  I did a bit of research; this is what I found out…

Why are wasps ornery in the fall?

Wasps, and bees too, are more aggressive in the fall because by this time of year their living spaces are crowded.  They are also extra protective of their hives as they prepare their queens for the upcoming winter.  Know too that wasps, unlike bees that die after one sting, can (and do!) sting multiple times.

Wasps are attracted to white and yellow

Wasps are attracted to the colors white and yellow, but like most insects, cannot actually see the color red.  I guess that lets out my red garden gloves theory. They did sting me right through the red gloves.

How to shoo a wasp, or not

I usually blow gently on a nearby wasp to send it on its way (away from where I am working) rather than kill it.   I must admit though, these two wasps that stung me recently got smucked as I yelled out several curse words.  Man, those stings sting!  I read too that plain old vinegar applied to a sting will reduce the swelling and the sting.  I tried that, it helped a bit, but it took 3 days to get rid of one sore finger; the other hand is still swollen and itchy.

What are wasps good for?

Believe it or not, wasps are good for something.  Like bees, they pollinate flowers and crops.  They also eat detrimental insects including ticks and houseflies.  Another good point is that if you have seen an increased number of wasps and bees recently, they are not ready to hibernate, meaning winter is still a good ways off.

Crushed wasps release pheromone that attracts other wasps!

Another interesting fact is that if you kill a wasp, especially if you crush it, its body releases a pheromone that attracts other wasp encouraging them to attack.

So, beware of the ornery wasps and bees as you get your garden work done this fall.

photo credit




Happy birthday from above

I read somewhere that when a cardinal (the red bird type) makes an appearance in your yard, they have come to tell you that a departed loved one is thinking of you.  As I was pouring a cup of coffee first thing this morning, I noticed this bright red cardinal in my garden…

As he hopped through my (still snow covered) garden, he stopped to pose a few times and sing a few notes before a female cardinal joined him.  As she is less brilliant in color, a brownish red instead of the bright red, she was harder to photograph.

I think the cardinals were a Happy Birthday message from my dearly departed parents.  My dad was an avid bird lover, and my mother was never far from his side…