John was stung twice today while he was moving yard debris stored in a trash can. It turned out yellow jackets had a nest in the debris in the can. I am allergic and John had already been stung so we called Bee Control Northwest. Bill came and took care of it and told us Portland is in for a bad season this year. He said that in March, when the yellow jackets were building their nests, there was a lot to eat because our mild winter meant lots of insects survived and provided food for the yellow jackets. Also, our dry warm March weather was perfect for nest building. Remember that warm unseasonable weather we had? Well, now we are paying for it with a huge yellow jacket population. The last several years have had low populations but we are off to a roaring start this year and their populations double every two weeks.
So, keep your eyes open. Watch for yellow jackets congregating and diving (into their hole). If you see them foraging, the nest can be quite a distance away. But if you see them diving, look for the nest. He also told us Skin So Soft repels them, as it does many insects. I think we may be soaking some cotton balls in Skin So Soft and putting them around the porch when we are out there, even though I find the smell of Skin So Soft revoltingly sweet.
We don't use poisons in our yard. Yellow jackets, however, are the exception to the rule. They are nasty creatures.