It looks like the Inland Northwest has a hot and dry week ahead of us, and yellow jackets are out early this summer, multiplying rapidly in our hot weather, which has given rise to the worst yellow jacket problem in years.
"When temperatures get to that point they thrive, their nests grow larger and that's also when they get more aggressive. They're going after your food and your sweet liquids," Stephanie Cates with RESCUE Pest Control Products said.
At Red Lion Templin's Resort in Post Falls, the maintenance crew was out hanging new yellow jacket traps and hosing down wasp nests, hoping for a pre-emptive strike before Templin's Thursday night barbeque.
"We've got two cases of wasp killer in the can, you know the kind that sprays about 20 feet. That seems to work the best along with a variety of traps, anywhere we can get them especially around food areas," Kris Berg with Red Lion Templin's said.
Sterling International in Spokane Valley makes those yellow jacket traps and Monday their assembly line was running at top speed for good reason.
"The yellow jacket disposable is great for picnics or going camping in the woods and you find yourself near a yellow jacket next and can't find it or go near it so it would be great to put on of those traps up," Drew Przybylski with RESCUE Pest Control Products said. RESCUE's bug experts say yellow jackets are in search of water so any leaky hose or sprinkler is like an open bar to the pests.
Over at the Satay Bistro in Coeur d'Alene, Rob Elder keeps yellow jackets away from his patio with extra attention to food clean up.
"Making sure our dumpsters are a long way from our outside patio. The patio is kept clean. We pressure wash it daily. If you miss a piece of shrimp that falls on the floor they're obviously going to be attracted to that," Elder said.
So if you think like a yellow jacket and pick up your used plates and those half empty soda cans as quickly as you can get them sealed up in a plastic bag you can make that barbecue a lot more enjoyable for you and not the bugs.
Now, last year the yellow jackets really weren't a problem until September. So why are they such a problem so early this year? Well it's all about how long the queens have to reproduce. A dry spring allowed them out of the hive early this year and their numbers have just exploded. That's why you want to set your traps out in April and capture as many queens as possible.