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Yellow Jackets and the Benefits of Wasps in the Garden

Sean MurphyComment

The Yellow Jacket Wasp (Vespidae

Yellow jacket wasps make irritating company at summer picnics, but they are extremely welcome visitors in the garden. These bright yellow-and-black striped wasps are slick and slender compared with honeybees, and are more likely to be found hunting among foliage than visiting flowers during the first half of summer. The food demands of growing yellow jacket colonies are so great that it has been estimated that more than 2 pounds of insects may be removed from a 2,000-square-foot garden by yellow jackets.

The benefits of yellow jackets come at a cost, because yellow jackets become dangerously aggressive when their nest is threatened. Nests are easiest to locate on warm summer mornings or evenings by carefully scanning the landscape for insects shooting up out of the ground. After you have located yellow jacket nests, decide whether they will stay or go. To neutralize a nest without using pesticides, cover the entry hole with a large translucent bowl or other cover, held in place with a brick. Be sure to approach yellow jacket nests at night, when the yellow jackets are at rest. Use flags or other markers to mark the locations of nests in acceptable places. Yellow jackets typically build new nests each year. Sometimes new yellow jacket nests appear in midsummer after old ones are damaged by foxes or other predators.

What Do Yellow Jackets Eat? 

Yellow jackets wasps feed their young liquefied insects, with caterpillars, flies and spiders comprising the largest food groups in the yellow jacket diet during most of the summer. In late summer, yellow jackets start looking for flower nectar and other sources of sugar, which are necessary nutrients for the next season’s queens. Meanwhile, fewer young are being raised in the nests, which leaves many individuals with little to do. At this point yellow jackets become an obnoxious presence outdoors, whether they are trying to steal your sandwich or swarming over apple cores in your compost.   

How to Attract Yellow Jacket Wasps to Your Garden  

Simply allowing selected nests to remain in place is all you must do to receive free pest control service from yellow jackets. Coexisting peacefully with yellow jackets is another issue, especially if you grow tree fruits. Yellow jackets eagerly feed on fallen apples, pears and other fruits, so wear a light glove when cleaning up the orchard. Bury fruit waste beneath 2 inches of soil, or establish a fruit waste compost pile far from your house, where the yellow jackets can eat their fill.

You can use passive traps made from soda bottles to trap yellow jackets lurking on your deck or patio starting in early fall, should they be a problem. Most of these individuals will die of natural causes before the beginning of winter, so you have little to lose by trapping them. 

More information about yellow jacket wasps is available from Auburn University, North Carolina State University, and Michigan State University.

New Garden Rose Varieties!

Sean MurphyComment

Alexandra Farms is a boutique grower which is specialized in growing nostalgic, romantic fresh cut garden roses. The farm is located in the fertile savanna of Bogotá, high in the Andes Mountains of Colombia, where the warm days and cool nights are perfect for growing roses. Wabara Collection Wabara is a new collection of Garden Roses by Alexandra Farms. The name Wabara comes from the Japanese words ‘Wa,’ which translate into English as ‘Harmony,’ and ‘Bara,’ which means ‘Rose.’ Wabara is led by the breeder Keiji Kunieda and his son Ken at Rose Farm Keiji on the shores of Lake Biwa, near Kyoto, Japan. The first Wabara garden rose was developed in 2007. Wabara garden roses are bred with organic fertilizer and without chemicals. Wabara is a well-established brand in Japan, and the varieties were released to the international market in 2017. These garden roses have unusual shapes and fragrances not found elsewhere. Wabara garden roses grown in Colombia have big blooms, great color and strong stems. They have a delicate, natural beauty and elegance, with unique petals and colors.

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Locally Grown Sunflowers in Shop!

Sean MurphyComment

We have locally grown Sunflowers in shop now until the local growing season is over. We are carrying an assortment of varieties and sizes grown locally throughout the New England area. Stop in today and pick up a bunch to support your local farms and neighborhood business!