MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans spend much of the summer swatting away mosquitoes, but in the fall, it’s the yellow jackets that become a big pest.

They’re from the wasp family, and they do have a painful stinger.

But there are ways to avoid being stung.

“The worst thing you can do is swat at them because they’re going to want to sting you just to defend themselves,” Karen Shragg said.

Shragg is a naturalist and manager of Wood Lake Nature Center in Richfield.

She said yellow jackets crave nectar, which they get at the start of the season from their own larvae.

“This time of year, the larvae have grown up and they’re hungry,” Shragg said. “They want nectar, so they go after things like rotting fruit.”

They’ve also been known to crawl inside pop cans which can make for a painful experience if you take a sip and they’re still in there.

Though they show up at your table, wasps build their nests in the ground.

The best advice while eating outside is to keep your food – especially the sweets – covered as much as you can.


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