do birds eat yellow jackets

We’re pretty sure you already know all about the birds and the bees – at least in the form of “the talk” parents have with their kids as they reach that certain age.

What you may be less familiar with is the lesson about how birds – hummingbirds, in particular –have to deal with bees, wasps and yellow jackets. These beautiful birds often compete for the same food sources, so it’s not surprising when conflict erupts between them.

Even beyond that particular issue, bugs and hummingbirds often find themselves at odds. The most obvious conflict comes from the fact that nearly every hummingbird species preys on insects! A large part of their diet revolves around the protein, fat and other nutrients derived from chowing down on the bugs they capture. In fact, some birds actually eat dozens of insects every day!

But few people realize that many bugs also gain a benefit from the hummingbirds around them. Some of them catch a meal from birds indirectly. Other insects consider the hummingbirds themselves the meal! The good news is you can actually help your feathered friends in these battles.

Pesticides or escape to Arctic Circle?

The other time-tested method involves the dubious practice of adding pesticide to the nest or, even worse, the unlawful practice of adding gasoline to the nest. Not only do these methods harm the environment and eliminate your beloved butterflies and birds, but they are also unreliable because the queen frequently escapes, only to breed a million more angry yellowjackets.

Therefore, when faced with a dilemma regarding what to do when discovering a nest, I came up with a workable solution that also required very little effort on my part in order to appease the neighbors, who have valid concerns. Which is fantastic because, when I’m lazy and want to be left alone to finish this painting called “Baby Raccoons Destroy My Trail Cam For No Reason,” I frequently say things like “that’s just the cycle of life.” ”.

So, what should you do? You could just jump out of this town and go north to the Arctic Circle, where there aren’t any yellowjackets.

As an alternative, you can place a spoonful of peanut butter next to the mouth of the ground nest’s yellowjackets when they are sound asleep in their tiny IKEA-made cots (search for “IKEA yellow-jacket beds made out of acorns I am a crackpot” online).

Most likely, in the morning, the entire nest will have been unearthed and every last grub and yellowjacket will have been consumed, including the queen. It’s like a Christmas miracle, except that it usually occurs in the midst of a hot, muggy summer.

Wasps at Hummingbird Feeders

When people refer to “bees” on their hummingbird feeders, they typically mean an army of wasps, hornets, or yellow jackets that are invading their space. For the sake of this conversation, be aware that the recommendations listed below apply to all three

These insects are a real nuisance at feeders. These animals aren’t known to play a major role in plant pollination, unlike bees. They are also capable of acting aggressively toward humans and hummingbirds.

Try these suggestions to get rid of an annoying wasp colony near a hummingbird feeder:

  • Capture wasps. Install a wasp trap to divert their attention from the feeder.
  • Keep things clean. Limit wasp, hornet and yellow jacket attractants. Before placing your recyclables in their designated bin, seal your trash cans and give them a good rinse.
  • Relocate feeders. After taking down the feeder for a few days, hang it up once more in a slightly different spot. These insects lack the intelligence to search for food in a different location.
  • Limit opportunities. Keep your feeders clean and limit leaks. Bee Guards, which prevent wasps, hornets, and yellow jackets from accessing the nectar, are a common feature on feeders.

When bugs get belligerent

Like most things, it comes down to how you carry yourself, so I make an effort to remain composed, steady, and slow in the yard. I also make an effort to get to know my wasps because, aside from eating other insects you dislike, solitary wasps frequently can’t even sting you and are important pollinators of wildflowers.

Nevertheless, yellowjackets have a reputation for being aggressive; they are the social wasps that harm the reputation of the calm, indifferent wasps. However, there’s a reason why yellowjackets behave treasonously during their wildest seasons.

Specifically, they are especially grumpy in September or October after the death of their queen. Anybody would be upset by the death of a queen, but yellowjackets, who are purportedly monarchists—in contrast to, uh, monarch butterflies, who, depending on who is reading this, are republicans, socialists, or libertarians—are particularly incensed about it.

So, what should you do if they become a problem?

What I found is that the majority of widely used solutions are either extremely complex or detrimental to the environment. For instance, the best and most thorough method is for an experienced person to vacuum out the ground nest after dark, when the yellowjackets are asleep, wearing an outfit akin to that of a beekeeper.

Yes, you read correctly: yellowjackets are not nocturnal. Therefore, if you get bitten after midnight while engaging in whatever nefarious activity had you sneaking around your own yard, it was probably an intrepid young raccoon acting irrationally, not a yellowjacket.

FAQ

What are the predators of yellow jackets?

Skunks, raccoons, badgers, bears, and other mammals have been known to attack and destroy yellowjacket nests in order to eat the wasp grubs, eggs, and even adults. Skunks typically attack at night when the yellowjackets are least active, digging into the burrow, pawing through the nest, and eating the wasp larvae.

What are the benefits of yellow jackets?

Yellow jackets are beneficial around home gardens and commercially grown fruits and vegetables at certain times because they feed on caterpillars and harmful flies. When the populations peak in late summer and early fall, the yellow jackets’ feeding habits become a problem.

What do yellow jackets eat?

In nature, yellowjackets feed on over ripe fruits and dead insects but since they are scavengers and opportunists, yellowjackets eat just about anything, including dog and cat food. If yellowjackets are seen in the garden, it´s usually because they are foraging for honeydew from infested plants.

How do I keep yellow jackets away from my bird feeder?

Only Use Feeders without the Colour Yellow: Yellow Jackets and Bald-faced Hornets are attracted to the colours white and yellow; but are unable to see the colour red. Many hummingbird feeders on the market have yellow wasp guards or decorative flowers surrounding the feeding ports (pictured to the right).