Yellow jackets and strawberry damage

lacroverfarm farmers at
Sun Aug 19 01:00:03 EDT 2001

Yellow jackets are swarming over my 1/2 acre of Tristar strawberries.  They
damage the berries by eating holes in them.  I'm getting 50+ flats a week
and a few stings, but my picking is slowing down as I have to examine the
berries.  I want to reduce the damage.  I see three strategies:
	- Traps
	- Toss nibbled on berries to side
	- Leave damaged berries on field.

The first seems unlikely to be effective on this scale.  Both the area and
numbers involved makes traps seem useless.  An organic trap could simply be
a meat lure over a pail of water with oil.

I've been using #2 as it gets the berries out of the way.  I won't
mistakenly pick them again.  More importantly, it removes a source of
disease from the bed.  The discarded berries disappear almost overnight -
probably racoons or foxes as I don't see a lot of birds during the day.

However, #3 might be more effective.  My thinking is that the yellow jackets
will continue to eat the damaged berry before looking for another.  Thus
fewer berries are damaged.  And diseases are not introduced because the
berries are cleaned off the plant.

This problem probably applies to other wasps and fruits.

Any research on this problem?  Or experiential wisdom?

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