[NAFEX] wasps and yellow jackets

Donna &/or Kieran holycow at cookeville.com
Thu Aug 30 00:42:16 EDT 2007

The trip over to Clemson SC to the NAFEX conference was informative.   Here 
on the Highland Rim in Tennessee we seem to have no yellow jackets at all 
this year, and though fewer wasp nests, those we have are doing very well 
because of the lack of competition.  Over in the Tennessee Valley we visited 
friends who have neither yellow jackets nor wasps this year.  Up in the 
mountains at the campground at Cosby TN there were two holes within 10 feet 
of our tent where yellow jacket nests had been eaten by a bear.  We 
discovered them soon after picking a campsite at dusk, looking for sticks to 
make a fire.  We didn't like the idea of the bear, but figured that he 
wouldn't be back as the nests had been eaten already.  I personally can 
think of about 10,000 reasons why it's a good idea to have a bear eat yellow 
jackets, and the next day we weren't bothered a bit by them.  But we hardly 
slept a wink all night knowing there was nothing but a bit of flimsy nylon 
between us and any passing bears.  The rangers said the bears are hungry due 
to the ongoing drought, so they were coming into the campground in search of 
the yellow jacket nests.
   Skunks tend to dig a small hole, eat every wasp in the colony, and leave 
the shredded paper nest after cleaning out all the grubs.  Bears apparently 
move rocks around looking for the nest, scoop the entire layer of soil off 
the nest, and them lift out and eat the paper nest and grubs, leaving some 
adults behind.    Donna 

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