Monday, August 14, 2017

Harvest Monday - August 14, 2017

It's been quite boring when it comes to harvests lately. Nothing new except for a very few Roc D'Or beans.

One wonky Tromba D'Albenga squash.

There was loads more Romanesco zucchini and Tromba squash most of which I didn't bother to photograph. There were a few cucumbers here and there. And that's been it other than cilantro and basil.

Chelsea Prize and Green Fingers Cucumbers


If you have a fear of stinging insects then you can leave right now.


Go ahead go....


This is turning out to be a banner summer for Yellow Jacket wasps.


A couple of months ago I hit a YJ nest when cutting down weeds. Four stings later I thought I had eliminated the nest. I put a few traps up around the area which netted just a few YJs and I thought I had things pretty well under control.

A couple of weeks ago it started to become impossible to enjoy a meal outdoors without YJs zooming in after just a moment.

I noticed that there was activity in the nest again. Then I noticed that there were YJs everywhere. Worker wasps were out foraging for food. That's when I got serious about setting traps.

That's about a 2 day collection of Western Yellow Jackets in the trap above. There's 6 more traps scattered around the property with similar contents. I emptied the traps on Saturday morning and netted about 1/3 of a gallon bag of dead wasps. Strange harvest, I know...

This morning, only 48 hours later, the traps have just about as many wasps in them again.

Western Yellow Jacket wasps forage for live or dead insects, dead animals, and nectar. It's that dead animals and nectar that make them such nuisances around your outdoor meal - they want whatever protein, fat, or sugar you want to enjoy. They seem to be particularly drawn to fresh raw meat so that's what I've been baiting my traps with - plain old raw ground beef. It's a lot cheaper than the chemical baits that the traps come with. The only drawback to using ground beef is that the bait needs to be changed every 2 or 3 days because the YJs aren't attracted to rotting meat. But at the rate that the traps are filling up they need to be emptied about every 3 days anyway.

One thing I learned about placing a trap is that the ones hanging in full sun have been the most attractive to the wasps. Traps that were hanging in the shade had very little activity.

Normally I would just live and let live where YJs are concerned, they aren't usually that bad around here and they are beneficial insects providing pollination and pest control services. I suspect that they may be the reason why the garden is not plagued by too many aphids this year. But when it becomes impossible to enjoy a meal outside and I repeatedly get stung then I sting back.

Hope your summer harvests are more varied and less hazardous than mine!

Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave on his blog Our Happy Acres, zip on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.


  1. I once trod on the entrance to an underground wasp nest and it was no fun at all
    I'm trying waspinators this year and so far so good although it may be just a coincidence that they are not invading our plum tree.

  2. Yikes!! One year, we had yellow jackets nesting in a willow tree that was smack in the middle of one yard entrance and we had to spend all summer going around the house to get into the backyard. Nowhere near the quantities of wasps you are dealing with - my God that's crazy!! - but a pain in the butt nonetheless.

  3. I remember long ago working at a job that had outside picnic tables, which was near a Little League park that had overflowing trash cans that were yellow jacket magnets. As soon as I opened my bottle of iced tea they swarmed around it...close the lid and they went away, and repeat. They sure can sense what they like.

  4. Well now, how can we eat yellow jackets? You could harvest a lot. Giggle.

  5. Yellow jackets are not fun to be around for sure, especially if they are stinging. At my old place I had a horse fly problem, and had to use traps to reduce their population. When they bit me it would raise up a big welp that itched like crazy. Here we have the smaller deer flies which also like to bite the unsuspecting. I'm willing to peacefully co-exist too until the bugs start attacking me!

  6. Yikes, that's way too many yellow jackets. Strangle, here in the Willamette Valley, we have had fewer yellow jackets outside our home than we have had for many, many Summers. I don't know the reason but I will take it!

  7. I was stung again this year, third year in row - I react very badly with massive local swelling and welts, but no respiratory issues thank goodness. Seriously affects my enjoyment, though, they are all over the place here. Be careful!!

  8. OH poor you with those wasps! We just have the occasional one or two but soon they will go all dopey and want to fly into the jam pan, but never to the level you are facing

  9. Dang! That post took a turn I wasn't expecting.
    Hm, I wonder if wasps would count as green or brown compost material...

    1. Lots of nitrogen in those dead bodies so that's green material. I'm relegating them to the landfill though, don't need to be attracting beasties to the compost bin.

  10. wow that's a lot of wasps. I too prefer to live and let live, and they do eat a lot ofinsects, but man that's a lot of wasps!


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