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Destroying nests key to yellow jacket control

I have a lovely outdoor dining area that is never used thanks to yellow jackets and meat bees appearing instantly with the arrival of food. Placing attractants and traps just outside the area takes care of dozens, but our food is so much more alluring. Can you find out how restaurants with outdoor seating manage?

— Anonymous, Jacksonville

Tackling the nests of yellow jackets is key to keeping the pesky and potentially dangerous insects away from diners, according to staff at The Breadboard Restaurant in Ashland, which has outdoor seating.

Whenever they see yellow jackets congregating, indicating the presence of a nest, they take action against the nests.

According to the pest control company Orkin, yellow jackets are scavengers that eat meat, fish and sugary substances.

They build aerial nests in bushes, trees or on buildings, and they are often ground-nesters, so their colonies can be found in sidewalk cracks, around railroad ties, at the base of trees and under porches or steps, according to Orkin.

Insecticides can be used against nests. However, because yellow jackets are pollinators of plants and predators of many damaging insects, their nests should be treated only when they pose a stinging threat to people or pets, according to Orkin.

Other tips from Orkin include keeping trash cans closed, gathering up fallen fruit and using traps that contain attractants.

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