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Close encounters of the wasp kind
August 14, 2013

yellowjacketYAKIMA, Wash. – As August wears on and wasp colonies reach peak size, sun worshippers and picnickers beware: One rolled-up newspaper swat at a yellowjacket crawling toward that spilled ice tea or platter of grilled hamburgers could unleash a flying armada of angry co-workers if a nest is nearby.
 
When a yellowjacket is smashed, its venom sac releases an alarm chemical that alerts nearby guard wasps to come and defend, according to Peter Landolt, a research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Yakima and adjunct faculty member at Washington State University. Even … » More …