LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW) – Entomologists say the hot temperatures and dry conditions could make this summer a big one for Wisconsin's German Yellow Jacket Population.
Dr. Phillip Pellitteri, an entomologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, says the insects are ground nesters – and thus the lack of rain means many of those nests can thrive without getting washed out.
He also says yellow jackets are cold-blooded and thrive in hot temperatures.
Pellitteri says all of that means colonies of the bugs will be growing and needing more food.
"They get to a certain point where they've got a lot of mouths to feed and there's not much food available," Pellitteri says. "So instead of feeding on insects, which is their normal diet, they switch to protein and sugar."
"That means anything we try to eat or drink outside, they'll think is their food," he says. "So whether you're trying to have a picnic outside and they show up at a picnic table or there's a garbage can nearby or something similar, anything that can be a permanent food source, they know about it."
Pellitteri says to avoid attracting German Yellow Jackets, it's best to keep your garbage cans clean and, if you're going to have picnics outside, not to let foods sit out for long periods of time."
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