Yellow Jackets

I was reading back through some posts from last year, and we were battling yellow jackets all the time. This year, I haven't seen very many, and it's one thing my bees have not had to overcome. And so I'm wondering; what's different?

One thing is water. The lack of water for wildlife is certainly having an effect everywhere. The deer and turkeys are boldly walking through gardens in broad daylight; there have been reports almost weekly of coyote, bobcat, and cougar sitings down on city streets. Everything is moving down from the hills in search of water and food.

But no yellow jackets.

At Girl Scout camp last year, the girls were swarmed when they ate lunch, the amount of YJ's was astounding and frankly, scary. This year, we had very few. Water is available there, not copiously, but certainly from faucets and the pool. Still no YJ's. Have they died off in great quantities?

I did not put any YJ traps in my yard this year, convinced that last year, those traps actually attracted more wasps than they killed. Could that be a factor? Not as much here to attract them?

I don't like YJ's at all, but I do understand they serve a sort of 'carrion-eating' purpose. If we don't have our 'garbage collectors,' what happens then?

It'll be interesting to see, as the drought moves forward. Meanwhile, I'm happy not to see them skulking underneath the bee hive.