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Got bees or yellow jackets? Here’s what you should do

It’s hornet and yellowjacket season. Here’s how to get rid of them

According to the Washington Department of Health and the Thurston County Department of Environmental Health, here's how you deal with unwanted bees and wasps.
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According to the Washington Department of Health and the Thurston County Department of Environmental Health, here's how you deal with unwanted bees and wasps.

Late summer is the time of year that bees and wasps are most active, and many Whatcom County residents are turning to social media for answers.

“Any ideas on getting rid of yellow jackets who appear to have built a nest in our deck?” Elizabeth Madsen of Sudden Valley asked on Nextdoor.com. “Bought a trap, but it only gets a few. Hate to use a poison ... .”

Officials at the state Department of Heath discourage killing bees and wasps, because they are good for the environment.

They’re good pollinators and they prey on insect pests, the DOH said.

But if they’re in or near your house, they might have to go.

Honey bees, bumblebees and wasps, which include hornets and yellow jackets, live in hives or colonies, according to the Thurston County Environmental Health Department.

They’ll usually ignore you unless you disrupt their nest.

To get rid of them, first identify the type of insect by taking a photo.

If they are bees, call a beekeeper to take them away.

If they are wasps, hornets or yellow jackets, consider calling an exterminator.

If you do it yourself, follow these steps:

Find the nest or nest opening.

Go back at night, wearing long sleeves, long pants and gloves.

Use a red headlamp or tie a red bandanna over a flashlight to avoid attracting insects.

Spray poison into the nest opening.

Repeat as necessary.

Robert Mittendorf covers civic issues, weather, traffic and how people are coping with the high cost of housing for The Bellingham Herald. A journalist since 1984, he’s also a volunteer firefighter for South Whatcom Fire Authority.
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