Complaints of buzzing insects on the rise

Sep 14, 2017

Anyone who has tried to enjoy something to eat outdoors lately has probably had lots of unwanted company. Swarms of buzzing insects around food are drawing lots of complaints.

Yellow jacket wasp

Area residents trying to enjoy a late summer meal outdoors are complaining about lots of bees buzzing about. But Beekeeper Mike Masterson of Masterson's Garden Center in East Aurora said 99 percent of the time people are not dealing with honey bees - they're dealing with yellow jacket wasps.

"They're food eaters. They'll eat just about anything. They'll attack honeybee hives and try to steal honey out of the hives," Masterson said. "But they'll also attack your plate and try and eat the meat off your plate and just about anything else you've got. And they don't like to take no for answer. And they can sting you and not die. A honeybee stings you one time and it dies. A wasp stings you and it turns around and stings you again."

Masterson said honey bees prefer nectar and pollen and tend to avoid people. And unlike bees - yellow jacket wasps have bright yellow bodies with black stripes and yellow legs. He said they are a bigger problem than normal this year because last winter was relatively mild.