By Brooke Hatfield and Johnny HarrellUniversity of Georgia “Just because you can see the opening doesn’t necessarily meanthat the nest itself is right there,” Delaplane said. “It couldbe several feet away.” “And No. 2, there’s an increase in the levels of outdooractivities — picnics and tailgaters, for example. And when youput the two together, you have problems,” Delaplane said. Don’t stand around or swatDelaplane had one word of advice for anyone who happens upon ayellow jacket nest: “Run.” In search of proteinBut it’s not just human flesh these bugs are after.”Wasps are carnivores,” he said, “and they will seek out any kindof protein they can find. And very often, that’s a hamburger or ahot dog at someone’s picnic. Two major factors contribute to this phenomenon.”No. 1, the wasp colonies are now reaching their highestpopulation of the year,” said Delaplane, an extension serviceentomologist with the UGA College of Agriculture andEnvironmental Science. Standing still and swatting at the bugs is the worst thing youcan do, while the average person can outrun a wasp, he said.It’s usually best to leave a nest alone. But if you do try toeradicate a nest, Delaplane advises you to wear protectiveclothing, a veil and a complete body-covering suit. Many people associate autumn with a smaller number of insects.But yellow jackets and wasps are actually more aggressive duringthe fall, said University of Georgia scientist Keith Delaplane. “It may be very satisfying to see some of them die, but it’s nota very practical approach,” Delaplane said. If you use insecticide to destroy the nest, he said, saturate thearea around the entrance to the nest.Hard to find underground nestsUnderground wasp nests are a bit harder to pinpoint. In those cases, insecticide sprayed down the hole could totallymiss the nest, and painful stings could result. “The fact that they’re carnivores isn’t necessarily bad. Thewasps eat garden caterpillars, saving gardeners from having toresort to pesticides,” he said. “They just don’t appear to be sobeneficial when it’s your picnic they’re interrupting. In thegrand scheme of things, they do contribute.” “Very often, people don’t do that, and they end up getting veryserious stings,” he said. Most yellow jackets and wasps die out in late fall, so eventuallythe problem goes away on its own.