PSA: Summer wasp problem? Set out your traps NOW
If you have a problem with wasps in the summer, especially yellow jackets and other meat eaters, set out your traps now (or maybe even a few weeks ago).
My local bee club is helping sell a locally-made wasp trap (doesn't attract pollinators) so I bought some and set out a couple of traps. Found 3 big wasp queens in one of them today.
The reason for trapping now is that for every queen you kill now, it'll save you being potentially bothered by thousands later in summer. Queen wasps emerge in the late summer or in autumn to mate and then hide for the winter. They're the only ones in the colony to survive the winter. In spring, they will come out of hiding and start to forage for food, building a nest, laying eggs and raising the first brood of workers by herself. If you trap a queen now, the potential nest dies with her. If she survives until the first of her worker (who don't breed) brood emerges, she'll just lay eggs while the workers forage (bothering you in the process) and build the nest. The colony will then grow exponentially until cold weather kills them.
Photos of the dead queens to follow when I rebait the traps.