Bucket of Meat Bees


Our friends Jill and Piero have a place about 5,000 feet up in the Sierra, in Calaveras County. The western yellow jacket, known taxonomically as Vespula pensylvanica and popularly as the Sierra meat bee, is their constant companion during the summer. The prevalence of these wasps has given rise to a variety of home-made solutions to keep them at bay (including some very low-tech ones). To deal with his crop, Piero has bought some traps that use some kind of chemical attractant. The wasps find their way in but can’t find their way out, and they die. When we were up there over Labor Day weekend, the traps had just been emptied into a white five-gallon bucket; there were enough of them that they covered the bottom of the bucket maybe an inch deep. That’s a lot of insects.