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Firefighters Face Another Threat

European hornet (Photo courtesy Wikipedia)

As if firefighters on the Lolo Creek Complex don’t have enough to contend with another problem has come up while they’re working the fire lines.  It’s the time of year when hornets, aka yellow jackets and wasps are very aggressive.  These insects have a painful sting and can sting multiple times. They also can emit a scent (pheromone) that is a call to action for others from the nest.  The venom of a sting is very toxic and multiple stings can be serious. In some cases the victim maybe allergic and go into shock. Several firefighters have been stung.

You may have noticed these same bugs buzzing around while you’re trying to enjoy a picnic lunch outside.  They seek out primarily sugar based items and protein. That’s why these bugs like that peanut butter and jelly sandwich. They really like apples and bananas and are attracted by the scent.  It’s not hard to get rid of these pests.  Many commercial traps and sprays are available. A friend of mine has come up with a simple trap; take a plastic cup and fill it almost to the top with soapy water. Using a skewer, pierce a piece of meat, fruit, or  anything with lots of protein. Place that skewered item across the top to the plastic up just above the water. The hornets/yellowjackets swoop in, eat and then try to fly away. They invariably fall into the soapy water and presto bingo one less hornet. Used this method over the weekend and it worked very well.

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