LAKE TAHOE (KPIX 5) — It’s been a beautiful summer at Lake Tahoe, but the buzz is that vacationers aren’t the only ones enjoying the water.
Yellow jackets are all over the place.READ MORE: Former Presidential Candidate Andrew Yang Touts Basic Income at Mountain View Rally
Tahoe visitors say they’re aggressive, fast and much more active than they were last year.
“This is the first year I remember it being this bad,” says Mary Hatton, who works at PDQ Market. “From Truckee to Tahoe City, everyone’s buzzing about yellow jackets in the air.”
“Really, it’s a bad year, I mean everyone is closing their patio dining,” adds Angella Falco. She’s a Field Station Manager with Placer Vector Control.
Falco has gotten more than a hundred yellow jacket calls this year in the Tahoe area alone.
“Yellow jackets will travel a quarter of a mile or further for food and water, and so that makes a search area very large,” she says.
Joe Buettner also works for Vector Control. He has definitely noticed the surge.
“For some reason, the drought knocked them down over the past three years and they are back in force this year,” says Buettner.
He says yellow jackets and wasps like water and they don’t travel alone.READ MORE: National Park Service Proposes Parking Fees at Popular Bay Area Beaches
“If they feel threatened, it’s not just one, but it’ll be all of their buddies that are going to come and try to defend themselves.”
Many people mistake them for bees, but Falco says they’re more yellow than bees and much more aggressive.
“The thing with yellow jackets is, unlike honeybees, they don’t lose their stinger,” she says. “They can sting multiple times so it is a real public health hazard.”
Above all else, they love the same things humans love when they’re on summer vacation: protein and sugar.
The best defense is to stay away from the insects and hang traps nearby.
Hatton says the traps are flying off store shelves.
“We gotta get more,” she says. “And you feel bad because people come in here and they’re on their holiday and unfortunately aren’t very comfortable.”
There’s no repellent that works on yellow jackets, so the best defense is to keep the traps nearby.MORE NEWS: CVS Stores Roll Out Pfizer Booster Shots Across Bay Area
If vacationers come across a nest, experts warn not to try to treat it themselves. It’s best to stay away from it and call Vector Control to come take a look.