There are several things we can do to keep our plants healthy. The University of Minnesota Yard and Garden line has several suggestions.
- Use clean seed to prevent new pathogens from entering the garden.
- Rotate the plots where crop families are planted. For example, after planting tomatoes, wait three years until you plant solanaceous crops in the same spot. Containers can help with rotations in small gardens.
- Mulch prevents pathogens from splashing up from the soil.
- Grassy walkways between plots can help prevent water movement across plots.
- Trellises support plants and provide better airflow through the canopy. Clean and sanitize trellises each year.
- Remove infected plants and plant tissues to prevent the spread of pathogens to healthy plants. Remove diseased leaves when plants are dry.
- Keep compost away from garden beds and make sure it is fully composted before applying it back to growing areas.
The University of Minnesota is saying that wasps provide more beneficial services than bees do. Yellowjackets and paper wasps are only a small portion of the wasp species in Minnesota.
There are approximately 103,000 species of wasps in the world. They pollinate flowers, control pests, spread seeds and help decompose carcasses. People often think of wasps as aggressive. They feed on a wide variety of food sources, ranging from nectar and pollen to other insects — eating flies, caterpillars, and beetles.
There is talk that parasitoid wasps would be able to slow the spread of emerald ash borers. How would this work? They target another species of insect and lay their eggs inside of them.
The eggs hatch and the larvae feed on the other insect from the inside out, killing the host insect when they become adults. These wasps are often specialized to lay eggs on one singular species.
They are small and solitary so they aren’t defensive, don’t sting humans and aren’t usually noticed by people. Tree parasitoid wasp species have been released in Minnesota to try and control emerald ash borer.
The only wasps bothering you in the fall are a small subset of Minnesota wasps. Honeybees’ goal of their social society is to have all members make it through the winter, but only a yellow jacket queen makes it through the winter.
Keep calm and ignoring them limits potential stings. Probably easier said than done.
By the way, murder hornets have not been found in Minnesota — only in a small area of Washington state.