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Southern Oregon-land of the hornets

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Southern Oregon-land of the hornets

Postby Scott » Tue Sep 04, 2012 4:35 pm

So what's with all the hornets in Southern Oregon? Never seen so many in my life.

Last weekend, I spent time at Lake of the Woods, Mt McLoughlin, and Aspen Butte. Got stung twice. I've never seen so many hornets.
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Re: Southern Oregon-land of the hornets

Postby kylenicolls » Tue Sep 04, 2012 5:03 pm

I didn't see any when I was there 2 weeks back. I lived in Klamath for 4 years (2 years ago and back) and there was never a bee problem of any sort. I'd venture to LotW plenty often as well to bike. Weird.

Now mosquitos, yeah, LotW has plenty of them. Er.
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Re: Southern Oregon-land of the hornets

Postby ScottHanson » Wed Sep 12, 2012 5:08 am

Scott,
When you use the name hornets, I wonder if you are referring to what I call yellow jackets. They are a type of wasp. I have not hiked in southern Oregon much, but live on some rural acreage just outside of Portland. Yellow jackets frequently build nest in underground tunnels built by four legged critters. I am sure I have been stung by yellow jackets at least 10 times, and have had up to to 6 or 7 stings in a single encounter on my wooded acreage. I am getting a little smarter spotting yellow jacket activity either around a hole in the ground or nest building effort under the eaves of my home. I knock down nests under home eaves with a long pole after dark when they are pretty lethargic. Yellow jackets can be a problem at a family picnic outdoors as they will aggressively zero in on a piece of meat on your plate. I guess I just tolerate them; try to spot their "hot part of the day" increased activity and give them some room. If you were doing cross country hiking, I think the chance of an encounter would be greater than a well traveled trail. I have never been stung on the Pacific Crest Trail in Oregon or the Sierra Nevada in California. So maybe their is an elevation range for these pests.
Scott
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Re: Southern Oregon-land of the hornets

Postby lcarreau » Wed Sep 12, 2012 6:16 pm

It's NOT just southern Oregon .... western Washington has them during the summer months, also.

I believe the difference between hornets and yellow jackets is the nesting site.

Yellow jackets live underground, while hornets have a nest (typically) suspended off the ground in a tree.
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Re: Southern Oregon-land of the hornets

Postby Snidely Whiplash » Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:03 pm

In the Cascades you're probably talking about yellow-jackets, and they're a big problem from late August to early October. Elevation is important. Yellow-jackets are pretty rare above 5,000 feet. If you want to climb an objective that requires a lot of off-trail travel through dead-fall, I would never attempt something like that after mid-August. You'll be tempting fate, as they often like to make their nests in dead trees and in the ground near that kind of debris. I don't remember the Colorado Rockies having this kind of problem, but it's certainly a yearly issue in the Cascades. August and September have been very warm and dry, and I think that exacerbates the problem too. After the first killing frost, you're usually safe.
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Re: Southern Oregon-land of the hornets

Postby ScottHanson » Sun Sep 16, 2012 9:27 pm

Yes, I agree 100 percent. The majority of bee stings I get on my wooded acreage occur when I hop over a decomposing log on a less travel ground area, and too late discover there is a hole in the ground next to the log with an active yellow jacket nest. The bees are on me before I know what is going on. Ouch!
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