The Q&A Archives: Pollination of Apple Trees

Question: I have a very productive apple tree and also have 2 hives of yellow jackets in the ground under the apple tree. They are pretty agressive and would like to rid the garden of them. Is my apple tree doing better than everyone elses because of them? Or can I get rid of them?

Answer: Flying insects suchas honey bees do, indeed, pollinate apple tree blossoms, but yellowjackets, although beneficial, aren't considered main pollinators of apples. However, if you're concerned about personal safety, you can get rid of the nests by using a chemical spray (according to label directions), or by killing them with this procedure: wait until it's dark outside and place an inverted clear glass bowl over the entrance of the nest. Yellowjackets will try to escape during daylight hours and will be trapped in the bowl. They're not smart enough to dig another exit hole and will eventually starve to death. Leave the bowl in place until you're certain there is no activity underground.

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