Please Bee Careful!

Southwick’s Zoo is home to many animals, and sometimes seasonal visitors make their way here too. Here is a guide to Bee Careful as you meet some of the Yellow Jackets visiting the zoo. 

Are there more Yellow Jackets this year?

Yes! As a result of climate change, spring is starting earlier in New England. Bee nests are becoming larger over the years as queens start laying eggs earlier in the year. Larger nests produce more queens in the fall, resulting in even more eggs being laid the next spring.

The drought seen across New England causes many wild plants to die and yellow jackets need live plants for nectar and bugs. Many of the remaining plants left are in our gardens, so more yellow jackets are closer to us than normal.


Do we need Yellow Jackets?

Yes! They visit flowers for nectar and in the process pollinate our crops and flowers. The larvae of yellow jackets eat meat. Adult yellow jackets hunt caterpillars and other garden pests to feed the young, and as a result reduce damage to gardens.

What can YOU do?

They are searching for sweets and meat, so anything you can do to reduce their access to food will deter them from bothering you. Here are some ways you can bee careful around the bees at home or at the zoo:

  • Take food outside of its packaging just before you eat it and dispose of any unwanted food in a sealed container. 
  • Keep garbage bags closed.
  • Cover glasses or cans when you are not drinking from them.