Cedar jackets?

Asked July 12, 2019, 9:22 PM EDT

I have a weeping blue atlas cedar that is attracting yellow jackets and flies to it. I have been observing this for the past couple of weeks. There is no nest hole near the trunk. The yellow jackets browse the needles. Any idea what they are doing?

Linn County Oregon

5 Responses

Hi and thanks for contacting Ask an Expert.
I noticed on your small leafy green plant next to the cedar you may have white flies. Looks like them (small specs of white to us) but since you are focused on the cedar I cannot be certain. White flies secrete what is known as 'honeydew'. A sugary substance that wasps will eat. Aphids also secrete honeydew that's why you often see ants and wasps with the aphids. Ants actually herd aphids around.
Your tree looks healthy and has new growth. Do you see any sap coming out of the limbs. That would be another reason to see the wasps there. Wasps are always looking for meats, fats, sugars and of course insects. There could be small insects in the tree that you are not aware of and they may be eating them.
I don't see a lot of insects in your pictures. If you are having a problem with them you can put a small piece of meat (cat food, tuna) in a tuna can or something similar with some veggie oil enough to cover the entire bottom of the container. This will attract the wasps and they will get mired in the oil and eventually die, also catches earwigs and flies. Since I have animals who love this concoction, I have used some large yogurt cups with lids, cutting 2-3 holes in the lids big enough for the wasps to enter. From the picture, this insect is a yellow jacket, exceptionally nasty so make sure they are dead before taking off the lid if you decide to do this.
If you would like more information, please re-contact us. By the way, great pictures, thank you for sending them. It is always easier to diagnose the issue with pix.

Thanks, Sheryl, for your response and your tip on whiteflies!
Sid Cooper

Thanks, Sheryl, for your response and your tip on whiteflies!
Sid Cooper

Upon further review I discovered that the white things on the sticky leaves of the nicotiana you saw were millet seeds from the bird feeder above.


If you see anything else, let me know, put it under this same email. Look for insects, without getting stung, in the cedar, something may be hidden there. If you only have one or two yellow jackets, the trap will work.