Yellow jackets

jean_q(Sunset 15)June 22, 2007

Can anyone tell me how I can get rid of a yellow jacket nest in my herb garden which is right outside my door? I did a search but most of the answers were either "get a professional", which I can't afford; pour gasoline down the hole, which I absolutely won't do; leave it alone and winter will kill it, but we don't have winter here; various things that just kill the workers but not the queens plus a few things people have heard about but not tried. Does anyone have a way they've actually tried and it worked? I know yellow jackets have a part to play in the ecology, but these are getting agressive and I know it will only get worse as the summer goes on.

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pablo_nh(z4/5 NH)

Where is their nest, and how big is it?

Above ground, in the ground, can you see it?

Are they yellow jackets or another wasp type?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 2:11PM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

I found two yellow jacket nests on our property last year. The first was in the compostor which I was emptying to restart. They were vicious and I got a sting on my cheek - OUCH!!! but I slowly, and carefully eventually emptied everything into a garden cart and stirred it up every day causing them to fly out. After about 3 weeks of that I guess the queen left and that was the end of that. The other one was somewhere in the garage. By watching carefully, I realized there was a hole near the door (a crack in the asphalt) which led to the nest. Several attempts to close it up failed, but the hole was big enough to get the hose in and I flooded them out. I had to do this several times over the summer and they eventually left, and I have seen no sign of them so far. I don't know if my experience will help you any, but they are vicious and tenacious, and it will take time and patience. Good luck!!

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 2:52PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

jean, do you know where the entry of the nest is?

Are you against using any kind of chemical at all? Let me know because I can probably help you.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 4:56PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

You said:
"leave it alone and winter will kill it, but we don't have winter here;"

Yes, you have a winter. For yellowjackets, the temperatures don't need to be cold. The reason is that the colony normally dies at the end of the year, usually by December but sometimes not until January in mild areas.

Bottom line, if you can avoid the area until the colony dies, do so.

If you can't avoid the area, you can use one of the aerosol long-distance sprays labeled for use against yellowjackets. Follow directions on the can.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 9:13PM
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jean_q(Sunset 15)

The nest is in the ground under the rosemary bush--there's a small hole where I can see them going in and out. They are definitely yellow jackets, although I can see why you ask, as many people get the different kinds of bees, wasps, etc. mixed up. We have several different kinds here and have gotten to know them all well--too well, sometimes. Such as last week, when I went to move a hose and accidentally grabbed a honeybee that was sitting on the bottom side of it. Ouch, ouch, ouch! But anyway, these are indeed yellow jackets and we haven't used anything on them yet, as we are still researching. My husband is thinking of donning protective clothing and going out at midnight, putting a lot of diatomaceous earth in the opening with a duster of some kind, and then burying the opening and the area around it in heavy clay soil several inches to a foot deep. Do you think that would work?

    Bookmark   June 22, 2007 at 9:25PM
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Most all of these nests have two points of ingress/egress although one is seldom used so you do not see it. The single best way to kill off a nest of these yellow jackets is to put around the entrance hole some Carbaryl (Sevin is one brand name) so the workers have to walk through to get in the entrance and will then take some with them into the nest. This will eventually kill off the wasps and queen in the nest and eliminate the problem.
Gasoline will not do much except poison the soil and your instincts to not use that are right on, you most likely will not be able to get enough DE far enough down into the nest to do much. While I thimk Carbaryl is one of the worst possible poisons to use it is the only one with proven effectiveness.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 6:27AM
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fertilizersalesman(z6 PA)


I am going to have to disgree with you about the gasoline; not about the poisoning of the soil, but about the effectivness. Growing up gasoline was the only thing used to get rid of yellow jackets that generally nested in gopher holes in our yards and pastures. The trick was to keep an eye on them to figure out where all the enterences to the nest were and pour gasoline down them at night and cover them up. The object was not to burn them out (the gas was not lit) but to kill them with the fumes. And it worked every time. Keep in mind that back then people would dump used motor oil in the road to keep the dust down so enviromental concerns were not really on anyones mind.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 12:32PM
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jean_q(Sunset 15)

Well, my husband seems to have solved the problem--he went out at midnight in a fairly wasp-proof outfit, sprayed pyrethrin in the hole to kill any guard wasps, opened up the hole more, poured a bucket of soapy water down it, put in the garden hose and ran the water for a while. Then he put a glass bowl over the hole and covered the surrounding area with heavy clay mud. The next day we saw a few wasps flying around inside the bowl, so that night he went out and put a lot of DE down the hole with a turkey baster, put the bowl and more mud back and we haven't seen any wasps since. Perhaps it was overkill (no pun intended) but it seems to have worked. There may indeed be another exit, but if there is, it's far enough away from the house that it isn't causing a problem. I don't expect to kill every yellow jacket in the area--we're out in the country and there are nests of everything everywhere--but at least now their flyway isn't right outside our door. Just thought I'd report in case it's of help to anyone else. Don't forget the wasp-proof suit, though!

    Bookmark   June 28, 2007 at 9:23PM
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Traps work well and they can be baited with just a piece of meat. This time of year you'll only catch the boys but they won't be bothering you any more. Get the traps out in spring when the queens are active and you'll prevent new nests.
We did this up in Pullman, Washington and it worked great.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2007 at 9:31PM
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cushing1961(8 almost 9)

When my ex husband was nearly killed by yellow jackets, the fire dept. told me to go at night to burn their hole with gasoline. Supposedly they don't like to fly at night. I can tell you that is NOT true! They flew and stung just fine! The next day, I poured the gas in but didn't realize that before I could light the match, the FUMES had followed near my feet and for a moment I was in the fire too. So beware of standing downhill from the hole when you do this. They will chase a person all around a house and hit glass doors trying to get to the victim. Don't let the nest get big! Mine had three holes on a hill so it was massive! I am not allergic, but it still hurt. I wore a rain suit, tucked into rubber shoes with netting over my head and they hit me and burrowed into the netting until once or twice they did get to me. They are tenacious and very dangerous! Don't be shy about making sure they are destroyed in any manner possible before they get out of hand.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2007 at 3:15PM
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Well, they don't fly "as much" at night. They will still fly and attack if you disturb their nest. Tey're just not out and about at night. And if you use to bright of a flashlight so you can see them, then it's aiding them in seeing you too.

In my experiance, the best time is at dusk, when it's dark enough that I can still see but just barely.

Boiling water would work better than soapy water, but be carefull because it can kill your plant too if the nest is too close.

I have heard the glass bowl trick, but never tried it myself.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2007 at 2:51PM
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