wonellyJune 4, 2007

I have a Hen and Chicks plant that yellow jackets are swarming all over. This is the first one of these plants I have had and I have no idea why these wasps are all over it. I watered it a few days ago and used fish emulsion in the water, but I used it on all the other flowers and they are not swarming anything except the Hen and Chicks. Could it be that this plant has some sort of excretion that is attracting the wasps? When I first noticed them, it looked like they were trying to get into the dirt so I drowned some of them in the dirt with the hose. I even let the plant sit in water, but they are still coming, lighting on the edge of the pot and crawling all over the plant, in and out of the leaves. When it was in dry dirt, they would crawl under the leaves (into the dirt I guess). Anybody have any ideas or know of a wasp killer that will kill the wasps but won't hurt my plant?...Thanks for any help

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What size pot are you talking about? It could be that the yellow jackets have made a nest in the ground UNDER the pot and are using the pot as an entry point to their nest. I have had this happen once. You didn't say if it was on the ground or not. If it is on the ground, here is what I did. I waited till dark when the insects have gone to bed (haha). They are all on the nest. Move the pot. ( To keep from getting too close use a stick to push it over). If they have a nest under the pot, there will be a sizable entry point in the ground.The hole will likely be as big or bigger than a thumb. With the hen and chicks out of the way, you can pour any kind of pesticide in there (sevin, gasoline, etc).Do this in the dark with only a flashlite as necessary as they may start out of the nest as the light can alert them. All this is if the pot is on the ground.
If not, I think you should remove the plant from the this in the dark. Maybe knock it over with a stick and let the plant lie there in the open. This should not hurt the plant if you don't leave it there out of the pot more than a day as this is a succulent. The yellow jackets should move on.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 8:45AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

wonelly, I can't think of any reason why yellow jackets would behave this way...other than a nest. Give us more information about the location of this plant (in a container or in the ground, etc.) But please, do not pour gasoline on the nest or into the soil.

With more information, we can find a safe solution for you.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 1:05PM
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The pot is approx. 8" across and 5" deep. This is a new plant and there is only one Hen in there that so far has produced one tiny Chick. I moved the plant last night and so far, the yellow jackets have not found it again. Today I am going to dump the soil, wash the pot and plant roots, and add new soil. It had been sitting on a long wooden bench along one side of my porch. How do I find the nest? Just by watching late evening to see where they go? They are swarming over some other plants on the porch now. Crawling in and out of pots and over the leaves. I'm starting to think they are in search of any moisture. We can't sit out on our porch any more because of these yellow jackets and other wasps.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2007 at 2:04PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I think you hit the nail on the head! Moisture seeking is very likely.

However, you can observe where their nest may be by watching them in at dusk-ish.

I see an assortment of bees, wasps, and other insects at our bird bath. If you have a plastic pot saucer (or something relatively shallow) you could fill it with water and put it on the ground in a location that might attract them.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2007 at 1:27PM
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