Getting rid of Wasps/Yellowjackets

sekada(z7 atlanta)February 2, 2004

I had a terrible amount of them last year... I don't mind the wasps & hornets too much, since they're not too jumpy, but the Yellows make me really nervous. Also, I have dogs and the kid who mows my lawn is allergic to bees. Last year, I couldn't plant my back yard for fear of the Yellowjackets.

Is now a good time of year to get someone out to treat my yard? Or do I need to wait until "bee season"? I'd hate to kill the bumblebees, and besides, am I right that Yellojackets overwinter while others generally don't?

I'd like to get rid of the little demonic ones in time to do some spring planting, without killing every organism in my neighborhood. :)

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Hi Sekada,

When was the last time you have been stung by these yellowjackets?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2004 at 7:05PM
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sekada(z7 atlanta)

Hi Joe,
Never. And I want to keep it that way! Especially for my neighbor.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2004 at 1:16AM
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It will help if you keep your lawn cut short to remove the dandies and remove other flowering plants in your yard. Keep garbage cans covered, and out door picnic food stuff and drinks covered to eliminate food sources for yellow jackets. Knock down yellow jacket nests as you see them. Don't use perfumes and other things that may attract bees.

Yellow jackets aren't looking to sting, and will not attack unless provoked. Your track record of never being stung by the yellow jackets proves that. Yellow jackets are beneficial insects that eat other insects. Spraying will likely do you more harm than the bees. I recommend the natural control methods I have stated above and to go about your business and they will leave you alone.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2004 at 6:06PM
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sekada(z7 atlanta)

on the contrary I write stories every year (journalist) about people out mowing the lawn, gardening etc who are killed by yellow jackets. They are notoriously nasty suckers, and as I said I have two dogs and a bee-allergic garden helper.

So: Any tips, anyone, on when or how to get rid of them? I do mean the nasty chemical ways, too. I tried all the natural remedies I could last year, to no avail. And I'm NOT going nest-hunting in the middle of the night with a kettle of hot water and an infrared light.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2004 at 4:14PM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

I've seen those stories. Often about an older guy mowing a lawn in florida with a lawn tractor. Instead of jumping off and running, he decides to outcruise the stingers and dies trying. Those nasty suckers are every bit as aggressive as Africanized Honeybees (which aren't in Georgia or Florida).

Getting rid of them requires some protection. The specialized wasp killer sprays contain two chemicals... one is a paralyzer which is temporary. It knocks them down. The second is a slower working poison.

Getting suited up just like a beekeeper can be a wise move. And a detergent water mix is quite effective at killing yellowjackets without dealing with nasty toxins.

    Bookmark   February 5, 2004 at 5:33PM
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HI Sekada,

The natural controls I have mentioned are the best way to keep the population of yellow jackets on your property down to a minimum. If you want to use poison, you will probably do more harm to yourself and the bee-allergic garden helper who will have to breath these chemicals when they become airborne from mowing the lawn.

Yellow jackets are docile creatures and do not attack unless provoked. I believe you may be the victim of techniques often employed by journalists. And that favorite technique is fear mongering. If you would do a little journalistic research on the subject, you might find out that your fear is not warranted. You may find that the odds of being killed by yellow jackets are extremely low..

I did some research:

Dr. James Fox, an allergist, said approximately 40 people per year nationwide die of allergic reactions to yellow jacket stings....
Those odds are infinitesimal!

Just for comparison:

During 2002, there were more than four thousand cases of west Nile virus caused by misquotes, and almost 300 deaths. We may be on the verge of a major epidemic, but there is no treatment and a vaccine is at least a decade away....
Now that would be a great story for a journalist!

If you get rid of all the carnivorous bug eating yellow jackets. You might reduce the chance for the bee-allergic garden helper dying from yellow jacket sting. But youll have more misquotes in your yard increase the chances of him dying from west Nile disease.

Best Wishes,

    Bookmark   February 5, 2004 at 7:52PM
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bees(z7 NC)

Just pour a little gasoline down the yellow-jackets hole. Best time to do it is just after dark when they are all home. That will take care of the problem.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2004 at 4:07PM
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sekada(z7 atlanta)

thanks for recommendations... so is now a good time of year to deal with this? Or do I need to wait until warm weather?

    Bookmark   February 6, 2004 at 4:09PM
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avwheeler(Z7 TX)

Gasoline poured down a hole in one's garden sounds like a fine way to poison your yard and is also illegal. Yellow jackets are beneficials and typically don't provoke. Why not have your garden assistant have several Epipens on hand to deal with any potential stings and leave the yellow jackets be? I agree with Joe Waggle that fear of yellow jackets is blown way out of proportion. If you absolutely have to get rid of a beneficial insect, you can use boiling water poured into the nest at night.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2004 at 7:12PM
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I wasn't allergic to stings until my fourth or fifth one, which I got this summer. The yellow jackets nest near the pool and (mostly) will leave you be unless their nest is up in the tube of the gate and you keep going in and out. This year I made the aquaintance of bald-faced hornets. They are mean. Really mean. The first time I 'found' them I was weeding and got too close- I ran and they followed me 50 feet before I finally got stung. I had my arm swell a bit and an awful, blinding headache for four days. These hornets nest in the ground- I later found two more nests and you can be sure I kept my distance! At night I went out and shot a whole can of Raid down the hole. The next morning I filled the hole with dirt so others wouldn't nest there. I found them by just sitting in the early evening and looking for 20 or 30 minutes (having a soda or whatever) and really noticing bugs flying near the ground. Just have a good look- take your time- and not in the middle of the day when they are hiding. You'll find the nests. I agree about the yellow jackets- they are melllower. But if you rile them- well- their sting really hurts!

    Bookmark   February 6, 2004 at 8:15PM
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Heres what I do to control wasps and yellowjackets.....

A continued effort throughout the year will greatly limit the numbers of yellow jackets and other stinging bees on your property Start early in the spring, walk around once a week with a stick looking under the porch, play sets, eves and ledges of the house, check the pool under the rims and all shelter places for bees down low and up high, and knock down any nests you find. Ask you neighbors to do the same. Keep an eye on bees as you are doing other things throughout the week to see where they are going to discover their secret nesting sites and destroy them as you find them. Keep it up throughout the year!!!

Good control in the first half of the year will greatly limit the numbers of yellow jackets in the late summer and fall. The spring is the best time to kill yellow jackets because they will all be queens. For each queen that you can kill in the spring and early summer will lower the yellow jacket population by maybe 100 or more come late summer and fall. Any ground nests you find can be destroyed with hot water with dish soap. The underground nests can be quite large so it may take several gallons and two or more applications and few days apart. I sometimes stick a funnel in the hole and refill the hole for a few days.

If a nest is knocked down early enough the 2 or 3 bees on it will generally save themselves and flee, so it pays to get the nests early. But remember to check back if they decide to rebuild the nest. Large nests are a different story and can be very defensive. When nests become large wasps especially will post sentries to guard the vicinity. Wasps will sting without warning if you enter the area. But this one sting is good, better than getting 20 or more if you disturbed the nest. So all these reasons are why 'spring and early summer' are the best times to kill yellowjackets.

Best Wishes,
Joe Waggle
Beekeeper and
licensed pesticide applicator
in Pennsylvania

    Bookmark   February 7, 2004 at 2:53PM
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How's this for diabolical?

I put bee attractant on the end of my vacuum cleaner wand. I very quietly approach the nest with the wand extended towards it. Then when all the wasps smell the attractant and start to buzz around it, I turn on the machine.


Sometimes I get them all in one big suck. Sometimes a fast one or two will get away, but they always return to guard the nest. I just turn off the vacuum, wait about a half hour and clean up the stragglers.

I haven't been stung, yet(knock on wood). And I don't do this to all of them, just the ones who nest a little too close to the heavy traffic areas around the house and yard.

There are some really big black wasps who seem to just "hang out" in my hanging planters and although they fly around when I water, they never sting, then they just settle placidly back in the cool soil. They're really kinda pretty.


    Bookmark   February 11, 2004 at 2:38PM
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I'm not sure you all are talking about the same kind of creatures. Knock 'em down under the eaves? Sounds like paperwasps to me, and these are pretty harmless.
Yellowjackets build very large nests in the ground, and yes, the best way to get rid of them is by somehow destroying the nest. They are not North American natives, so their benefit is questionable. Once again, there may be some confusion in the above thread as to exactly what species is being talked about. They can also be eliminated in large numbers (if such exist), with a bait trap which drowns them. A gallon jug will work. And oh, diluted honey of any grade is a very effective bait.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2004 at 12:31AM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

Pondering out loud for a minute. As yellowjackets nest in the ground, a hole in the ground, has anyone tried simply putting a shopvac hose in the hole and turing on the vac? What to do with them once they're in the vacuum is an interesting problem, but I suspect they'd mostly be in the vacuum and no longer in the nest. Perhaps a few good shots of insectide at the end of the hose when the procedure is completed, while the vacuum still runs... then perhaps not be in a hurry to empty the container...

(what prompted me along these lines is the use by plumbers some time of a shopvac to clear out clogged pipes -- drain pipes. Sometimes blockages can be cheaply and easily removed).

    Bookmark   February 20, 2004 at 1:15AM
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bees(z7 NC)

If you're dealing with a wimpy little nest, then soapy hot water might do the trick. If it's a really large nest, a little gas (maybe a pint) will eliminate it in one night (the gas vapors settle down and permeate the "paper" nest).
You can do it anytime - if you know where the nest is now would be a good time.

A beekeeper (and bee remover) in Florida told me that yellow jacket nests can get quite large (as in the size of a VW beetle!) in the south. He kills them (I'm not sure how, but I think he freezes them) and sells the dead yellow jackets to some company that makes anti-venom medicine for allergic people. Maybe your yellow jacket problem is a gold mine!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2004 at 9:54AM
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Hornet141(z6 STL)

Well my grandpa use to have a nest in his back yard in the ground and we got rid of it by dropping something in the hold and closing it up. We killed the main nest but my grandpa said that they have auxillary tunnels and exits that branch farther away from the nest to allow escape. This is very ingenious of these creatures I think, but just be on the lookout especially where you have a large backyard for auxillary holes.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2004 at 11:19PM
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Rebel_at_heart(z8 Ms)

We have been trying to get rid of a yellow jacket nest for a couple days now. And i have to disagree about them being non agressive. They have attacked 3 or 4 of the animals here for no other reason than walking too close to the nest. We have 3 kids and we'll do whatever it takes to get rid of them. They have attacked my husband also because he pulled too close to their nest in the car..I want them gone before they hurt my kids or anyone else. They are right in our front yard. And yes weve tried the gas.Dozens of them keep showing back up and i think the nest may be a big one. Anybody have any new suggestions?

    Bookmark   November 7, 2004 at 12:37PM
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Put Sevin dust down the hole.

    Bookmark   November 12, 2004 at 11:33AM
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Have found several nests of yellowjackets ("ground bees") on our land. Only seem to be a problem in late August thru late September. Big question is do they ever abandon nests or do they keep the same one going for years?

    Bookmark   January 3, 2005 at 10:07PM
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In late summer/fall they will raise new queens who will leave the nest and will choose a new nesting spot in the spring. The parent colony will die out late fall when the weather gets cold.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 12:09PM
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TennOC(6 Tenn)

Yellow jackets nest in the ground. They only fly during daylight, and spend the nighttime hours all in the if you want to kill them all and not poison your groundwater and everybody else's, do this: Locate the nest hole, wait till night, turn a 5-gallon bucket upside down over the nest. First put about 2 gallons of DRY sand in the bucket. When morning comes, the yellow jackets will crawl up as they are accustomed to doing, thru the sand into the bucket. They can't escape from there, and can't crawl down because the sand is dry and won't let them, besides their instinct will make them go up. The sun's heat during the next 2-3 days will kill them all. The only ones left in the nest will not be able to survive without the support group, now all dead. It's cheap, and sure. Leave the bucket in place for 3 days at least, put a weight on it if neccessary to keep dogs, kids etc from turning it over while it's working.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2005 at 1:34PM
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Ingeneous and thankfully chemical-free treatment - excellent!

I have used as traps old wine bottles about one quarter full with a mixture of Coke and beer (I knew I would find a use for Coke one day!) and placed on their sides or at a slight angle. Bees aren't interested and so don't get caught.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2005 at 6:01PM
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mullins4(z6 VA)

What are everyone's thoughts on the Yellowjacket traps they have out in the garden centers? Do they work? Are they effective? We had to leave in the early morning hours and not return home till after dark all spring and fall last year due to the yellowjackets and paper wasps. They literally invaded our home.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 11:28AM
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They do work in my experience. From what I've read it may be more effective to set them early in the spring even if you only catch a few because it could prevent them from rearing the hundreds you see late summer/fall.

But, there is no real reason to make your own. See the January 2005 Issue at

Here is a link that might be useful: NWOBA Newsletter - January 2005 Issue

    Bookmark   March 18, 2005 at 12:43PM
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I've had 2 episodes of Yellowjacket extermination - one chemical & one natural.

Had two ground nests on my property that were in bad places & couldn't be just left.

For the first one, I bought a stream aerosol spray for them, waited until dark, & then went out there with a flashlight & sent a solid stream right down the hole, as well as soaked the immediate surrounding area. Next day there were one or two survivors buzzing around, but then that was it - all gone.

As far as the 2nd nest, nature took its course when a skunk apparently dug the nest out overnight which apparently sent the survivors elsewhere.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2005 at 2:15PM
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Yellow Jacket will also nest in places other then the ground if the conditions are right. I had them make a large nest above my front door in a small part of my attic. They might not be aggressive until they are provoked but how the heck do you know when you provoked them? My mom and sister law where both stung repeatedly after "provoking" them. Which constisted of walking by their nest..

Sekada, to get rid of your bees you need to first find out where they are coming from. Then search the web. There are some very fine powders, like flour, to put down on them. The bees will track the power into their nest and it will kill them off rather quick. I ended up calling an exterminator because 1)Was not safe to get near the porch -these non agressive bees stung me once. 2) being up in the attic I had no real means to get to them. Within hours of the exterminator those puppies were mostly dead. They did have to make a repeat treatment but within two weeks no more yelllow jackets.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2005 at 1:05PM
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I just got stung in my backyard by yellowjackets living next to my foundation in the ground. I have a pregnant wife who is due in August and I will not lose my backyard to these things. I'm planning on using boiling water tonight and some Raid Earth Options hornet killer. If I could, I would cut off their little heads and put them on sticks around the nest. Any other suggestions would be helpful.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2005 at 5:16PM
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I like the bucket of sand idea the best! Actually, I like the "calling the exterminator" the best. If I do that now, and again in a week or so for the stragglers, will I have to do it again this summer? Also, next year, should I do it in early spring, say March? And then again, like May? I'm tired of losing my baby caterpillars to them.


    Bookmark   July 8, 2005 at 8:58PM
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Tried the Raid Earth Options spray along with 3 nights of boiling water. So far it seems to have worked---i haven't seen hide nor hair of any yellowjackets.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 1:19AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Although noisey, Guneafowl will apperently sit outside the nest or hive of any insect and eat them one by one till they are gone, if you get them they will however eat your beehives.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 12:32PM
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I've never posted a message before AND I'm a new gardener, so forgive me if I get this all wrong...

While attempting to clear the rampant ivy away from our gargen path, my 3 year and daughter and I disturbed a wasp / yellowjacket (how do you tell the difference?) nest in the ground. She was stung & I was stung multiple times. I really need some urgent advice on how to get rid of the horrid things. Any ideas out there?

    Bookmark   June 25, 2007 at 9:25PM
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I've recently moved to Germany, and apparently left some moving boxes on the balcony too long. The box still has packing paper in it and some Yellow Jackets have moved in. What's a good way to get rid of the nest that's in the box?

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 5:54PM
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Yellowjackets can have an ornery disposition especially the closer to the nest you go and...if they go defensive/offensive on you. If they are a problem in your area first try to understand them better. It is good to know your enemy. Here in New England they like to build their nests in voids in structures like homes. They look for a crack or small hole to enter and if the queen selects that place as the nest then..that is the nest. South of here they usually nest underground.

If you are too near their nest they can be terribly aggresive. They can sting again and again and do not lose their stinger as some bees do; and they also bite.

Usually in early spring the new queenlet who overwintered like under the bark of a tree will emerge to seek a place to build its nest. She lays her first eggs which quickly hatch and she has her first workers who do nothing but feed her and protect the nest. More and more eggs hatch and within a month there are now maybe 50 yellowjackets all with thier own specialized tasks. Some build and enlarge the nest while others attend to the queen and others move the new eggs around, some are guards and some bring food for the new baby yellowjackets and some direct traffic. This continues through July and August and at this point the nests can become huge and have hundreds or thousands of yellowjackets and this is where the amateur exterminator can get hurt. Then I think it best to call a pro with all the gear.

If in spring you keep your eyes open and see a rountine of a few yellowjackets coming and going from a hole, crack or hole in the ground; then keep an eye on it. If they continue coming and going then you probably have a nest being built and at that point it is probably small so then is the best time to get rid of them.

I've heard in southern areas that becausee of mild winters they can be active through the winter.. so...that nest could be big and active. Bee careful.

In mid-August the new queenlets begin to emerge and now the workers are extremely aggresive and jumpy and protective. As the cold winter approaches the new queenlets leave to find suitable winter protection under tree bark or in an old log. At the same time as winter approaches the workers and the old queen die. In early spring the overwintered queenlets leave their hiding place and begin to look for a suitable nest to raise their brood. Full circle.

If yellowjackets are a perennial problem use traps in the early spring to trap the queenlets. No queens=no yellowjackets in the summer.

    Bookmark   July 9, 2007 at 5:12PM
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In response to jackz411's post I would like to remark the following. I work for a small biotechnology company in the Netherlands which has developed a product specifically targeted at catching the queens in spring. We've had considerable succes in Europe and are now hoping to expand that succes to the USA. In order to accomplish that we are looking for volunteers which are willing to test our product in the US this coming spring free of charge.

As I am aware that I am not allowed to post any further commercial references here we are wondering what would be the best way to come in contact with people who would be willing to help us with these tests.

Thank you for your help and kind regards,

The Netherlands

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 6:03AM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Hm...some good ideas here!
I also like the sand idea!
Most of my nest's are high in trees, too far up to do anything.


I'm a Bee Keeper and love the natural world, including wasp.
There comes a time when one needs to get rid of some.
I don't mind some wasp around bee hives but one has to watch
very closely, sometimes they can clean out a weak hive if
you don't reduce the size of hive entrance.

I'm interested in your trap only if I know that I'm not dealing with harmful chemical and not hurting
my honey bees.
Can you tell a little more how it works, can email me private, on my page.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 12:30PM
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texwolverine(East Texas)

Here in Texas, YJ's nest almost exclusively in the ground. They will nest other places, but 99% of the time, you will find them in the ground. I've killed hundreds of nests over the years, and I have never seen YJ's build nest in the ground with numerous exits. They do have many tunnels, but only one way in and out.

They are easy to kill, with no more effort than checking the mail. Just put a damp gas rag in a large Mason jar and place it upside down over the hole. Push it down in the ground and pack a little dirt around the outside. Do this after dark, and by 9am you'll have no more YJ's and no polluted ground water or dead grass.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 2:37PM
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Last year, I had some yellow jackets build a nest in the open pipe that holds my mailbox (which is about six inches from the mailbox opening). They never bothered me and I never bothered them, even though unlocking and opening and closing the mailbox made a lot of rattling noises and jarred their nest considerably. I just stayed calm and thought friendly thoughts to them whenever I got my mail--none of them even took to the air.

Since I have a completely organic yard (no pesticides, no herbicides, no fungicides, no sprays or chemicals of any kind, and no fertilizers aside from natural compost), and since I have what I term a microfarm (I've planted 16 fruit trees on my regular suburban lot), I rather liked having yellow jackets nearby as predators.

I felt horrified and saddened, then, when I found that someone had apparently sprayed the nest with something, slaying all of them. Seeing how the yellow jackets had tried to run inside their nest, perhaps to escape, perhaps to protect their young, was especially heart-rending. It was probably my mailman, but I would have appreciated it if he had asked me first if I wanted him to do that.

Bottom line: Are your yellow jackets really that big of a problem? I do understand your concerns about someone with an allergy, but is it possible to co-exist with them?

Here is a link that might be useful: University of California IPM on yellow jackets

    Bookmark   March 31, 2008 at 9:26AM
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We have had the occasional yellow jacket nest during our many years as gardeners. While we usually identify where their nests are and leave them alone, this year was the exception. In the middle of our front yard, we discovered a rather large yellow jacket colony had established itself in one of the older tree roots. Due to the size of the nest, they were everywhere.
Treatment: AT NIGHT!! Hot water and dishsoap, about 2 gallons, poured down into the hole; then a large flat stone placed over the entrance to the hole. My husband added more dishsoap and hot water a few nights later, again keeping the large rock on top of the entrance to the hole. It has been a few weeks and no more yellow jackets.
I must admit, we have had these guys around over a period of many years without mishap. They eat most of the bugs in the gardens-and truth be told, it keeps us from having to treat for bugs. We don't mind the smaller nests-after all, they're here for a purpose!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 6:25PM
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We also have yellow jackets nesting in the root of an old tree that is still alive but not healthy. Does anyone know if the yellow jackets will harm the tree roots, or are they just hanging out in the area that has already rotted? In other words, are they borers or wood eaters?

    Bookmark   October 26, 2008 at 9:17PM
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Make a trap out of a 2liter soda bottle. Cut the top off, straight across, leaving 1" of the straight part of the side.
This 1" ring will seal pretty well when you invert the cut off top and put in inside the bottom, so that it is like a funnel. Clear tape to seal perfectly if needed (sometimes the top will bulge away from the sides when you shove it into the bottom.) Drop the appropriate attractant into the bottom. The wasps crawl/fall into the funnel and can't get out.
Attractants are sugar water, hamburger, whatever gets them in! Makes a terrific fly trap too.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2009 at 3:04PM
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I just moved into a place, and we noticed some old concrete tubes about 50 ft behind the house. We also noticed A LOT of wasps around it! PLEASE give me some advice on how to get rid of them!!! I have a one year old, and i'm scared to death she'll get too close. The tube/pipe things are really long... would some sort of bug-bomb work?? Or maybe sealing up the holes at night?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2009 at 9:50PM
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I think from what I have read that I have a queen YJ somewhere, I haven't seen her yet, building a nest. I found something I had never seen in my garden about a week ago and dug it up. From far away it looked like tiny mushrooms with dark tops but when I inspected it there were holes at the top and when I dug it up it seemed a little woody with what looked like a root. Is this common for a YJ nest? It has spread since I dug it up and upon inspection today I saw what resembles a hive. It is not isolated to one spot either. We have had huge wasps/yj in the summer that chase birds especially hummingbirds but they havent appeared yet. So, I am assuming this is the time when the queen is building her nest. I would like to destroy the nests since they are all over a quarter of my garden which is very close to our patio. We also have two dogs one of which is only 10 lbs so avoiding these nasty pests is best. But without poluting the soil since it's in the middle of my garden. Any suggestions would be great!

    Bookmark   May 3, 2009 at 5:16PM
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I agree with the naturalist, yellow jackets are part of the eco-system, and if you kill them, you will have more bugs that bother your soda or food. In Washington where I live, we have what is known as NW Yellow Jackets, if provoked, they will attack over and over again until the victim is motionless. This could be as many as a thousand stings, as unlike the honey bee, yellow jackets keep their stinger. The hardware stores sell yellow jacket traps. As yellow jacks are meat eaters instead of pollen gatherers, place a small amount of raw meat in the trap. Very effective!!

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 3:24PM
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Years ago when I still had a restless teen at home, I constantly worked my brain for ways to keep him busy. One cold winter day, I noticed many paperwasp nests high up in the willow trees that line our rural road. With the leaves gone, it was easy to spot the nests. I gave him a slingshot and a supply of rocks, with strict orders not to break anyone's windows! He spent the day zapping the nests with rocks and our paperwasp population was much, much smaller for a couple of years.

I don't mind a small population of paperwasps, but they are a big problem here on our small farm. Our place is old, with many pipe fences and buildings with open ends on the pipes. The wasps like to nest in those pipes and at times can be very aggressive. When they swarm out of the electric box when I open it up and sting my hand, or swarm after me when they've nested in the open pipe of the gate, it's time to spray. I don't like to use any chemicals on our place, as I am very allergic to them, but this is the only way I've been able to temporarily kill off nests high up in open pipes.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2010 at 2:05PM
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Joe Waggle,

I highly recommend you doing some research yourself. Yellow Jackets are in the group of insects most deadly to venom-allergic people. Please click on the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Epi Pen

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 6:22PM
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Yellow Jackets are not native to North America, they are an invasive species. Bluebirds and bats can eat mosquitoes without stinging the hell out of you. Yellow Jackets should be eradicated. We have a vacant lot next to our house that is a very thick, bushy forest. The yellow jackets that nest there have invaded my son's playground. I know what to do to the ones there, but how do I deal with the ones in the lot where the problem originated? Would a trap be the best way to deal with them? I'd actually like to buy the lot, bulldoze it an plant an orchard of walnut trees with beehives in the back of the lot, but that plan is long term.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 8:36AM
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Yellow Jackets are not native to North America, they are an invasive species. Bluebirds and bats can eat mosquitoes without stinging the hell out of you. Yellow Jackets should be eradicated. We have a vacant lot next to our house that is a very thick, bushy forest. The yellow jackets that nest there have invaded my son's playground. I know what to do to the ones there, but how do I deal with the ones in the lot where the problem originated? Would a trap be the best way to deal with them? I'd actually like to buy the lot, bulldoze it an plant an orchard of walnut trees with beehives in the back of the lot, but that plan is long term.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2010 at 1:11PM
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How do you tell the difference between yellow jackets and wasps? I have a TON of them in my yard, but they seem pretty docile. I thought they must be sick, and I've been killing them by hand. Yes, with gloves, reaching down and catching them in the grass. I killed over 30 in one day.

I don't use pesticides and am organic, and don't particularly like killing bugs but have been stung multiple times before and don't want my DD to get stung. I did knock down a nest in my eve but don't know if they're all the same. There do seem to be some smaller, brown ones (not bees!) as well as bigger yellow ones.

Thoughts?? Suggestions??

    Bookmark   July 8, 2010 at 12:10PM
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Since we have a small nest of yellow jackets living in our grill stand I thought I would try out something that a girl at Starbucks told me. In Canada they actually sell something called a Waspinator (apparently it works for yellow jackets too). I was told that yellow jackets are very territorial and do not like to have other yellow jackets in their area. You hang up the waspinator (it looks like a hive), the yellow jackets think it's another group moving in and they move out. I was told a medium sized, stuffed paper bag would also do the trick. I now have a stuffed paper bag out under the umbrella on the deck. Said yellow jacket flew up to the bag, checked it out for a few seconds and off he flew. Later I noticed another yellow jacket flying onto the deck, it saw the bag and flew off too. Tomorrow will be the true test. I will let all know how the paper bag test turns out.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 10:27PM
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I am curious -- did the paper bag trick work? I have a huge nest under our front window and would like to gently encourage the YJ's to go elsewhere. Please advise ASAP.

Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 7:57PM
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If you are dealing with them underground & NOTHING seems to work.. try this

Here is a link that might be useful: Professional Pest Products

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 9:31PM
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Here in S Ky, at the end of a long drought, the yellowjackets once got so thick there was one every square ft. flying 6" over the yard. One evening we sat on the porch steps, and I decided to kill some. I put a small bit of meat down and waited until a dozen or so found it. I started stepping on them, 4 or 5 at a time, until my feet both got tired. They were drawn to eat their own dead, until I'd killed hundreds. Killed a small snake in the garden at dusky dark, thinking it was a copperhead. Next morning at dawn it was to late to tell. They had eaten everything but the bones at first light.
Find their nests by following them home. Ground wasps will tunnel out if their exit is blocked, but if they still see light they won't. Go out after dark and put a quart jar over the hole. Prop it up with dirt if you need to.
Gas works too, but it's nasty.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2011 at 11:20AM
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I have had a terrible problem with bees making their hives inside my mailbox. Every time I go to get my mail, I find them buzzing around their hive. I found their entrance and exit into my mailbox and have blocked it, but they, somehow found another way to get in. Is there something that I can put inside my mailbox to keep them away? I don't want to kill them for environmental purposes.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2011 at 11:20AM
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Yellow Jackets...little ba...s have infected my yard for five out of the last six years, if it weren't for my mowing the yard (they attack at the sound of an engine) I would leave them alone...unfortunately I don't have that option. I would rather get stung by six wasps at once over 3-4 yellow jackets stinging all at once, they sting two to three times per insect and it is the most painful sting I have ever received, each of the two to three stings per insect.
I came to this site because I have used the gasoline method more than once (at night, have never been stung at night), because the locals in N.C. say "Just use gasoline". The first time I poured the gas into the was just like they laughed at it. The guys at work, who gave me this advice really laughed when I told them it did not work. Then, of course, they asked "Did you light the gasoline?" and laughed more. The second time I tried, I did light the gasoline.....but no one told me about their second hole....their escape route. Yes the nest was destroyed, but some survived (maybe the queen, I don't know if yellow jackets can adjust like other insects and a drone can become a queen once the old woman is dead),and thus got stung once again in a new location. The Raid yellow jacket killer works the best, it appears that the pyrothein (not sure of spelling) actually kills them where as it just stuns other insects. Having said that, tonight I am going to take out yet another nest, I don't have the insect "killer" (which does work on them) so once again will try the gasoline method once more, I have located the primary hole (many many lil bast....s flying out, methinks it is a really big nest) and the secondary hole. The method I plan on using is: that I approached slowly during the day, watched and noted primary hole (one flying out every second), then noted the second hole (one flying in/out every minute or so) then marked them with bits of wood, what I will recognize under a flash light. First I am going to pour gas down the second hole, then pour a gas line leading to the primary hole and pour a ton of gas down it, with a line leading off to light. (note to you "city slickers" from one of your own, never....ever think you are fast enough to pour a little more gas on the resulting fire.......I am pro boxing fast and the fire trailed up to my gas can....I tried to shake it to put out the fire and spread fire all over my yard ((fortunately I did not catch on fire)) but since there were lines of gas burning in my yard I wondered whether my neighbors thought I was doing a burning pentagram in my yard.....had to suffocate gas can from oxygen to put it out and leave it in the middle of my back yard for a couple of days to make sure it was really out before reopening it....the guys at work fell over backwards laughing at that one). you really have to dig it up afterwards because the hole does not always go straight down and the gas may not pool like you would think, my plan tonight is to light both the primary and secondary holes, with a little resulting fire over the second (sticks piled over it coverd in gas), move the gas can far away before lighting, then dig the nest up (you will see, the more you dig, the more fire comes to light) and have a pile of gas covered sticks to the side, at a safe distance to throw into the cavity to accentuate fire. I will let you know how it works, for you that do not know, when gas goes up there is usually a ball of flame that can knock you down, burns really....really hot, like white phosophorous, so hot it will kill grass five feet away, and any unburned gas is not only toxic to ground water, but it will take 5 plus years to grow any plant life there, so be very very careful with safety zones. After being stung multiple times over multiple years, this is the death I prefer to give the little bast..s (stings have digestive juices, itch like a mosquito bite, burns the whole time, burns more when you scratch them....pain....pain...pain, they deserve to burn in my opinion, as their multiple stings burn and itch like the devil. More later,I'm a Kentucky hillbilly with a grudge. Oh, and never....ever, confuse them with bees, bees sting once and die, they don't die, they are smaller, and the yellow is brighter. Later, out.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2011 at 7:49PM
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I found the best way to get rid of the ground yellow jackets is wait until dark, light a road flare & shove it thier entrance hole, the smoke from road flares alone is very toxic& kills all of them in about 2 min.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 3:33AM
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I'm trying to get rid of the wasps and hornets which are chasing away the hummingbirds from their feeders.

I have a commercial yellowjacket trap but only a handful have been killed there. I've tried a jello mix with added capsicum but they didn't seem to like it.

Any other suggestions?

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 11:53AM
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I was having a hard time getting rid of the in ground yellow jackets and like all of you I had tried just about everything, but I decided to try some of the things I had been using on my plants and it worked. This is the mix:
2 tbsps. hot sauce. 9 cloves of garlic. 6 cups of hot water. 2 tbsps chili powder. 2 tbsps cayenne pepper. 1 tbsp dishwashing liquid, 1 tsp baby shampoo, 2 jalapeno peppers, 3 habenero peppers, 1 medium onion.
Make sure to wear gloves when doing this or you will burn yourself. Put everything into a blender and blend well. Then pour into something with mouth small enough to fit over hole in ground. We waited until just after dark and took a flashlight and a funnel with a long tube and since I had on the gloves I held the funnel and my husband poured the mixture. We had strained it through cheese cloth first so it poured through the funnel real easy and fast. After we finished pouring we put the cheese cloth with all the junk in it and stuck it in the top of the hole. Today when we went out there to check on it only one bee flew out and that was because he had managed to climb to the top of the hole, but when he came back and started to go back in he didn't want to. So there is a remedy and it is non-toxic. (Sort of)! P.S. If you have a really big hole in the ground just make sure to increase the amount of water you use when you make the formula so it will reach all of the nest and if you don't use any cheese cloth make sure to cover the hole with something.

Here is a link that might be useful: GardenWeb

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 4:21PM
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I have read alot of the home remedies for getting rid of ground wasps, as I have an annoying ground wasp home right off the front entrance to my house. I have been stung once... and that is enough! But... I notice every night, that an animal digs about a 5" diameter hole where this next is below the ground. I was reading that skunks eat ground wasps and I have skunks traversing through my yard often. So every morning when I come outside, fresh dirt has been dug to this darn hole and at 7:30am these ground wasps are busy trying to figure out what is going on.... So I gues my question to all is if I attempt to get rid of the ground wasps, will whatever animal is digging for them, eventually leave and go somewhere else? Any help is appreciated!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2011 at 1:17AM
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Wow! It worked! I tried the "glass bowl over the nest" have to slap it down fast, as they all came rampaging out even though I did this at 5 a.m. and it was 40 degrees outside. I took a look at the bowl later in the day when I got home from work,...saw no activity and figured they all got away some how...then I looked under the bowl and it was FULL of dead yellowjackets! The hole was full of them too. This was great, as the nest was right next to the creek, so we could not use a molatov cocktail on them (of course, my husband wanted to try that one ha ha) Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2011 at 6:58PM
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I had ground wasps/yellow jackets in the middle of my yard last year and was able to get rid of them without pouring gas or poison into my ground. At night I covered the entry to the nest with a clear plastic bowl. I put a rock on it so the cats would not be able to disturb the bowl. The wasps are naturally attracted to the light and will not dig an escape if they think they can get out. It took several weeks but they eventually starved to death.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2012 at 5:41AM
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Just found out I had a huge problem. I went to turn over a corner of my compost bin that I haven't dug into in a while. I noticed a few bees (so I thought) had stung me. I kicked them away. I dug more my bin and all of a sudden a huge swarm of yellow jackets came out of the bottom. I covered up my face and ran. I still suffered from 6 bites. My HUGE problem is that I don't want to ruin a whole season of my compost. How can I get rid of them without chemicals so I do not ruin all of that hard work?

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 5:32PM
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I had them near the base of the mailbox one summer. They'd fly at me when I went to get the mail. Unlike SOME people on here, I care about others and didn't want to put the mailperson's life in danger. So I waited till evening then stuffed the hole with detergent-laced steel wool. The beasties all died. Couldn't chew through the wool, I guess.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2013 at 8:14PM
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OK, a bit unorthodox, but really does the job.
I am an artist, not a gardener, but have a nice fenced in back yard in the city among other older houses and the same. I get a lot of yellow jackets every year. I have dogs and sit dogs. I've learned observing these guys that if I'm not near a nest, my main problem is stepping on them with bare feet or my dogs doing the same.
No brainer......don't go barefoot.
After trying many methods of getting rid of their nests, one day I just took a can of my artists spray glue and sealed up the nest..........i could spray any flyer that came after me and he immediately fell to the ground and I just used my scissors and put him out of his misery immediately. I know this sounds nuts, but it really does the job. You can take the nest down sometime later.
I always have a can of adhesive & a pair of scissors in the yard. I told a local handyman about this as he was telling me how folks hired him to get rid of them & the trouble he had ......he tried it and loved the results.
You get as good at spraying them as using a fly swatter..........just don't let your fear overpower you; you're bigger and smarter!

For what it's worth....
Have a peaceful day. KT

    Bookmark   June 1, 2014 at 5:50PM
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I have a ground nest and really don't want to kill the YJs. They Haven't bothered anyone so far. I'd like to mow the yard, but will leave a perimeter around the nest. How close do you think I can mow without setting them off?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2014 at 3:15PM
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Ok...I have been reading and reading...and I have to disagree with those who say these are just great, beneficial insects ...all it takes is accidentally going over one of these nests for seconds , and boom, the vibration can set the entire hive off. They are extremely aggressive and mean. In the late fall, they will even attack your meat on the grill !! I am allergic, so is the man that lives 3 doors down from me. We each have families, with a wife, and small children. In other words, a lot to live for !! You can suddenly develop an allergic reaction to something after being exposed 1 , 2, 3 - 1,000,000 + times..(you are not born allergic to yellow jackets).so if I have to pour 16 ounces of gas down a hole to insure my survival over theres, so be it ...I just waited until dusk and poured about 16 ounces down their hole (I covered up the escape hole, always look for the 2nd hole) I love animals, I even walk spiders and wasps out of the house...but if it's me or them, it's them....and I about took a ride to the emergency room the other day when I went over was sheer luck that I saw the first 5-10 stream out...I ran a 50 yard dash very quickly...(Brian - Birmingham, Alabama)

This post was edited by briankut on Wed, Aug 27, 14 at 21:16

    Bookmark   August 27, 2014 at 9:10PM
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To answer the person who is mowing around the perimeter of the are playing with fire....they can feel the vibration of that inch too close and it's go time for that entire nest, and they will not stop stinging until you outrun them, or stop moving..if they are in the woods, out of a mowing path, let them lead their happy lives...if in the way of you....there will be an attack at some point, so I would not hesitate to take care of that nest

    Bookmark   August 28, 2014 at 7:40AM
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We have 4 yellowjacket nests. We got rid of 2 and 2 are still active. Here's what we did (are doing).
1) An underground hive. We waited until nighttime when the bees stopped flying around. We covered the 2 holes with window screen mesh held down by a couple rocks just to be safe. We cut a small slit in the mesh above the 2 holes. We skirted dawn soap into the holes (~ 5 seconds of squirting). Then turned on the hose full blast and let it fill the holes for at least 20 minutes. Amazing how the water just kept pouring into the "bottomless" holes! No bees the next morning and none since.
2) Same night the nest in the basement thru a pencil diameter hole in the siding where I think a cable tv line was before. At nighttime I sprayed bee/wasp killer that shoots a 12 foot stream into that hole. Next morning there were tons of bees dead in the basement and a few still flying around. But zero flying out of the hole in the house. Gone!
3) The hive next in the stone wall right were we park the cars! The angle made it fruitless to spray the nest. I tried like the ones in the basement but no luck
4) The hive in the soffit. Again it's not easy to spray because it's only ~4 inches from another part of the building.

Hives #3 and #4 are still active. We're trying bait stations placed inches away from the hive. So far the bees prefer to fly off somewhere else then go into the bait station. It's Sept 1st, labor day... I grilled them a nice hamburger. :) They're apparently going to someone other labor day picnic. :)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 3:01PM
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