Too many yellow jackets!

Little_FarmerMay 9, 2005


We live on a farm with chickens/turkeys in the yard, and cows next door. We also have 2 apple trees about 30 feet from the house. We have more yellow jackets and wasps than anyone I know has ever seen! They are everywhere.

I would like to remove whatever is attracting them. Spraying would be a full time job, there are that many of them!

Options please... I am considering cutting down 2 beatuiful apple trees that produce regularly with little maintenance. I know the bees like the trees and eat the apples as well. Will this be a signifigant help?

Do they stay close because of the bird droppings? Would getting rid of the birds help, or is the cow manure next door the larger problem?

Thanks in advance for all the help! This has gotten out of hand, and we don't know what to do.


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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

I would put up allot of home made traps like they shown here.
Just experiment with some of your own design, it doesn't have to be exactly the same as shown.
Perhaps stick into the pop bottle opening some sort of a hose [rubber]
Mix half water, half sugar syrup, wasp will drown in it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Pop bottle trap

    Bookmark   May 9, 2005 at 10:53PM
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Thanks for the link.

Is there any way to keep them away from the house. Is there something that draws them to our yard?



    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 8:56AM
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The secret world of gardens tv show recently did a show on wasps. Previously Ive only heard that they bite people rather than sting, which may have been misinformation. In the show it said they are nectar feeders and useful pollinators.

Regarding your issue it said that they will be drawn mainly to rotting apples, which have fallen that they can drink from. I guess spring bloom as well.

Another factor mentioned is the type of materials available nearby for them to build nests. The mud wasp was shown skillfully making its nest on a brick wall. Paper wasp regurgitates some type of pulp into paper.

I got rid of a nasty gang of wasps in my shed by firing up my bee smoker and saturating the shed with smoke. They seem to have left the building and not come back after only 2 hr of smoke and that was 3 weeks ago.

He stressed they have a bad rap though and really wage biological warfare on other sap feeders.

Are yellow jackets a type of wasp, he said the ant is also in the same family!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2005 at 3:14PM
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I don't know how to classify yellow jackets. The only thing I can say is the are very aggressive! We have tons of them, and they make life much more complicated than it needs to be.

We also have a dense population of wasps, but I can only recall one or two stings form them.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2005 at 8:28AM
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orcuttnyc(z5-6 NY)

Yellow Jackets princibably nest in the ground. Find the nest, wait till evening, they are docile then, and by flashlight, pour kerosine down the hole. Works every time!
I some times use gasoline..not being a smoker :)

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 9:40AM
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Thanks for the ideas guys!

I have not found many yellow jackets in or near the ground. They like to nest on or by the house. I spray the nests and remove them, but they soon come back. I am going to cut down the 2 apple trees and get some traps setup.

I am planting several new fruit trees a little further from the house (they are ordered, should arrive next week).



    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 4:44PM
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Oh the information on the web, and the misinformation too. Goes for TV too. Calling a Vespid (Yellow Jacket family) a nectar drinker is like saying that Piranas eat lotus blossoms.

Yellow jackets are strictly meat eaters at this time of year. They are finding your place attractive, not because of the apple blossoms. Spray away and cut away, but chances are they are finding some flies somewhere, so they will probably diminish after you have sprayed and left enough residue on the lawn so that the dogs, cats and kids will get sick. Thye usual sympton are unexplained headaches, just so that you know what to look for.

Here is a link that might be useful: Clemson Site

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 8:34PM
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Pete is right about the yellow jackets being more carnivorous than anything else. They are probably attracted to the flies on the cow manuer and the larva. Also, yellow jackets are a wasp.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 9:28PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Little Farmer...
Hope you haven't cut your apple trees down yet!
I would try first all other means to keep the population down first.

As I remember,... when the fruits are getting ripe, especially the nice juicy sweet ones, also
plums, most liked by wasp, they can dig a hole right in there.

Hope your traps are working.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2005 at 10:22PM
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Hello all,

Again, thanks for the responses. We have only had a couple warm sunny days to bring them out this year. I know there are a number of factors attracting our flying foes. As stated above, I have heard they are mainly carnivorous this time of year. Once the fruit has set, we see them hanging out by the trees. The first apple tree is very close to the deck. It makes it difficult to enjoy a burger or drink in the summer.

I have not cut the trees down yet, but most likely will. We have ordered eight new trees to replace them. Yeah, we'll have to wait a few years for fruit...


    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 8:35AM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

some good responses here. Yellow jackets are not good pollinators. If they do any at all, it's not efficient or particularly helpful.

As meat eaters they contribute by helping the breakdown of dead animal matter, kind of like composting.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 12:40AM
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They don't polinate. They most often nest in trees and shrubs, sometimes in wall voids and overhangs. Removing nexts can be dangerous, so be careful. I highly recommend that soda pop trap, put them all over. They also can sting and bite.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2005 at 3:22PM
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onafixedincome(z8-9 CA)

Fer cryin' out unprintably, don't cut the trees! :)

Won't help with yellowjackets OR wasps, far as I know.

There are traps made by Sterling (Rescue! yellowjacket traps) that work EXTREMELY well.

There's also the old 'fish trap' concept for picnic times--hang an open bottle with fishy cat food (ProPlan and Fancy Feast both have some, or use cheap sardines) and a chunk of old fruit downwind of the area you want to use, a few hours before you eat.

The wasps will congregate there, not in your food! (Fishermen use this tactic with fishheads and guts to keep the wasps away from where they clean fish and game.)

Screening the porch is also an excellent option.

If you REALLY feel you have to cut the trees, make sure you put in a HoneyCrisp apple as a replacement. WOW fruit!


    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 1:04PM
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workingcomputers(8 WA)

I have an Italian plum tree no fruit this year yet. The yellow jackets and black hornets swarm this tree. They are concentrated on this tree only. The tree is in grave danger of a madman with a chainsaw, "me." I put out the bottle of honey syrup water and am waiting. Calling local garden shop for advice. I have found by chance however that the orange cleaner is oil based and kills yellow jackets as well as any chemical spray. Any suggestions on the Italian plum tree my wife wants it to live but my chain saw is hungry.


    Bookmark   August 5, 2005 at 5:07PM
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david_wagner(7b Arkansas BB)

Well I'm new here. But I was shown an idea for a trap that only needed a pop bottle, liquid dish soap, water, a sharp instrument of construction and some bait. What you do is cut a hole in the side of the pop bottle just large enough for your finger (I left the lid off). Put in water and a bunch of dish soap. With your finger smear bait (jelly, over ripe apple mush,...ect), I used jelly, around the hole in the INSIDE of the bottle. I did this for a friend (three of them) and they worked great in just one day. The yellow jackets came in and didn't leave. I wish I could remember where I saw it. If I can get pictures loaded after their developed I'll try and post some. At my place my two week old feral survivor hive seems, knock on wood, to have run off most of the wasps and hornets. Haven't seen any in two days. Hope this helps! David

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 12:44AM
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There is most likely no real way to get rid of yellow jackets as they are attracted to the sweet stuff , spilled soda, rotting fruit, etc. One year I put out wasp traps which all that did is attract more and more wasps.

My problem is with hummingbird feeders . With certain feeders the holes are too big and yellow jackets can actually crawl inside. So the answer for this time of season[sept oct] when they are most active is saucer types[hummzingers] and pp209 types in which the holes are too small for the bees to get into. The kind of feeders with bee guards arent that good as bees still hang around those ports as nectar residue or dripping nectar keeps them thare.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 11:46AM
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