Bees or wasps in ground in backyard?

marilano(California)September 9, 2007

I recently discovered (in mid-August) a ground nest or hive of either bees or wasps (or possibly yellow jackets). They're in the ground between an impatiens and a daylily; they fly out when I water that area of the yard. They seem to go straight for my hair--which is scary--although I haven't been stung yet (and one went up my blouse sleeve and came into the house before I realized it--but didn't sting). I seem to have more of them every day, although so far only about a dozen fly around when I water. I'm not sure if they're bees--which I definitely wouldn't want to kill given the bee shortage--or wasps, or yellow jackets. They aren't very big--about 1/2 inch long. Any ideas? Most of the postings above say that ground bees go away in early summer--whatever my insects are, they only appeared in mid-August and are increasing in number now that it's early to mid-September. Any ideas about what species they might be and whether it would be safe or risky to dig up the hole? TIA for any replies. marilano

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very likely yellow jackets. check online for pictures. You can usually get rid of them with a garden hose if they are really causing problems. Digging them up would not be a good idea until after they are dead.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2007 at 10:34AM
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Thanks, tonybeeguy, for the reply. I also posted my question to the California gardening forum, and the two people who replied there also thought these were probably yellowjackets rather than bees. I know I've also had paper wasps building small honeycomb-looking nests in my house's eaves, but these are definitely smaller insects than the paper wasps I've seen flying around. If they are definitely not bees (the good guys), I'll want to get rid of them. Do you know if the colony will die off in a mild climate in the fall or winter? marilano

    Bookmark   September 13, 2007 at 12:46AM
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ccrb1(z5 IND)

a hard freeze kills the colony. That may be no help to you

    Bookmark   September 15, 2007 at 7:03PM
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I've had problems with yellow jackets on the hillside when mowing the grass, got stung up on both legs before, then fully dressed with work boots and they didn't get me, but this day I wore a thin long sleeve shirt and they stung right through it. Got Stung all over my torso, front, back, sides and both arms. These yellow jackets here are really bad when provoked, they hung on my clothes and even followed me. Also don't know how a garden hose can get rid of them since we had been having heavy rains most of this summer and the yellow jackets are still here! I did try Hornet Killer, but that did very little if anything to these yellow jackets.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 11:59PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

My neighbors pour gasoline in yellow jacket ground nests. (They don't set it on fire: just pour it in.)

I have had mixed luck with Spectracide's hornet spray on a yellow jacket nest (though it always works well on bald-faced hornets' paper nests).

    Bookmark   August 26, 2014 at 12:18AM
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