Yellow jacket time of year

esh_gaAugust 3, 2009

I was reminded rather painfully yesterday that this is the time of year when yellow jacket nest building is going on. When digging, be alert for signs of yellow jackets flying around the ground and especially for any visible hole with activity. If you are not digging or disturbing the ground, I don't think they bother with you unless you are right at the hole, but I am no expert.

If you dig near a nest (which is in the ground), they will sting you. My experience (and this is my second episode in a few years) is that after the first one stings you, others will follow - literally! Yesterday they followed me quite a ways, not a swarm of them, but enough to keep stinging me as I went. I got 8 stings in all! I did manage to kill a few of them on the way ....

So, be careful! They especially like to build nests where there are pieces of old wood/logs, but that is not a sure thing.

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mkrkmr

Too late! I was got yesterday, too. I decided to clear the English ivy from another section of the backyard (a long slow project). I was using a mattock to skim the top of the ground and break up the vines a bit before pulling them up. I went right over the top of the nest. Luckily I had on long sleeves and pants. Only three stings, all of them when I was a couple hundred feet from the nest. I think they hitched a ride on my clothes, instead of chasing me so far, but I'm not sure...

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 8:03AM
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vicki7(z7 N.Ga.)

Ouch! I'm sorry you guys got stings, I definitely remember how painful they can be. Their nests can be very hard to pinpoint, but so far this summer, we've managed to spot and get rid of 3 nests that were pretty close to the house. Judging from the large number of them flying around, I think there's probably at least one more we haven't found. Hubby and I were just discussing this yesterday and saying we WISH someone would come up with a "bait" that the workers would take back into the nest and poison the whole thing. Kinda like the way some fire ant poisons work.
Vicki

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 9:05AM
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mk87

esh -- OUCH! Hope you are not terribly allergic! :(

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 1:15PM
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ribbit32004

I agree. Ouch! There seem to be no more bees in the garden, only yellow jackets. Those things are nasty. Actually and rather oddly, I've seen a buch of them either dead or dying on leaves or in the soil itself.

Am I sad? Am I vindicated? I'm conflicted.

So far, they've moved whenever I've come near, but I know my experience so far is only as good as the first sting.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 9:56PM
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rosiew(8 GA)

I've been sitting on the lawn rogueing out crab grass and having yellow jackets hover - especially just over my hands, alighting on me for just a moment and on the turned up soil. No bites yet. It's really hard to suppress the urge to swat at them. Could I be near a nest but not so close to have them become kamikazes?

Apprehensive in Sugar Hill,
Rosie

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 8:04AM
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esh_ga

Yellow jackets seem to love turned up soil, not sure why.

This is nest building season, no doubt. Just watch and see if they go back and forth to a certain area and then look for the hole.

And yes, they don't turn aggressive until you are too close to a nest (at least in my experience - which I have too much of!).

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 9:24AM
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milieu_serene(8b/SE GA)

My wife got stung by 2 in Duluth this afternoon. Watch OUT!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2009 at 11:00PM
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rosiew(8 GA)

Just when we thought yellow jacket stings were bad! Check out this I found in today's New York Times. OUCH.

http://happydays.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/10/oh-sting-where-is-thy-death/

Rosie in Sugar Hill

Here is a link that might be useful: RATING INSECT STINGS

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 8:14AM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

The last time I got stung by them was last year when I was walking in the wooded area. As soon as I saw them hovering over my head, I walked away fast. But they kept following me for a while.
Finally one of them got me.

Luckilly I don't see them around any more. Last year I destroyed them. I use WD-40. ,

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 10:23PM
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laylaa(7b)

I've taken out 16 nests this year trying to install drip line. Usually I leave them be - these are the small non aggressive species, but they don't care for dripline being installed on top of them. Dang nests can be 8' apart. They must be like Argentine ants (see Argentine ants) and won't fight each other. Egads, a global yellowjacket colony??

But hey, haven't seen the first aphid! Velvet ants out the whazoo (I do not like velvet ants) as a result but no aphids.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 2:48PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

How do you know where yellow jacket nests are? We have them all over the place at our house. They seem to be everywhere.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2009 at 10:55PM
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esh_ga

Look for the insects to be flying low and close to the ground. A nest is a hole in the ground, you will see them going in and out with some regularity.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2009 at 6:02AM
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