moving yellow jackets?

frank_10b(10B subtropical)July 24, 2007

Some yellow jackets moved into my summer home, right by the front door. Well I have been able to avoid getting bitten so far but my luck may run out soon. I have heard that they are good for the environment so I dont really want to kill them, what can I do?

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jackz411

Depends how big the nest is and how many yellowjackets you have now as well as how much you like them. The nest will only get bigger and the yellowjackets will only become more territorial and ornery. In another month or so the new queenlets will hatch and then they become extremely protective of the nest and you may not be able to get to your door then. Since you are in a subtropical zone the nest can grow very large and have thousands of the buggers.

Also, yellowjackets do not loose their stinger when they sting and each can do so many times and they also bite.

If you feel they are benefical, find a bee-keeper who will relocate the nest. Otherwise they should go. Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2007 at 9:29PM
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york_rose

I don't think a beekeeper will help. Honey bees are easy to move if you know what you're doing.

Yellow jackets???

LOL!

Yes, they are helpful to the environment in their way, largely because they're predators of other insects. Nonetheless, if you can't use your door, how are they helping you?

They are hornets. They are the most aggressive of the hornets.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 3:08AM
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bogie

I would get rid of them. Sorry, but these are what people are more likely to be allergic to out of the wasp family. Even if you aren't allergic, visitors may be. As aggressive as these things can get (experience talking here), I wouldn't take the chance.

I let YJ's live in other areas, and let other wasps live near the door, but I don't let yellow jackets live near a door. And yes, I'm allergic.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 6:28AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

We have a lot of yellow jackets behind the house shutters. Nests next to the back door are destroyed. We just can't let them live there. If they set up house behind a second story shutter, we have nothing against that.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 9:45AM
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jackz411

Yeah, one would need a very experieneced bee-keeper to consider yellowjackets since they become very aggressive. They are the most aggressive of the Vespids.

Every couple years I have a yellowjacket problem. It all depends on just where the nest is located and how large it is and how many yellowjackets in it. Here they always build their nests in inaccessible locations like voids in walls of a house, porch or small building. They are very creative...under a hot tub.

If the nest is getting large and they are going to be in the way, I call the Pest control guy and he puts on the Bee-keeper outfit and has a professional fogger and potent insecticide. He'll fog the nest and remove it and make sure the queen is dead. Once the nest and queen are gone any surviving yellowjackets go away.

One year I missed seeing a nest. By early August there must have been a thousand and one could not get within 10 feet of the nest.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 9:51AM
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frank_10b(10B subtropical)

Well, the yj are in new england and I guess I will not be able to move them. In fact, what I get from all of you is that I should get rid of them. What is the best way to do that? Any suggestions would be helpful, thanks!

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 8:23PM
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york_rose

If you know the opening of the nest and can do it without too much risk to yourself (& if the nest is not yet really large) you can spray the opening with something like RAID. Just check the label to make sure what you buy is approved for use on wasps (yj's and all hornets are a particular group of wasps). Yellow jackets (if that's indeed what they are) always nest in cavities and very often underground. It's not at all unusual for them to take up residence in an abandoned mouse run, or groundhog burrow, etc.

They are less active at night, so your best chance to get most of them without getting stung is to do it as it's getting dark.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 8:40PM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Frank, at this time of year you could have a couple of hundred yj's in the nest. I'd hire a professional to do the job. We're about half way through the season here and at end of season a mature nest could contain more than a thousand. If you do it yourself be sure to use a quick knock-down wasp and hornet spray. And be sure to wear protective clothing and especially work goggles to protect your eyes, they'll head straight for your face if they can.
I have a contract with my exterminator, they will come to remove/kill nests whenever they appear. I wouldn't try it myself unless it was early in the season and I had a clear view of the nest.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 9:14PM
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pamcleod(z4 NH Lakes)

We had a nasty nest a few years ago, in our horse pasture, which we discovered when we were pounding in fence posts. Yikes. Our friend got 10 stings immediately before he could run far enough. Since the nest was underground, we located it during the day by watching their patterns, then went up at night and put a big tarp over it, securing it with fence posts so they couldn't escape. Before securing the tarp, we poured hot soapy water down the holes. It did the trick. I have since read that using clear plastic will also bake the little buggers.

Maybe on a house you could tape plastic around the nest at night after spraying with soapy water and/or something like RAID?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2007 at 9:27PM
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jackz411

Ok Frank, you are in New England. Here is the drill up here: Usually in late April or very early May the new queen will find a spot for her nest. She has her first brood and they begin to keep expanding the nest and feeding the queen and new baby YJ she keeps laying. The nest keeps expanding and she coninues to have more YJ's. They are social wasps and each has a different job to do and they communicate quite well.

It is now late July and if you are in Northern NE that nest could have at least 200 YJ's. If in Southern NE--could be much more.

You can DIY it, but think it over. At this point it might be more prudent and wise to have a pro do it. That is what I would do this time of year. I just paid a pro $65 to get rid of them 2 weeks ago and after seeing how many ( well over 100) and how big the nest was...I was very happy that I did not attempt to do it myself. If it was late May and just a couple YJ's I might DIY...but nearly August, I'd have a pro take 'em out. The potential is just for too many for a DIY to deal with, also the stuff they sell to consumers is rather weak for a good size nest, Good Luck, JK

ps: if you do nothing the nest will become very large, very fast and you just don't want that problem at your front door and they will keep reproducing quickly since it is prime time for that.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 12:09AM
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molie(z6 CT)

I second the suggestions to get professional help. Once I dug around a YJ's nest that I didn't see and they attacked. I ran about 100 yds in one direction then towards my front door... and they chased after me into the house! If they get angry, they are merciless. You don't want sometning like that happening to family or freinds.

Molie

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 2:45PM
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diggingthedirt

My husband is a painting contractor and deals with these nests all the time - May, August, or September. The real bee killing spray shoots about 10' - don't mess around with Raid or anything like that - and certainly not hot water. Other advice from him - never spray the stuff *up* towards a nest, the bees will start falling down and will sting until their last gasp. Always deal with a nest at night if at all possible, not only because they're less active, but because they're *in* the nest then.

If you go with a professional exterminator, get a firm quote before you sign on the dotted line. Make sure he's going to remove the nest, not just kill whatever YJs happen to be inside it at any given time.

God luck - DtD

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 3:18PM
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diggingthedirt

Make that ... Good luck! and let's leave god out of this.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2007 at 3:19PM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

You can use hornet spray, but get the stuff that sprays 20'. It is readily available. Gasoline FUMES will also kill them so fast you wouldn't believe it. I have killed HUGE nests of white faced hornets with only a small cup full of gas. First, don't try using styrofoam, it melts from gas. Second, do it at night. All you need to do is hold the container of gas TIGHTLY against the entrance to the nest. Some will fall out into the container DEAD. The rest are finished. It kills them that fast. You just need the nerve to do it. Or just get the hornet spray, you might have to do it several times to get them all with the spray.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 1:43AM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

tomakers you are a brave person, the white faced/bald faced hornets are one of the species that are active 24 hours a day! I'd never take the chance of getting that close to a nest. Yellow jackets tend to be more aggressive than most other hornets in the states, I'd really, really, really, really suggest hiring a professional at this point in the season!

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 7:58AM
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bogie

White faced hornets are nasty too. We had a huge nest in the lilacs a couple of years ago. Fortunatel the nest was far enough away from our daily activities that we could wait until cold weather before the Wonderful Spouse would try to take out the nest.

However, the blue jays had a different idea. They waited for a colder day and knocked the nest down - then devoured whatever was in there. I assume it was blue jays - don't know that for certain, but I had seen them scoping it out. I haven't seen a white faced hornet since.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2007 at 8:02AM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

The nest was on a basketball backboard near our back door, so I had to use a ladder in addition to just the hornets. There was not even ONE around the next day, so they must have all been in the nest. I have killed 3 nests this way so far, but I don't want to get over confident. Actually I hate to kill them as I think they eat pests from the garden. On the other hand, I don't want them bothering my grandchildren. My wife's uncle (about 80 at the time) told me about the gasoline fumes. I have to admit it killed them faster than I ever imagined.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 3:56AM
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frank_10b(10B subtropical)

Wow! This is scary, well baking them is not an option as the patio is shaded all the time. Where they are located is pretty scary, how would I get close enough to put petro up there? Wont the ones not in the nest at the time bite me? Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 6:42AM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

It's just the fumes that kill them. No igniting gasoline. It's probably better to get the hornet spray. The name of it is "shoo fly" hornet and wasp spray. It is in a yellow can with red on top. It will spray about 20' and kill them pretty quick. Good Luck.
PS - the blue jays eat the larva that remain in the nest. I too have seen this before.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 1:49AM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

I've used spectracide quick kill, not so quick, you better be able to run fast! What ever you use read it careful, stand away from where the fumes will get you too, it can make you sick.

We've had skunks dig up and destroy underground nests, if the nest is visible I'd wait awhile and remove it once the wasps are dead. anything eating what is left after spraying will get sick possibly killed from the poison.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 8:18AM
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frank_10b(10B subtropical)

Well I will try the "shoo fly" yellow can with red top or the spectracide quick kill. I hate to kill them, however they are on the inside porch of my front door and it is getting more dangerious to get in. Wish I had an alternative. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 5:48PM
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chazparas(USDA zone 9 , San Jose, CA)

Frank I know what you mean, I hate to kill anything myself but when it comes to me or them...me wins
Good luck and safe spraying. You may find stragglers around for a day or two so leave the treated nest up and they will die from contact with it.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 7:03PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Once you get rid of them, it would be great to deter other wasps from settling in the same area.

I have no idea if this fake nest works, but Lee Valley generally sells practical items.

Claire

Here is a link that might be useful: Waspinator

    Bookmark   July 29, 2007 at 8:23PM
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donnamp14(z5MA)

THANK YOU ALL! I am so glad I logged in today to this site (my fave, although I rarely post, too much of a novice). We have them up under some shingles and we can't get to the hose turn on to water the garden without risking a sting or three... My DH has been spraying them nightly to no avail, even using the stuff recommended here. I just called an exterminator and they will be out as soon as possible, which is Saturday. These things are awful! We probably would have kept spraying. The woman I spoke with said that the stinging insect calls are coming in constantly these last couple of weeks.

Thanks for all your sage advice, as usual.

-Donna

    Bookmark   July 30, 2007 at 1:41PM
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jackz411

Yes Donna, it is this time of year when the nests are getting bigger and there will be many more YJ's as they keep reproducing. Under the shingles can be tricky and most Pest guys have the gear to fog them very effectively.

Luckily, my local garden center has a Pest guy and their price is very reasonable.

A few years ago in early-July I noticed a few YJ's coming and going from under the hot tub. I didn't think too much about them. I don't use the tub in the summer so I forgot about them. By mid-August there were hundreds of them coming and going and by early September there were many more. They were coming and going at the rate of 2 per second and it was scary to watch and I should have got rid of them back when I first saw them.

In Nov it was cold and they had all died and we turned the hot tub over on its side. The nest was only 2" high, but it was 3 ft by 3 ft in area. Must have been over 1000 of them at their peak. I have found it is best to get rid of them as early as possible.

Over the last 8 years I have had a perennial problem with YJ's and usually by the time I notice them the nest has become fairly large and the YJ's are ornery. For the 7 previous years I did not have a problem with them. The Pro's have stuff which they don't stock in most stores which is stronger and with a better knockdown ability. As well as fogging machines good for small or large jobs. Of course, you are going to spend a few bucks if you buy what the Pro's use too and my problems with YJ's just does not warrant buying the stuff. Yet.

One can buy the stuff the Pro's use...its just a Google away, Cheers, JK

    Bookmark   July 31, 2007 at 8:24AM
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donnamp14(z5MA)

The exterminator came out Tuesday afternoon, and from the looks of things, I have to call him back out today. Good thing it's guaranteed. He must not have gotten much of the nest, because they never really left. There were some Tuesday night, but last night many, many more. I am so glad we went with a professional. What a nasty job! It's way up inside the shingles. He did check to see that none of them made it into the house and cellar.

Jack, thanks for your tale about the 3x3 foot nest. I will be having nightmares about that for a long time to come! ;)

-Donna

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 8:16AM
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jackz411

Yeah Donna call him back for more. Under shingles is a tough location. The key is to physically remove the nest and the queen. Good luck, JK

    Bookmark   August 2, 2007 at 8:31AM
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magickiwi(Zone 5 Michigan)

This is what a friend of mine wrote to another forum - it was refering to ground bees - but others subsequently posted and said it worked for wasps etc too. Here is her post and it supports Tomakers posts.

"I called a little mom and pop outfit and they could do it right way, but the guy (he was so nice) said that if I wanted to do it myself, it was easy. Said I did NOT want toget stung. He absolutely guaranteed that I would not get
stung. He told me to go out after dark with a flash light. He said there would be 2 guards at the entrance of the nest and if they started to fly, to extinguish the light and they would go back down, they do not fly in the dark. He said to pour a quart of gasoline down the hole. At this point I started to protest because the nest was right by the foundation of my house and I didn't want to burn it down.
He said "You are NOT GOING TO LIGHT IT, all you are going to do it pour in the gasoline, then leave". Which is exactly what I did, and boy, he was 100% correct. No stings, and no more ground bees. Easy as pie."

    Bookmark   August 3, 2007 at 1:55PM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

I really don't think you would need that much gas to do the job. But, maybe better safe than sorry. It is the fumes that kill them. I used no more than a few ounces of gasoline to do in a nest of the white faced ones that was probably as big as a basketball and a half. Of course, in the ground, as YJs are, it is hard to tell how big the nest is, but if I remember right gasoline fumes are heavier than air and should flow down into the nest. I want to mention that I had on plenty of clothing, a ski mask, gloves, and ski goggles the first time I did it.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2007 at 12:38AM
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york_rose

Pouring gasoline into the ground contaminates it with a nasty pollutant. That's the sort of thing about which the EPA will take a very dim view, and rightly so.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 6:03PM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

"That's the sort of thing about which the EPA will take a very dim view, and rightly so."

Only if you tattle.

:-) I know it's serious.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 11:53PM
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frank_10b(10B subtropical)

I believe that the MTBE in petro is very bad for ground water. However, I dont think that I will use gas as the YJ are in the top of the porch right inside under the gutter. There is not much chance that I will be able to put gas up there and live.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 4:27AM
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