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Bees or Yellow Jackets?

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
by totallygreen on August 01, 2004 08:35 PM
I would like say hello. This is my first post and this is certainly an excellent forum.
Well I am growing pumkins, melons, peppers and tomatoes in my garden. However, recently I noticed a nest right smack in the middle of my back yard about 50' away from the garden. I am almost 100 percent positive that it is a yellow jacket nest in the ground. But I was looking for some input from some more experienced persons. Here are some pics i tried to take. My lack of photography skills coupled with the fact that I have a cheap camera explains the poor photo's
My dilema is should I try and kill the nest, or leave them be. The only danger I percieve is when the lawn mower guy comes, but I guess I could fence off the nest if it would be beneficial to the garden. If it is reccomended to kill the nest, any advice on how best to do that would also be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
by mom54 on August 01, 2004 11:40 PM
Sounds like Yellow Jackets to me. We had a nest a couple of years ago. If you get too close to them with a lawn mower, the vibration of the machine will stir them up. They are very aggresive. Call your local extension service and they can tell you how to eliminate them,
I wouldn't mess with them until you find out for sure what they are.
Good Luck and be careful!!!!!!!!!!!

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by weezie13 on August 02, 2004 03:14 AM
Hi [wayey] Totallygreen,
Welcome to The Garden Helper's Forum!!
We are very glad you found us!!!!!

I can't remember the name of it, but my
husband found an organic or non~bad stuff in it, spray that got the Yellow Jackets and didn't harm my kids...
It was made with some kind of peppermint oil and some other things too, maybe Phyrethrum in it too!

But, it worked really well..........

I am not an advocate of killing animals, but if it is my kids or the the yellow jackets, I gotta pick the kids!!!

Like mom said, they can be very aggressive too!!!


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Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

by totallygreen on August 02, 2004 03:56 AM
Thanks for your fast replys. I guess that i do in fact have a yellow jacket nest in my back yard. I guess deep down inside i was hoping that I had some kind of ground nesting bee. I'll let you know how I make out. Thanks again
by duckie on August 07, 2004 07:22 AM
Welcome totally green!!I luv your name,really cool. [thumb]
Bees and wasps are very good for our gardens but can become dangerous too.
The wasps I had last year were nesting on my front porch.And they were very aggresive.I just wanted to add.When destroying the nests,wait until sundown.They can't fly when it's dark.

Again,welcome [wayey]
quack,quack [grin]

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by totallygreen on August 07, 2004 08:51 PM
I have to be completely honest about my screen name. I'm a Jets fan. Hopefully all those veggies I'M growing will still be around for the tail gate parties.
As far as the yellow jacket nest, at least for now I'M going to let them bee. They don't seem like a real nasty species and there are no kids and I let the lawn mower guy know about the nest. Hopefully they will eat lots of yummy bad bugs in the garden.

by Pineapple_Raye on August 08, 2004 02:26 PM

Let there be no doubt---those are yellow jackets.

I found a nice sized nest one year. I got rid of them using a truckmounted carpet cleaning machine I owned then. Turn up the heat to 300 degrees and I wet-steamed them into their yellow jacket heaven.

I'm an organic gardern and I value all things. However, yellow jackets are too dangerous for you and your family to overlook.

The only other types of bees that I know that live in the ground are solitaries, and they come in just about as many colors as there are colors~~!
by Nako on August 09, 2004 05:53 AM
We don't care about our yard, so what i did is when i found one next to the willow stump, i quickly stomped it in HARD. Then i filled the hole with raid. That was stupid lol. I didn't get stung, but it was still a really stupid thing to do >.<

Anywho, goodluck!


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Nako's Webshots!
by totallygreen on August 10, 2004 05:53 AM
Again thanks for the input. You all have convinced me that the nest must go. I have read around about some dust that can be put into the nest at night. Probably not the most natural thing, but also probably the easiest way to get rid of them. However, I do also love the idea about the steam cleaner, i'll keep my eyes peeled for one of those machines in the neighborhood. I also read somewhere that the spray cans don't work for in ground nests. neither does gasoline and a match(can catch the whole ground on fire!), nor filling the hole in as mentioned above. But what about putting the garden hose in the hole at night and letting it run all night? Just a thought, not going to do it unless it's reccomended. Thanks again.
by Sami on August 10, 2004 06:14 AM
We had several nests in our kids wooden playset this year...not yellow wasps & something else (not sure what it was but it had a nest that looked like the wasp nest but smaller holes). Of course, I had to get rid of them, so I waited until dusk & sprayed the nests then knocked them down. There were four of them. Tomorrow I get to go weed around the playset now that all the wasps & whatever are gone.

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Talentless but connected.
by afgreyparrot on August 10, 2004 03:48 PM
Glad to hear you are going to get rid of the yellow-jackets. Those things can do some damage FAST! One year I had some volunteer pumpkins growing outside my sign shop. I was showing them to a friend, and all of a sudden I felt STINGING all over! Yellow-jackets had come up out of the ground and flown right up under my t-shirt! By the time I got my shirt off, which was IMMEDIATELY, I had gotten stung 14 times. My epinephrin shot was right inside my shop, thank God!

That's the thing about usually don't get stung by just one of them. They gang up on you. Plus, they sting you on the back, where it's impossible to get them off without just ripping your clothes off. They are sneaky, and they don't fight fair.


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Buckle up! It makes it harder for the aliens to suck you out of your car!
by NickN on August 10, 2004 07:07 PM
Be careful around that nest.Yellow jackets post sentry's around the entrance to alert the others when something is intruding.Kinda odd to have them there though.Usually,normal,every week mowing prevents them from establishing a nest in the ground.
Also,while it's true that night time is the best time to deal with them,do not use a flashlight when approaching the nest.The sentry's will actually fly directly towards the light,hence,directly at you.
Not going to be a popular method on this site,but gasoline does wonders when poured into the hole. [Big Grin]
I've yet to find an insecticide that will kill them effeciently.
by hisgal2 on August 10, 2004 10:06 PM
Funny story...

Last year we went to our family reunion at the family farm outside of Altoona. There were either bees or yellow jackets in the walls of the house. Well, one of our uncles (who is a genius) decided to get the shopvac out and to prop the hose up at the hole where they were flying in and out of. He let the vac run for about an hour and a half. It was funny...everytime one would fly to get into the hole, they would get sucked into the vac. Anyways, when the vac was only sucking one or two in a minute, he turned it off and then stuck the hose onto the tail pipe of the a car that was there and tured the car on. He basically smoked them to death. [Big Grin] [Embarrassed] He said "hitler would be proud"....he was joking, of course. Probably an example of how NOT to get rid of the yellow jackets!! [Smile]

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by totallygreen on August 11, 2004 05:22 AM
Well I went to Home Depot and purchased a can of foam spray for about 3.00. I marked the nest site in the daytime with two ice cube trays so I can find the nest easily at night to spray. You can see some pics here:

Thanks for all the advice, i'll let you know how I make out.
by brucexxxyyy on September 05, 2004 06:02 AM
Yellow Jackets: Have been battling them for many years, and have found that using a shop vac with a 10' long 1-1/4" tube attached placed right at their hole-really close, and left on for two days and nights does the trick-suck them right up and once in the vacuum cleaner they dehydrate quickly and die. I don't like chemicals, and the University of Illinois bee guys could not provide any useful help. This works-and it's safe for my grandchildren.

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by Lefse on September 05, 2004 07:45 AM
While mopping up after a 200 acre brush fire at the edge of town this summer, I walked across a ground nest in the burned area. I didn't know it was there until we fired up the pump on the brush truck and the hose laying on the ground above the nest started to vibrate. They came alive very quickly! The fire did nothing to the nest, however. It did kill every other living thing in the vicinity. No stings, I kept a distance from them until we were done. I do wonder if the hose got stung though!

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"He who sees things grow from the begining will
have the best view of them" - Aristotle
by pagarden on September 06, 2004 06:07 AM
my neighbor found a nest next to a buch between our yards when he was mowing. they attacked him. figured out that's what stung my daughter while she was on the side of the house a week ago. and as i smacked it off her shirt it flew right back and landed on her head! the darned persistent thing. so i smacked him off again and then stomped it to death. anyhow- i read somewhere that you can put a clear bowl over the entry hole at night and as they wake up in the morning to come out, get confused and actually end up starving. so i took it one step further- got a can of raid wasp and hornet spray and sprayed it good, then inverted the glass bowl on top of it! saw one the next day and sprayed that guy with the raid and haven't seen another since. in another day i'll take the bowl off and fill in the hole with sand. it's worked for us. I know store bug spray isn't the greatest for our health, but when it comes to bees and wasps in this house the bug spray wins. my husband is even terrified of the guys so i always have to do the dirty work! anyhow- our nest seems to be dead...
by totallygreen on September 09, 2004 03:10 AM
Once again, thanks for all the replies. Well the spray foam did in fact kill the nest. I didn't have any problems while spraying and the next day there was no sign of the yellow jackets. I tried to dig the nest up and take some pictures, but i couldn't find the nest in my several shovel fulls of earth.
by BudsNbloom on September 10, 2004 10:56 PM
I have a problem with yellow jackets each year due to various fruit trees in my back yard. I have found that the pear trees are their favorites. I wanted a treatment for these pests, but did not want to use any chemicals. A friend told me a very inexpensive and earth friendly way to get rid of these pests. Locate the entrance to the nest and mark the spot. I place a flower pot over the hole. The yellow jackets can still enter and exit through the holes in the bottom of the pot. Observe the nest for a couple days to see if there is a back door. Some of the hives will have two exits. If a back door is located, mark that spot also. After dark, cover completely the back door to keep the yellow jackets from escaping. Boil a large pot of water and pour the hot water in the mail entrance. This has worked for me everytime and I have never been stung. The pests are quickly killed, and my yard is chemical free!
by The Plant Doc on September 11, 2004 03:55 AM
If you are going to spray the nest make certain that you do it with a spray that is made for killing bee's wasps, and hornets. NOT a general insecticde. While most insecticides will work, and you will be doing it at night, you will want something that has knock down power. Otherwise even though the bees will die, they will get as many stings in on their way out as they can.
Black Flag, and Shoo Fly are 2 that I can think of off the top of my head.
When you spray make certain that your are spraying directly into the hole, you will need a flashlight. Personally I would empty the can the jet action of the spray should keep the critters from flying out at you. But be ready to run just in case. It may not be all that bad of an idea to have someone standing by( at a safe distance ) with a water hose ready to spray any unwanted passengers off of you.

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Mike Maier
The Plant Doc

Active Garden Forum

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