24
Sep
11

Yellow Jacket Nest (Mania, Insania, Pyromania)

Few things annoy or scare me more than a yellow jacket’s nest. Just a month ago, I was moving my daughter out of a house and a yellow jacket’s nest was evident, in a hole, beneath the front porch. I was uneasy as we moved her belongings (how does a little girl accumulate so much stuff?) out the door and down the porch. We finished without incident.

Yesterday, I let the dogs out the back door. I decided to do a bit of watering. I did the opposite of most people (who tidily store their hose after each use), I turned on the hose and knew the end was over in a direction near the deck. I could hear it running. I walked over to secure the business end of the hose and there was the business end of a yellow jacket’s nest. Agitated and impossible to track, the yellow jackets were moving in all manner of directions because of the running water. I could see the two inch hole and too many to count yellow jackets. I retreated and abandoned the idea of watering.

What’s the big deal you might ask. Leave them alone. Well, I have had three encounters with yellow jacket nests that did not fair well. Two with me getting attacked and one with my two older boys being savagely attacked. The existence of a nest unleashes a sort of revenge factor in me. 

I went out this morning to do just that. It was barely first light, say 0645 hrs. I had a plan. I won’t share it, because you’d think me crazy, dangerous and even perhaps cruel (seriously screw that…they need to be dead; I don’t care about their place in the pest eating scheme of things about now). They were already a blur of activity. My head lamp revealed dozens in a cloud of activity above the hole and steady stream of others heading out from the nest. The quiet time was not then to unleash my plan. I chose to retreat. Maybe tonight?

Of course, all the resources say the yellow jackets will die off in the Fall. Maybe I should wait. But, it is revealing of my nature to exact revenge for wrongs that took place decades ago. Now don’t confuse yellow jackets with bees. They are not of the same family. They belong to wasp family. They can sting repeatedly. I can attest to this. Ok, I have put the matches away. The shed door is locked.

Pouring gasoline on a nest is NOT the way to control yellow jackets. Gasoline will sterilize the soil, get into groundwater, and evaporate into the air we breathe. Gasoline is a mixture of materials, some of which are known carcinogens. When gasoline gets on you it is readily absorbed through the skin, which can also cause a chemically burn. Gasoline has become a popular cure for yellow jackets, with some people pour gasoline into a yellow jacket nest and then light it.  One gallon of gasoline has the explosive force equal to 83 sticks of dynamite, which is not good for our environment or our health. Please never attempt to control yellow jackets with gasoline!” RockDaleCounty.Org   (Obviously a volunteer fireman; Who would put a gallon of gasoline down a hole beneath his deck, which is attached to his house? 🙂 )

“First, decide if the nest actually poses a risk. If it is out of the way, it may be prudent to wait and let the nest die naturally in the fall. If removal is necessary, apply an approved insecticide directly into the nest opening. Use an approved “Wasp and Hornet” spray that propels a stream of insecticide 15-25 feet. Treatment is most effective in the evening when the majority of the insects are in the nest. Be sure to dress appropriately. Wear eye protection, a long-sleeved shirt, trousers and boots, and secure your sleeves and pant legs. Establish an unobstructed escape route and be ready to move quickly away if any of the bees fly towards you. If you require illumination, use a flashlight covered with red cellophane for light – wasps cannot see red. You may need to repeat the treatment two or three times on consecutive evenings. As there is some risk of being stung, you may wish to seek professional help. After a nest has been removed, be sure to fill any openings to prevent future entry.”  Master Bee Keeper


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