Learned a New Way to Get Rid of Yellow Jackets

NSB PhotogNSB Photog Posts: 474 Deckhand
A couple of nights ago I'm sitting out on our pool deck, grilling some food, and notice a continuous stream of insects flying in and out of an area just on the other side of the screen. I walk over, look down and see what looks like hundreds of yellow jackets flying in and out of an old armadillo burrow hidden among the ferns. I warn my son and wife to stay away from that area of the yard until I can work up a plan for their demise.

The next morning I'm out sipping on my coffee, listening to the birds and enjoying an otherwise beautiful morning when I'm hit with a sharp stinging sensation in a very sensitive region. It appears I had somehow sat on a yellow jacket that made it's way into the pool enclosure, and he wasn't happy about it.

War was declared.

I read up on a few different methods of eradication, but all involved getting far closer to the buzzing nest than I was comfortable with and given the size of the hole, surrounding landscape, etc. the list of viable options was getting small. I then had a brilliant idea. I could vacuum them out!

We had an old canister vacuum laying around, and I thought if I could just tape the vacuum to a long piece of PVC pipe, I could gently slide the pvc along the ground until the end got to the hole, then turn on the vacuum. After some test fitting and dry runs, I was all set up and slowly inching the pipe to the nest. After a satisfying flick of a switch, the vacuum sprang to life and I could hear a steady "thwump, thwump, thwump" coming from the PVC pipe. My plan was working perfectly. I let the vacuum run all day, and every now and then I would walk over to the screen and hear the "thwump, thwump, thwump" of yellow jackets getting sucked into the pipe.

My plan was perfectly, but it was slow and many yellow jackets were still flying around the pipe and not getting sucked up. I thought to myself, maybe I can rearrange the pipe so it's in the hole, that will surely get them fast. And, it did, until the end of the pipe sucked up a leaf in the hole, and a thousand angry yellow jackets came out looking for revenge.

I've always been a pretty fast runner. So fast, in fact, it appears I can outrun about 99.7% of a yellow jacket population. Unfortunately .3% of a yellow jacket nest can still leave a mark. The remainder of the yellow jackets concentrated their attack on the running vacuum, it's solid plastic skin impervious to the relentless assault.

It was time to wait until evening, and come up with Plan B.

I read a few more ideas, and finally settled down on the flooding with a soap and water approach. I've used soapy water as an effective insecticide in my garden, so figured this would be worth a shot. It was late in the evening, the air was cool and the yellow jackets had all returned to their nest for the evening. A cautious visual inspection with a flashlight confirmed the nest was still heavily populated. I mixed up the soapy solution in a five gallon bucket. Quietly carried it over to the edge of the nest. Set it slowly on the ground. Then, took a deep breath, kicked it over, and ran like a cheetah back to the safety of the screen.

From the safety of the screen I listened as what sounded like a squadron of planes was throttling up for takeoff. The entire five gallons had disappeared into the tunnel and dissipated almost instantly. I watched as a steady stream of yellow jackets stumbled out of the hole in the ground, confused, dazed and unable to fly. I went to bed itchy, but satisfied.

As the sun slowly started it's rise above the horizon, I ventured out on my patio, flashlight in hand, and looked down at the scene of last night's battle. I expected to see yellow jackets moving around, maybe in smaller numbers, but I didn't think there was any way the bucket of water would have finished the job and I anticipated there would be some follow-up work.

What I saw was something different entirely. The hole had been replaced with a cavern, dirt strewn all over. Pieces of nest material scattered all over the ground. It looked like a bomb had gone off, however there wasn't a yellow jacket body to be found. And that's when I saw, pressed neatly in the fresh dirt, the unmistakable footprint of Ursus americanus. I was joined in the fight by an unlikely ally.

So next time instead of vacuuming or buckets of water or insecticide powders (which I was considering), I think I might just put a little glob of honey next to the nest, and let nature do it's thing.


  • 2true2true Posts: 2,110 Officer
    Nice writing Style. Do you know Captain McGillicuddy?
  • FlashFlash Posts: 11,016 AG
    I lost 4 days of work due to yellow jacket stings. Me and them don't get along. I always attack them at night. Everybody is in the nest. Gas with a little fire or at my old house, a can Wasp spray did the trick. We would then seal off the hole. Pretty much wiped them out.

    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
  • S.S.TupperwareS.S.Tupperware Posts: 1,056 Officer
    I had a big paper wasp nest or whatever it was near the palm tree by the front door. I took 3 100 ft blach garden hoses and hooked them together and laid them in the driveway. After a full day os sun, I let them have it... worked well.
  • dave44dave44 Posts: 6,396 Admiral
    2true wrote: »
    Nice writing Style. Do you know Captain McGillicuddy?

    My favorite writer.
  • NSB PhotogNSB Photog Posts: 474 Deckhand
    2true wrote: »
    Nice writing Style. Do you know Captain McGillicuddy?

    Thanks. And yes, he's a close personal friend of mine!
  • 2true2true Posts: 2,110 Officer
    NSB Photog wrote: »
    Thanks. And yes, he's a close personal friend of mine!

    I know and I remember.... :wink
  • Soda PopinskiSoda Popinski GrovelandPosts: 7,029 Admiral
    I've only battled yellow jackets once, and i was wearing a bee keepers uniform, attacked them at daybreak, i was using an insecticide powder and puffing it into the hole so the ones coming and going would die, then i blasted it with Seven, they came out angry and even in the costume, knowing i was safe it's tough to fight the instinct to run when they're trying to sting you and buzzing all over the place. 20 minutes in, and they're all dead, i get a shovel out and dig them out (and all the chemical i used as well). threw the nest in the truck, then into a dumpster. Mission accomplished.
    People use statistics the way a drunk uses a street light, for support rather than illumination.
  • SchmidtySchmidty Posts: 6,814 Officer
    I once parked my lawn mower over the hole and let it run for 10 minutes...I never saw another one there...
    On Wednesday, 1/25/2017...Florida Sportsman "Big Kahunna"......"Triple Threat 33T" gave his "official word"...and greasy thumb print...by saying....."Here's your written rules Schmidty, No Politics in OT. You're welcome."

    ...and with that history was made...:)
  • SAENoleSAENole Posts: 9,557 Admiral
    I may be entitled to compensation.
  • treemanjohntreemanjohn Posts: 2,432 Captain
    A 16oz bottle of gas. Walk up cram the veck in the hole and walk away. It's very simple and doesn't cost electricity
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Posts: 1,712 Captain
    A pint/quart of gasoline poured down the hole AFTER DARK will kill 100% of them. No burning needed. Let the fumes do the job!

    I worked in the woods in the Deep South for many years.....I've never known of another forester bitten by poisonous snakes, but I did know one killed by yellow jackets one hot July afternoon.
  • Keep on SpoolinKeep on Spoolin Posts: 1,292 Officer
    Good story, glad it all worked out.
  • bullheadbullhead Posts: 120 Officer
    I ran over a nest with the walk-behind brush hog. They were stinging my hands thru the jersey gloves before I knew what was happening. I abandoned the mower on top of the nest. After a quick trip to Piggly Wiggly for Benadryl and wasp spray, I stopped at the dollar store to pick up a cheap sheer curtain. I turned my overalls into a makeshift bee suit using duct tape, and with wasp spray blazing in both hands, I retrieved the mower off the hole. Then I put a bamboo pole in the top and bottom of the sheer curtain, and with the precision of a dive bomber, dropped the sheer over the nest. Next, as the wasps tried to get out, they ran into the sheer, and I sprayed until no more came out. As they returned, I sprayed the wasps on the outside that tried to get back in. It took the better part of the day, but the nest was destroyed. I probably went through 6-8 cans of spray. When all was calm, I stuck one of the bamboo poles into the rotten stump they were using as their nest. That pole went down about 4 feet.
  • Mister-JrMister-Jr Posts: 25,916 AG
    2true wrote: »
    Nice writing Style. Do you know Captain McGillicuddy?

    Vote for the other candidate
  • AC ManAC Man Posts: 3,448 Captain
    How about dumping a wheel barrow of dirt over the hole at night when they are inactive. I doubt they can dig out. Other than that it would be quick and deadly violence. Not a vacuum cleaner. Fire in the hole.By the way, you haven't lived till you suck one down that landed in your soda bottle on a picnic.:grin
  • micci_manmicci_man Somewhere in FLPosts: 11,860 AG
    Dang, some of you are really working at this when a small cup of gas is all that is needed. Dump it in the hole after dark and walk away. All dead. But then again, some mechanics charge more than others....
    Common Sense can't be bought, taught or gifted, yet it is one of the few things in life that is free, and most refuse to even attempt to possess it. - Miguel Cervantes
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Posts: 1,712 Captain
    Listen to what micci-man says! Dumping dirt on a nest is about as crazy as substituting a broken beer bottle for toilet paper! They'll **** well dig out in as heartbeat! Kill the **** things with 12-16 ounces of gasoline!
  • toomertoomer Posts: 315 Deckhand
    Gas is my choice too, tho I like to light the hole up too and listen to the little buzzturds pop and crackle.
  • Bruce SBruce S Posts: 399 Deckhand
    Mephitidae digs em up an eats em too. And they won't steal your picinic basket.
  • NSB PhotogNSB Photog Posts: 474 Deckhand
    I checked on the nest yesterday when I got home from work, and it appears to be pretty well destroyed. I saw one yellow jacket flying around, but that was all.

    I had thought about the gasoline approach, however this particular nest was built into an armadillo burrow that went under my patio foundation. As adventurous as I am, I'm not quite comfortable with the idea of pouring gasoline into a cavity that may go underneath my house, and I'm even less comfortable with the thought of the conversation I would have had to have with my insurance company if I blew up my house.

    I did read that yellow jackets cannot dig, and always use an existing hole, so the wheel barrow of dirt dumped on top trick may work, depending on how deep the hole is.

    I'm also finding it amusing how different areas of the body react to stings. As of this morning, one of the sting sites is just a tiny little red dot, the other a red puffy area the size of a grapefruit.
  • 10X10X Posts: 499 Officer
    Last year had one and did not want to use gas as it was in an area of plantings. Used that 20' wasp spray at night right down the hole. 98% dead in morning, all dead by end of day. Nest got dug up by something the next night. I suspect a 'dillo and would not break my heart if the spray harmed him.

    I like the gas and light them up method if the situation allows it.
  • FloydFloyd ; in N. Tampa or DownEast MainePosts: 1,067 Officer
    I had a nest of Maine bees down in a stump that I tried several things on. I tried insecticide, filling with dirt, tarp covered with dirt, gas under a tarp. Nothing worked. Then, a night or so later some animal dug into the stump and ate them all. Seems odd that several of us reported that animals went after the hive after we pored something noxious on it. Why don't they go after it beforehand?
    Recording from Moderators annual meeting: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DuABc9ZNtrA
  • GardawgGardawg Posts: 6,787 Admiral
    I usually pour a hot bucket of molten aluminum in the hole.

    Then I dig it up.

    “Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves.

    Heres Tom with the Weather.”
  • GardawgGardawg Posts: 6,787 Admiral
    “Today a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration, that we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively, there is no such thing as death, life is only a dream, and we are the imagination of ourselves.

    Heres Tom with the Weather.”

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