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Preventing wasps/yellow jackets?

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  • Preventing wasps/yellow jackets?

    Last year, my garden seemed overrun with yellow jackets and wasps--they were everywhere! It was my first summer since I dug a small pond and waterfall in the yard, and I noticed them around the pond all the time. Not as pretty as the birds and butterflies I was hoping to attract. I know they must have had a nest somewhere but I couldn't find it.

    Does anyone have any magic tips on how to discourage them before they have a chance to return this year (other than hosing everything with wasp spray, which I would totally do if it weren't for my dogs)? I was scared to do any gardening, we could never eat on the patio, and my poor dog even got stung...
    "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

    Graphite/Pastel Portraits

  • #2
    I presume you're talking about a wasp spray like RAID. That only works on existing nests. It doesn't act as a preventative. My home is wood and the bees LOVE it so I have a professional pest elimination service spray the entire house and windows in the spring for bees and in the fall for cluster flies. It really does help cut down on bees around the house but it doesn't totally eliminate them. If I see a couple of nests though I do call them back as they will come and spot spray as often as necessary. It isn't cheap but at least I can walk outdoors and not have a problem.

    Late last summer I had a nest of ground bees in the outside corner of the indoor. I thought I had sprayed them pretty well and covered the hole pretty well only to find they decided to come back out in the indoor itself and nest in a couple of spots. I called my pest service and they came and sprayed and it took care of it last fall. I'm hoping it killed them completely so I don't have that problem come spring.

    If I were you, I'd contact a pest elimination service like Orkin or any other one and talk to them about it.

    FWIW, after they have sprayed the house and it has dried, I can let my dog out without a worry, but not when the ground around is still wet with the chemical they use for spraying.
    Sue

    I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

    Comment


    • #3
      consider them part of the magical world we live in.

      With the exception of the wasps that hovered around trash cans back home (attracted by sweet stuff like popsickle sticks etc, at the pool and other public places..)
      I have not really had major problems with them, even with them nesting on the front porch etc.

      The only one ever giving me grief was the red wasp nesting under the lid of the gas tank lid on my truck. B**** sting me, when I loosened the lid, while I was trying not to disturb it!

      They do fill a niche in the eco system!
      Originally posted by BigMama1
      Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
      GNU Terry Prachett

      Comment


      • #4
        Simply figure out where the queen is overwintering. Dispose of her, and you are home free. Til another royal menage establishes itself.

        In other words, it's unlikely to happen............
        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

        Comment


        • #5
          Yellow jackets build a new nest each year. Not very many ways to stop the initial nest, Track the YJ back to their nest & spray it at dusk. (when they return from foraging)

          PS: do it ASAP. Waiting till late summer will allow them to build a giant nest with lots of stingers!!
          Equus makus brokus but happy

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by hosspuller View Post
            PS: do it ASAP. Waiting till late summer will allow them to build a giant nest with lots of stingers!!
            In which case you will need a gallon of gasoline and a match.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by caballero View Post
              In which case you will need a gallon of gasoline and a match.

              I had yellow jackets build a nest in my wood shed. They built it deep into the stacked wood. Not wanting to use gasoline & a match, I had to wait for Freezing temps to empty the shed. The nest was several layers of combs, each as big as a dinner plate. I figure several thousand cells total.
              Equus makus brokus but happy

              Comment

              • Original Poster

                #8
                Live and let live is not an option. I will use my hammock this year, dammit!

                I will definitely contact a pest service if they can do a general all-around spray... it's not a big backyard (hence the intolerance of their niche in the ecosystem, which really, I think, is only to eff with people), so that might be feasible. Thanks!
                "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                Graphite/Pastel Portraits

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by SarahandSam View Post
                  Live and let live is not an option. I will use my hammock this year, dammit!

                  I will definitely contact a pest service if they can do a general all-around spray... it's not a big backyard (hence the intolerance of their niche in the ecosystem, which really, I think, is only to eff with people), so that might be feasible. Thanks!


                  true, if the space is limited!
                  Originally posted by BigMama1
                  Facts don't have versions. If they do, they are opinions
                  GNU Terry Prachett

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The yellow jackets may be underground in an old root ball of a longtime dead tree. It may just be a small hole to the opening and a large underground hive. Experts can kill the colony but think about where old tree's root balls may lie under the earth.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Two years in a row we had a ground bee nest. Then magically at night a hungry skunk showed up , excavated the nest, ate all the bees, and in the am all that was left was about 8 layers deep of empty cells. Everyone is like get rid of the skunk, blah, blah blah. The skunk really doesnt bother me, and I am allergic to bees. I am also extreamly sensitive to chemicals so I really dont want to spray. Win / win ecosytem at work.
                      Just like our eyes, our hearts have a way of adjusting to the dark.--Adam Stanley

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I've heard people suggesting that leaving cat food near a nest is also quite efficient as skunks are fond of cat food, and then they serve themselves a wasp dessert
                        Some riders change their horse, they change their saddle, they change their teacher; they never change themselves.

                        Remember the horse does all the work, we just sit there and look pretty.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by merrygoround View Post
                          I've heard people suggesting that leaving cat food near a nest is also quite efficient as skunks are fond of cat food, and then they serve themselves a wasp dessert
                          If this is true, I'm going out and buy a big bag of cat food. I presume you're talking dry food. Let me know if you talking wet food. I know we have skunks in the area as I see them as road kill. I just don't want to attract Momma coon as she decided to deliver her babies one year right over my tack room. Poor dog went crazy and killed one of the babies one morning when it came down to play in the indoor. Momma coon took the rest of the kids and left shortly thereafter.
                          Sue

                          I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            A pest control company is the way to go. It costs me around 400/year, billed quarterly, and they take care of any problem that may come up.
                            My blog: Crackerdog Farm

                            Comment

                            • Original Poster

                              #15
                              Don't know if we have skunks, because the whole yard is pretty securely fenced with a big stockade fence, but we definitely have raccoons and nosy dachshunds so cat food won't work...Year before last they built their nest at the top of the basketball hoop, which was especially fun. No trees in our yard, but big bushes that they seem to like to nest at the bottom of...
                              "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                              Graphite/Pastel Portraits

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                This fall was the first time I saw the yellow jackets hovering around my mums. I thought they had another ground nest so I sprayed the bush. Then I noticed the same thing at another clump of mums. I called the pest people and when they came out, they figured the YJ were feeding on the aphids or other little bugs on the mum bushes. First I'd seen that ever! I sure hope they don't decide to do that this year.
                                Sue

                                I'm not saying let's go kill all the stupid people...I'm just saying let's remove all the warning labels and let the problem sort itself out.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Well, there is always the option of closing off any yellowjacket attractive openings, such as the tubes on play equipment, and gates. Having a yellowjacket nest in the gate really sucked. Ground nests we've managed to fill in with dirt in the evening, so far so good with those.

                                  We get paper wasps or hornets here and they build an open faced nest of about 20 or so cells and suspend it by a stalk from the ceiling. DH has waited in the evening for everybody to be home and then grabbed the nest with a plastic bag, closed it up and tossed it in the freezer. The thing is you have to do a recon about once a week to see where the next one is getting set up. We've had those in the hay loft, an open storage area (like a woodshed) and the horse trailer. And they also find cracks in vinyl siding and start cells in there. My MIL had some sort of decor on the outside of her log cabin and got a huge colony in between it and the house, and of course that meant that she kept getting stung on the way to the car.
                                  I
                                  know the things have a place in the grand scheme of things but I sure wish it wasn't at my house.
                                  Courageous Weenie Eventer Wannabe
                                  Incredible Invisible

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    I have found that if I put out yellow jacket traps early (about February here in the PNW), they tend to get the queens when they wake up and start looking for a place to nest. It seems to really cut down on the number of bees around throughout the summer and fall. If I don't get the traps out early, I'm just trapping worker bees, and it doesn't seem to have much effect on the overall population.

                                    Comment

                                    • Original Poster

                                      #19
                                      There are actually yellow jacket traps? Oooh! I'll definitely look for those too.
                                      "Remain relentlessly cheerful."

                                      Graphite/Pastel Portraits

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        I may have to do traps as well this year. Last year was very hot and dry and the yellow-jackets flourished. Little nests everywhere in the rafters of the barn and run-in shed, and anything left "still" for more than a week (farm equipment, etc.)

                                        Ground bees are a totally different thing, and to be honest, unless you step on them they are no problem. The yellow jackets, though, tend to nest in places where people or horses are likely to get stung -- inside of pipe gates, underside of swingsets, under deck railings, underside of the shelf on the side of my gas grill, inside the handle of my garbage dumpster....yikes!

                                        Will buy traps this year!!

                                        Comment

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