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I need wasp advice
Old 05-17-2015, 05:08 PM   #1
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I need wasp advice

Not sociologically, entomologically. I have a large deck on the back of my house, two levels. The highest part (the majority of it) is about 3 feet off the ground, the lower part is 1.5 feet. It's made of TimberTech, a composite wood substitute, and is attached with hidden fasteners that would make removing boards a major PITA. The sides of the deck are covered with hardy board and heavy square plastic trellis, more like fence material than flat trellis. And they're all behind plants, mostly rose bushes. Accessing through them is also a PITA. The boards are a standard ~1/4" apart, making it hard to feed anything through them.

So, we've got quite a few wasps that come in and go between the boards, both levels. Last fall I reached for a chair to pull it away from the table to sit down and got stung. They like to sit on the chairs and catch the sun. Plus the dumber of my pair of pugs has gotten stung in the mouth twice, and is still going after them. I'm suspecting we've got a lot of nests under the deck, or a few big ones.

I'm trying to figure out how to kill them, preferably without having to crawl under the deck spraying a bunch of pissed off hornets. I bought some wasp and hornet spray, the ones that shoot a stream. But since I can't see the nests I can't really just soak the area. Plus I suspect the nests are on the undersides of the boards and stringers. I'm thinking of soaking an area when I see a wasp crawling down between the boards. I'd love to find some kind of fogger/bomb I could set off under the deck, but none of the ones I've found are for wasps, just roaches and such. I figure I could lay a bunch or tarps on top to keep the fog underneath, and take off a section of the trellis and either feed the fogger or toss a few bombs under there, if I could find the right stuff.

I'm actually at the point of calling an exterminator, which is a big deal because I'm pretty cheap for the most part. But I've come to respect the knowledge and diversity of the people on this forum, so maybe someone can help me out. I'm sure somebody will have some good ideas that won't result in fire or hospitalization for me. TIA.
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:20 PM   #2
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Do a little reading on the garden product Sevin. An inventive soul with a shop vac can reverse the flow and put a cloud of wasp killer into an area. DO think about honey bees, who also die when contacted by Sevin.

Will Sevin Dust Kill Wasps? | Home Guides | SF Gate
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:20 PM   #3
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Random spraying won't help. You need to get the nest. On my deck it was also on the underside of the plank, always in shade, near where they flew, only one nest. After 1/2 hour sundown I crawled around until I found the nest. Next night I sprayed a whole lot of wasp spray from Home Depot, and by the following morning the nest was dead. Two years later, different location, same procedure.

Crawling around before dawn is also safe, they are not yet active.
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:33 PM   #4
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What I have done with mud daubers in my attic -- wait until winter, go up and knock down their nests, then plug all the holes.

I have not done the following, but suggest it as a possibility:

Get some large sheet plastic roll in the painting supply section of Home Depot. Tape or staple it around the edges of your deck, reaching down to the ground. Put some sheets over the decking as well. (Basically, you're building a plastic tent over your deck). Throw several foggers under the deck and wait.
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:40 PM   #5
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I can't help with solutions... seems like you're on the right path.

Just wanted to second your thinking on the danger involved with stings. For me, ground wasps, a single sting between the toes that in 20 minutes ran up one leg, then to both legs and stomach ... then chest... then neck and tongue then DW drove me, unconscious, to hospital for digitalis injection... closer to death than to life. Back in 1968... the remedy was supposed to be monthly shots for two years to build up immunity. That was what the thought was at the time. No longer. Seems as if each type of bee has a separate type of venom/sting, and what works for one, doesn't work for another.

Age seems to have taken away some of the vulnerability, but I still buy an epi-pen every year, just in case.

In the early days, when I received a sting, we'd go to the hospital and sit in the waiting room of emergency... just in case.

We've had some ground wasps at our camp. Spraying the ground entrance (at night) with wasp spray (the whole can full) has worked, but I think it depends on the kind of wasp. Ours had yellow bands on the rear of the body.

Best of luck in solving the problem.
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:46 PM   #6
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The non chemical method I have used on yellow jacket nests involved making a 15-20' extension for my shop vac. After locating the nest, I waited until early AM as mentioned above (when they are dormant). Worked great.
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Old 05-17-2015, 05:59 PM   #7
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We used to get ground wasps in our barn the sprays did nothing, poured kerosene and let it soak the dirt, nothing helped. Finally did call an extermination service, paid $30, no more wasps well worth the money.

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Old 05-17-2015, 06:44 PM   #8
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Around a deck it's probably mud daubers. They looks rather intimidating, but in reality are rather docile and rarely sting.

Their main food is spiders, not people ;-)

There's really very little reason to try to kill them.
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:09 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by harley View Post
Not sociologically, entomologically.
Oh, too bad. I don't know anything about the bugs.

My very uninformed advice would be to bite the bullet and call an exterminator. Multiple wasp bites can be very uncomfortable, or worse if you turn out to be allergic to them.

I'd save those LBYM efforts for re-using baggies. Baggies won't sting you.
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:15 PM   #10
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Random spraying won't help. You need to get the nest. On my deck it was also on the underside of the plank, always in shade, near where they flew, only one nest. After 1/2 hour sundown I crawled around until I found the nest. Next night I sprayed a whole lot of wasp spray from Home Depot, and by the following morning the nest was dead. Two years later, different location, same procedure.

Crawling around before dawn is also safe, they are not yet active.
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Old 05-17-2015, 07:44 PM   #11
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We had 'em in an enclosed space above the patio. From there they came in the house through light fixtures. That was no time to fiddle with being cheap. We called an exterminator and they were gone soon there after. I think he squirted Sevin dust up in there.

It didn't impact FIRE plans, so I guess it wasn't too expensive.
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Old 05-17-2015, 09:19 PM   #12
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I had a similar problem, where they were inside a wall, and I couldn't directly access the nest with a spray can. So I bought a cheap hand-pump duster. I loaded it with Sevin (I think), and pumped a cloud into the cracks. It must have worked, because I never saw them again.
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Old 05-17-2015, 09:30 PM   #13
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Cover the deck with plastic then wing a fogger underneath. The Raid "concentrated deep" fogger (works on wasps and hornets besides other insects) has residual effects for 2 months. If you can, tape a string to the can so you can pull it back out
Raid Max® Concentrated DEEP REACH™ Fogger
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Old 05-17-2015, 09:55 PM   #14
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Cover the deck with plastic then wing a fogger underneath. The Raid "concentrated deep" fogger (works on wasps and hornets besides other insects) has residual effects for 2 months. If you can, tape a string to the can so you can pull it back out
Raid Max® Concentrated DEEP REACH™ Fogger
I was thinking of trying this first, but I think I'll just go with the exterminator. I'm not worried about the stings. I used to be a beekeeper, and don't have any allergy issues (other than allergic to pain). Whatever we do we have to keep the dogs in mind. Don't want too much free roaming poison. I worked a long time and saved a lot of money, partially to let other people deal with this sort of thing. Thanks for all the advice.
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Old 05-17-2015, 10:03 PM   #15
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Cover the deck with plastic then wing a fogger underneath. The Raid "concentrated deep" fogger (works on wasps and hornets besides other insects) has residual effects for 2 months. If you can, tape a string to the can so you can pull it back out
Raid Max® Concentrated DEEP REACH™ Fogger
Sounds like a solution, on a non-windy day just use plastic paint tarps, or get a roll of building vapor barrier plastic and hold it down on the deck with boards/rocks.

cover the sides too, (may have to staple) and you would have a solution.
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Old 05-18-2015, 12:38 AM   #16
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The non chemical method I have used on yellow jacket nests involved making a 15-20' extension for my shop vac. After locating the nest, I waited until early AM as mentioned above (when they are dormant). Worked great.
Worked for me too (but Sevin worked faster and more permanent):
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I need wasp advice
Old 05-18-2015, 12:51 AM   #17
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I need wasp advice

I've only used Sevin for Japanese beetle control in IL (they were weird, destructive, and plentiful).

Some friends are currently battling carpenter bees - might Sevin help?
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Old 05-18-2015, 01:11 AM   #18
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I've only used this on ground bees but I have read it works for wasps. We put Dawn dish liquid in a garden hose on the side of the the house with the spray nozzle set up to spray the bees in the front. We turned on the water from the safety of the side of the house and the water pushed through the Dawn and sprayed the bees. The Dawn gets on their wings and they can't fly and die. Most sites say to use a spray bottle and run, but I think putting the dish soap inside the hose and having the nozzle taped and pre-positioned takes out the chance of getting stung. We just watched the Dawn water spray from inside from a window after we turned on the water from a safe distance.

(I know it isn't good to kill bees but these weren't honey bees and they had moved into the flower bed next to our front door. They were going after us and anybody e who came to the house like the mail man. So they had to go.)

Here is a link on dish soap and wasps:

Outdoor Illinois : The Afternoon the Wasps Went Down

"The fact is, ordinary liquid soap in a spray bottle works as well as anything I’ve ever tried when it comes to dropping and killing wasps around the house."
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Old 05-18-2015, 02:26 AM   #19
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We used to have problems with yellow jacket nests in the ground. You can get a powder that you sprinkle in their hole--and the yellow jackets will carry it to the other nests in the area. Then you take care of all such wasps within proximity of your house.

I want you to note this website: BUGSPRAY.COM It's a retail store in Stone Mountain (GA) that's the largest seller of termicides and insecticides in the U.S. The owner is an old pest control guy, and he's written tutorials on how to get rid of 150 different bugs and critters. He sells all the industrial strength chemicals you cannot even get at your local Farmer's Co-op. I'm going to make a run over there in a couple of weeks to stock up on my yearly supply of pesticides.
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