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Yellow Jackets
Old 07-18-2006, 10:24 AM   #1
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Yellow Jackets



Once again I have been the victim of a surprise attack by these obnoxious little ground bees.* * *It never fails that a lull will occur in my normal schedule of summer lawn mowings due to excessive wetness or dryness.* It is during such periods that these bloody little bastards will set up shop somewhere in the yard.* I have been victimized on so many occasions that I now routinely police the yard after such periods to hopefully find them before they find me.* My vision isn’t as good as it used to be so I do not always spot the small start-up nests.* This results in the rather unsavory chain of events that transpired yesterday.*

Upon feeling the burning sensation of the first sting, I proceed to do the “yellow-jacket two-step”.* This is where I rapidly (and not very gracefully) leave the immediate area as quickly as possible while simultaneously shutting the mower off.* A few minutes later, after things have settled down, I gingerly approach the scene of the attack in order to pinpoint the precise location of the nest.* Upon doing so, I resist the urge to take immediate revenge and bide my time until after dark which is when I launch my rather disproportionate response to the yellow jacket’s assault.

I am now in pain, hot, thirsty and done mowing for awhile so I go inside and grab a cold bottled beer.* The empty beer bottle later serves double duty as the receptacle for the few ounces of gasoline that I will later introduce into the nest.* Virtually all of the bees return to the nest after dark and the entrance to the nest is left unguarded.* It is therefore a simple matter to poor the gasoline into the hole and jam the empty long-neck bottle into the hole to prevent any possible exit.* This method almost never fails to eliminate the entire colony of bees.

On occasion, the bees will establish a presence in a spot which doesn’t lend itself to the “death by gassing” method.* I once had to eliminate a nest built behind a retaining wall where the bees were entering and exiting the nest at a location between two timbers.* A shop vac will do the trick in this instance.* In the morning just before the bees become active, place the suction nozzle of the vac near the entrance to the nest and turn it on.* Bees will be sucked into vac and killed as the attempt to enter or leave the nest. When activity ceases, you are done.* Remember (as others have brought to my attention): Very little can survive in a vacuum.*
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-18-2006, 10:36 AM   #2
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Re: Yellow Jackets

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Originally Posted by hellbender
The empty beer bottle later serves double duty as the receptacle for the few ounces of gasoline that I will later introduce into the nest.* Virtually all of the bees return to the nest after dark and the entrance to the nest is left unguarded.* It is therefore a simple matter to poor the gasoline into the hole and jam the empty long-neck bottle into the hole to prevent any possible exit.
And that's why I insist of having at least two exits in my nest, er, house!*
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-18-2006, 10:41 AM   #3
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Re: Yellow Jackets

Have you tried the yellow jacket traps with the liquid pheromones? You can catch a lot of bees that way, although I don't know whether it will solve the problem. I'd set that out when we lived in yellow jacket country and it would fill up with dead bees in one day.
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-18-2006, 11:54 AM   #4
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Re: Yellow Jackets

I've also heard about a trick used in vineyards that dont want to deal with chemicals:

- Put a chunk of fatty meat on a string and suspend it over a pan of water. The YJs will attack the meat, fall off, and drown.
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-18-2006, 11:57 AM   #5
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Re: Yellow Jackets

i have a london fog yellow jacket but that's probably not what you're talking about.

for the past week in the part of my garden i refer to as pinehenge (where a group of pines form a near perfect circle) there's been some sort of bee or wasp hovering almost dead center. at first i thought it was interesting, then i thought it was odd, then i didn't know what to make of it. then, jokingly, i said as i passed him, you look like you are on sentry duty.

finally i realized, he must be on sentry duty. i guess there must be a nest under him someplace and he just hovers there, in place, watching over it. it's actually pretty cool. he's not aggressive at all. i've pretty much no bug problems except for summer mosquitos which fly in on western winds out of the everglades that time of year. i did get bit by a wasp one time but it hasn't stopped me from dating them.
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-18-2006, 12:34 PM   #6
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Re: Yellow Jackets

Yellow Jackets are in the Hornet family and their sting is just as unpleasant. We use YJ traps around the yard. If you get an early start in the Spring you can trap most of the queens and prevent a lot of nest ever starting. After that and you are just taking out the worker bees.

They love cooked fatty meat and when I grill I have to have a fly swatter nearby or risk being run off from the grill area. I have placed a piece of freshly cooked bacon the traps when I am grilling and they will go to it sometimes depending on what I am cooking...the more grease the more they want what I am cooking it seems.

Caution:
Kerosene and desel fuel work just as well as gasoline and are far safer. I stray spark on a hot day will engulf you in burning gasoline since the vapors will flow along the ground for some distance. If the vapors find an open flame of any type and you are standing in a pool of invisible vapors you are toast.
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-18-2006, 12:37 PM   #7
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Re: Yellow Jackets

The shop vac will work with the ground hornets too, once they're inside the vac just spray in a little bug killer and wala! no hornets.
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-18-2006, 02:18 PM   #8
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Re: Yellow Jackets

I got a few whacks from hornets yesterday. I was chopping bamboo with my machete, and I sliced through one of those damn nests before I saw it. It wasn't huge, and I ran away with only 3 stings that I could identify. Still, they hurt.

I used to keep bees (until I went on a low carb diet!), and I got stung quite a bit. Bee stings hardly bother me at all, but hornets and other wasps hurt like hell.

Ha
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-18-2006, 02:52 PM   #9
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Re: Yellow Jackets

Quote:
Originally Posted by HaHa
I got a few whacks from hornets yesterday. I was chopping bamboo with my machete, and I sliced through one of those damn nests before I saw it. It wasn't huge, and I ran away with only 3 stings that I could identify. Still, they hurt.

I used to keep bees (until I went on a low carb diet!), and I got stung quite a bit. Bee stings hardly bother me at all, but hornets and other wasps hurt like hell.

Ha
I was highly allergic when I was a kid. I spent one evening in the ER due to a sting and then went on shots for 3 years. Carried epinephrine injection with me at all times. Since then I have been stung a couple of times...got really swolled but obviously survived. I stay away from the little devils or nuke them at every chance.
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-18-2006, 03:09 PM   #10
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Re: Yellow Jackets

Quote:
- Put a chunk of fatty meat on a string and suspend it over a pan of water.
This works with in-laws, too.
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-18-2006, 03:11 PM   #11
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Re: Yellow Jackets

I'm not allergic, but I was out on Catalina Island when I was 8 years old and had a yellow jacket fly into my mouth and sting me on the inside of my lip. Since then I am positively a spaz whenever I see one, running and ducking and bobbing. I've been stung by bees and it didn't even compare, they don't bother me nearly as much.
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-18-2006, 04:24 PM   #12
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Re: Yellow Jackets

Couple of good ideas for these, and my own macguyver setup.

Insecticidal dust (sevin is a good one) is a good nest killer for these. Wait until after dusk when the nest is full and the wasps are not active. Drop an eighth to a quarter cup of the dust into the hole and around it. The wasps will pick up the dust as they enter/exit the nest in the morning and wont die until they've thoroughly distributed the dust through the nest, also killing the queen and the larvae.

We get them in the attic at times...havent had one in my new house but plenty in the old mcmansion. I had a bit of a larger version of the shop vac.

I hooked up about 20' of 3" pvc pipe and duct taped it to the intake on an old electric leaf blower, using the plastic piece to adapt it to the leaf bagging attachment for structural strength. Put the end of the pipe near the entry to the nest in the eaves and start tapping the house (or ground if you're doing a ground nest). All the wasps will come out and get sucked into the blower, producing a fine wasp mulch that is great for planting tomatoes in. When you've exhausted the fighter/workers, remove the pipe and attach it to the blowing end, put that right up to the hole, turn on the blower and drop in your quarter cup of insecticidal dust. POOF. No more nest by the next day. Some residual wasps that were "out of town" for the night might show up the next day and will dutifully carry a bit more of the dust into the nest. In the winter when you're sure everyones asleep, remove the nest from the attic.

I got this idea from a bee guy that my neighbor hired to remove a honey bee nest. He used a long tube and a big vacuum to suck all the bees out of the nest into a box, so he could sell the bees to someone else. Funny piece of trivia I didnt know...when bees are pulled down a vacuum tube fast, they get dizzy and throw up the nectar they've gathered. The clear plastic box he was collecting them in was spattered with bee puke.

The vegetable dust thing works great with ant nests too. Suckers are down 2-3' at times and you really cant pour enough liquid insecticide down there to kill them deep. Put a bunch of the dust at the entries to the nest and let the workers carry the dust down into the nest and kill them all. Works great for those @#%$%@!@%$@%#$%@#ing argentinian ants we have here in california that are virtually unkillable. Only ant species that will cohabit multiple queens, combine and split nests, and reoccuppy old dead nests...but NOT if its still full of insecticidal dust...
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-18-2006, 08:18 PM   #13
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Re: Yellow Jackets

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Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
Funny piece of trivia I didnt know...when bees are pulled down a vacuum tube fast, they get dizzy and throw up the nectar they've gathered.* The clear plastic box he was collecting them in was spattered with bee puke.
I love trivia like that. And I was almost inspired enough to write a haiku about sucking down dizzy bees on a busy day.... But bees keep pollen in a sack behind their knees (you know, "the bees knees"), and I'm pretty sure they don't have ears or other vestibular organs like ours (which are required to get dizzy). But it's still good imagery.
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-19-2006, 11:23 AM   #14
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Re: Yellow Jackets

All I can do is repeat what "the bee guy" told me. Thanks for ruining the amusing story with reality.
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-19-2006, 01:46 PM   #15
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Re: Yellow Jackets

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Originally Posted by Cute Fuzzy Bunny
All I can do is repeat what "the bee guy" told me.* Thanks for ruining the amusing story with reality.
If it makes you feel any better bees do eat nectar, the pollen from honey bees goes in the sacks behind their knees but the do require food to live and that goes down the food chute. As for them getting dizzy; who knows what their horizontal stabilization system is and how it would react to being spun at high speeds.

Bees may or may not have a barf reflex. Perhaps the bee barf was from nectar being ejected from their gut by centrifugal force due to the spining action.

So, you can continue to believe the bee be gone man.
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-19-2006, 03:04 PM   #16
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Re: Yellow Jackets

Now I must know. Do bees get dizzy? Do bees vomit?

I've read that bees have magnetoperception organs to orient themselves within the earth's magnetic field. They have magnetic crystals in their abdomen. Our vestibular mechanism uses a liquid (endolymph) sloshing around, so I assumed that dizziness was a side effect of having this relatively slow-reacting mechanical mechanism. But if it's just a matter of the brain being unable to make sense of the neural input, then I suppose bees can get dizzy.

Vomiting requires a reverse peristaltic pump, which I figured bees must lack. But apparently, that's how they make honey! They regurgitate the nectar in their stomach (after some enzimatic action). So, yes, bees vomit!
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-20-2006, 08:31 AM   #17
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Re: Yellow Jackets

Would pouring a gallon of bleach down the little bastards' hole one night be enough to wipe 'em out? I know gasoline is supposed to work, but gas is so danged expensive these days. $3+ per gallon, versus $1.29 for a gallon of bleach. I know it's not exactly good for the environment, but neither is gasoline or other chemicals.

I discovered a yellow jacket nest in my Grandma's yard on Sunday, the hard way. I had just finished cutting her yard, put the tractor away, and went around to the side of her house where a big limb had fallen off of a a tree back in February, when we had a big, wet, heavy snow. At the time the limb was too big to easily move, but it had dried out enough that I could break the smaller branches off. Then I took the big limb and dragged it to the woods, and dumped it. And immediately felt something stinging my ankle. I looked down to see a yellow jacket on it.

I freaked a little and swatted at it. I've always been leery of bees ever since I was a little kid. For some people it's spiders, for others its snakes. Well for me it's bees. Maybe too many bad disaster movies when I was a kid in the 70's, or that time I got into a bumblebee nest when I was 8, but I've been scarred.

Anyway, I swatted it, but it didn't let go. I swatted again and knocked it off, and then looked around to see other yellow jackets buzzing about, but not really too menacingly...yet. Then I saw where their hole was. Turns out I had dragged that big limb right across it.

I had always thought that yellow jackets all returned to the nest at night, but these past few days it's been so hot that they've been flying in and out of the nest even well after dark. Guess I'll have to wait for it to cool down.

A few years back, I "napalmed" a yellow jacket nest. Poured about a gallon of gasoline down in it at night. And then lit it. That was fun.
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-20-2006, 08:46 AM   #18
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Re: Yellow Jackets

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Originally Posted by Andre1969
* I know gasoline is supposed to work, but gas is so danged expensive these days.* $3+ per gallon, versus $1.29 for a gallon of bleach.* I know it's not exactly good for the environment, but neither is gasoline or other chemicals.
I use about four ounces of gasoline.* Kerosene is safer but I normally don't keep any around the house.* At $3/Gal, 4 oz of gas set me back a whopping 10 cents.
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-20-2006, 08:51 AM   #19
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Re: Yellow Jackets

really? 4 ounces would be enough to do it? Hmmm, maybe I'll just go the gasoline route. Besides, I think bleach is mostly water anyway, and while the fumes can be pretty bad, gasoline would be more powerful. Plus, the bleach might not even work...might just give 'em a bad dye job!
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Re: Yellow Jackets
Old 07-20-2006, 11:49 AM   #20
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Re: Yellow Jackets

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Originally Posted by wab
Now I must know. Do bees get dizzy? Do bees vomit?

Vomiting requires a reverse peristaltic pump, which I figured bees must lack. But apparently, that's how they make honey! They regurgitate the nectar in their stomach (after some enzimatic action). So, yes, bees vomit!
See? Occasionally I'm right...or at least my goofball stories are true

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andre1969
A few years back, I "napalmed" a yellow jacket nest.
Its possible to make a home version of napalm. Just drop a bar of dove soap into a half gallon or so of gas and allow to stand overnight, then swirl. If its too thick, add more gas. This will both burn AND stick, and leave no soapy residue when rinsed!

By the way, bees sting and lose their stinger in the process, usually dying. Yellow jackets bite, and can continue to bite.

The vegetable dust method is probably cheaper and safer than either gas or bleach. I'm pretty sure bleach would just piss them off. Might kill the larvae and make the nest unpalatable for them, but the regular beasties are pretty tough.

Do also note that the yellowjacket traps will only lure and catch actual yellowjackets. There are some mud wasps, paper wasps, and many varieties of hornet that look somewhat similar to the regular yellowjacket. They arent even remotely interested in the 'lure' used in the standard yellow jacket trap. A good way to tell a wasp that will not go to the trap is the length of the hind legs...if when flying you can see some dangly legs at the back of the wasp, its not going to the trap. If its hind legs are about the same length as the rest, its probably your garden variety yellowjacket.

Or maybe those other guys are just well endowed. I'm not sure. Maybe wab can look it up.
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