Wasp Abatement
September 8, 2011 9:51 AM   Subscribe

How to rid wasp (yellow jacket) nest from crevasse between concrete and brick? (snowflake details inside)

I did search previous questions to no avail.

We have a nest of yellow jacket wasps right near the front door of our house. It's in a crevasse where the front steps (concrete) meet the house (brick). The only visible sign of a nest is the constant coming and going of the little devils. With the proximity of the nest to our front door and the aggressiveness of this particular type of wasp, I really need to get rid of them.

I've tried the conventional spray cans - a few times - getting in to all the little cracks and openings where I've observed them entering and leaving. I've emptied entire cans on multiple occasions.

Also tried gallons of hot, soapy water per some stuff I found on the web. That's not working either.

The problem as I see it is penetration. The cracks/openings where I can dump/spray/whatever just aren't large enough for me to get the whole nest. And it's not possible to expose/access the nest without a jackhammer.

I'm to the point of calling the pros (exterminator). But I don't want to spend the cash until I've exhausted reasonable alternatives.

I've searched the web for any sort of device or delivery system that would provide better penetration and found nothing.

Anyone have any ideas - or am I to the point where I need to call the pros?
posted by thatguyjeff to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Work carefully to caulk most of the crack shut, using either foam sealant or silicone caulk. Once the caulk is cured except for one area and entry is restricted, dump a can of poison down and caulk the last bit shut.
posted by seanmpuckett at 10:05 AM on September 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

shop vac. seriously.

get a small one and set it up in the morning with the hose right near where they're flying in and out. once you verify that you're sucking them in when they land or take off let it run for about 4-6 hours. wait 2-3 days before emptying the bag.

it's so cook i even wrote a crappy blog post about it! (self link)
posted by lester at 10:17 AM on September 8, 2011

Yeah, just seal it off. You can actually get special foam for wasp nests that seal rather than penetrate.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:18 AM on September 8, 2011

You could also just stuff the crack with steel wool.
posted by Gilbert at 10:21 AM on September 8, 2011

Not sure if you have a pier & beam or slab floor (pictures would really help here), but I'm betting they're going to a nest under the floor 20+ feet away from the crack, which is why your current methods are not working. Getting to the actual nests is going to be the only sure way to eradicate them. If you can't reach the nest I'd be looking at using foam sealant and not just hit the obvious cracks but all cracks all around the house.
posted by crapmatic at 10:22 AM on September 8, 2011

Can you just avoid that door for a while? Because in the fall the males all die off, the queen crawls in there and hibernates, and in the spring she starts a fresh nest somewhere else.

If not, seconding the foam stuff; they have it in a good hardware store. Apply it at night when they're all in there snoozing.
posted by beagle at 10:27 AM on September 8, 2011

Seconding the shop vac. I used one to eliminate a ground-dwelling yellowjacket nest in a front yard.

Put several long extensions on it so I could maneuver the tip into place from 15+ feet away. Put it in place, turned on the vac and let it go for about 5 hours. Once no more yellowjackets were observed near the entrace I plugged up the hose and put the vac away for a 3 days.

After 3 days, I careeeeeeeefully cracked open the top and observed at least a thousand dead yellowjackets inside. Fillled in the entrance hole to the nest and that was that.
posted by de void at 10:29 AM on September 8, 2011

+1 to shop vac. My uncle did this. He'd been working on his boat and had a lot of fiberglass shavings and dust in there, which probably hastened things a bit. He just shoved the nozzle in the entry point and let it run for a good long while. That was pretty much it.
posted by Hylas at 10:40 AM on September 8, 2011

If they really are nesting deep inside the structure of the house, you might want to think about where they will go when they can't go out the way you've caulked up. We had a small infestation of yellowjackets inside an outdoor light fixture. When I sealed all the visible openings to the fixture, the wasps started appearing inside the house. Not an improvement. Fortunately, there weren't a lot of them, and we managed to get them before they got us.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 11:07 AM on September 8, 2011

...a thousand dead yellowjackets inside


I, too, would be leery of driving them further into your dwelling, though I admit I often jam twigs into the gaps in my shingle siding when I don't have the time to track down the real destination of a wasp I see using it for a door. I never would have thought of the shop vac as a weapon, but I will remember this for future reference.
posted by wenestvedt at 1:25 PM on September 8, 2011

I used some gas (and no, I did not set it alight!) and then filled the crack with sealer. I did it at dusk when most had returned to the nest. Gas is stinky and in my situation, there was no chance of an errant spark. Never saw one again.

posted by Country Dick Montana at 7:57 PM on September 8, 2011

As beagle says, in a couple more weeks they will start to taper off and they will all be dead soon. They will not return to the same nest next year.
posted by JackFlash at 10:36 PM on September 8, 2011

As a late followup, here's a fully natural solution for in-ground nests; this would not work for your situation where the nest in cracks between brick and concrete:

I had a nest out in the lawn this summer; discovered it (painfully) in August; decided to let them live and die off in fall as mentioned. Went away on vacation last week, came back to find the nest totally dug out, no more yellowjackets, random pieces of nest comb material lying around. Upon Googling, it turns out that skunks like to eat yellow jackets and will dig out nest like that. Somehow their fur and tail protect them from getting stung. Here and there on discussion boards it is suggested that pouring some honey around and into the nest will attract your local neighborhood skunk, and once he arrives for the honey, he'll smell the wasps and go after them as well.
posted by beagle at 2:11 PM on September 19, 2011

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